SUMMERDALE, Pa. (WHTM) — If you pay attention to the news, impeachment is a word you probably won’t go a day without hearing at this point in 2020.
So, echoing the times, Central Penn College held a forum Tuesday with legal experts to discuss the history and meaning of the word, and provide insight.
“It’s important because it is a process,” legal studies professor Margaret Stuski said.
Stuski served as chief counsel to the state Senate during the 1994 impeachment of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen. She says what is happening in Washington is eerily similar.
“It’s not the politics of whether the person will be re-elected or not, it’s ‘is the person who is elected fulfilling their constitutional responsibility,” Stuski said. “The obligation is back to the taxpayer, as to, ‘are you doing the responsibility of the office?’ and that’s what they’re examining.”
Former Pennsylvania Ethics Commission chief counsel John Contino also spoke, addressing what impeachment really means.
“When most people think of impeachment, they think of immediate removal of office, they really don’t understand that impeachment is just the beginning of the initial process,” Contino said.
He said there must also be an accompanying trial in the Senate, where the House’s votes are considered. But that doesn’t guarantee a conviction is imminent.
“It’s the equivalent in the criminal process where you could have a grand jury indictment but you could be acquitted of the charges once you get to trial,” Contino said.
Students attended to gain insight and explanation of President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
“The fact that we’re actually in the moment of [an impeachment] processing, there’s a lot into it that we don’t fully understand,” Robert McHugh said. “No, you may not have a major role in it but just to understand politics and how everything goes into it a little bit more.”