thought that if the Republicans came to power they'd put up a guillotine in down- town Philadelphia and start chopping people's heads off" The Republicans saw the Federalists as aristocratic and intent on snuffing out the liberties of the average citizen. The two parties hated and feared each other. And what about the press? There were no Hearst or Pulitzer-like newspaper empires. Each major city usually had a number ofpapers that were extremely partisan. However, Melton said, the newspapers covering the impeachment proceedings tended to be fairly unbiased in their reporting. If the House goes ahead with impeach- ment of Clinton, Melton says watch out for Rule XI. In 1936, the Senate adopted Rule XI, which permits the Senate to appoint a committee of 12 senators to hear the evi- dence, assemble the trial record and then report back to the full Senate, which in tum discusses the case and then votes. The rule wasn't invoked until the late 1980s when, in three separate cases, federal judges Harry Claiborne, Alcee Hastings and Walter Nixon were impeached. (Arguing the case against Nixon in 1992 was then- solicitor general Kenneth Starr.) The Senate used an impeachment committee, and all three judges sued in federal court o stop the committee. They claimed that the relevant line in the Constitution, "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments" should be inter- preted to mean that the full Senate, and not just a committee, must be involved in the entire proceedings. In each case the courts concluded that the relevant phrase was "sole power" in that the Senate could ecide how to proceed with impeachment. The courts in the three judges' cases claimed jurisdictional problems and allowed the Senate to proceed, but Melton believes it is highly probable that Rule XI could again become a source of controversy. Meanwhile, he's enjoying the attention to an obscure specialty which, except for occasional moments in our history, lies dormant.
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