Questions about Impeachment have been popping up left and right and rightfully so, Impeachment can be a confusing process to understand because rules that govern Impeachment are changed by the House of Representatives, and the Senate on a case by case basis.

Impeachment can best be described as a political process that would make most questions about it Off-topic, but there are some legal aspects.

Such as:

  • Where does the power to Impeach come from
  • Who has the power to Impeach
  • Are there rules of Impeachment
  • Can a law be broken during Impeachment
  • What is the process of Impeachment

Questions such as this could be answered by looking at legal documents, or laws that govern Congress.

As a community where should we draw the line on questions about Impeachment?

Are there steps we can take to clarify the difference between the legal and political aspects of impeachment?

  • Also the legality of Trump's latest/endless occurrences keeps being asked on LawSE. Although not off topic, personally I bypass those questions because they are inconsequential to the legal issues the audience might ever encounter. Jan 3, 2020 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


The line between law and politics is drawn in the sand, and changes as the winds shift. Like porn, we know recognize it when we watch it, even though we can't define it. A labor-intensive solution (is there a problem?) is to collect all of the impeachment questions and answers and write a community Q&A whereby 80% of impeachment questions will have been answered.

I disagree with the premise that impeachment is an intrinsically "political process", and the Constitution supports me because the process is by law very different from the process of passing a law. It does not strike me that we have been inundated with masses of OT political questions; if in fact we have been, someone might collect up examples, so that we could study them and see what needs to be changed, if anything.

I should also point out that "off-topic" is technically a clearly-defined class of defects, and "being political" is not part of that clearly-defined set (it's in the porn penumbra). We have substantial disagreements over the scope of politics qua OT topic, for example, many people reject questions that ask "why is X the law". I don't, because there are very often legal answers. Still, there is a trend in legal theory that abjures "why" questions, which is about as strong as the trend that demands "why" questions (natural law vs. legal positivism being old-style examples). Questions that call for opinions are clearly off topic. What are the examples of impeachment questions what are not opinion questions?

It is not an accurate statement that "rules that govern Impeachment are determined by the House of Representatives, and the Senate on a case by case basis". Instead, the Senate and the House have rules, and they have the power to change those rules. The constitution does limit the Senate w.r.t. impeachment – they can't go for a simple majority for conviction. Most of the questions that you propose are answered or not very good (not sure they are actually OT). First off, the impeachment part is done, and yet the media still refers to the entire future process as "impeachment", so fine, "impeachment" has a broader meaning in popular use that what etymology and the Constitution would tell us. What happens after someone is impeached? Well, I dunno, they have to live with the shame. They get fired, that's obvious. That question should be closed as "too broad" (or whatever the current version is called).

I don't see that there is a problem that needs fixing. We survived the GDPR freak-out, I think we will survive the impeachment freak-out.

It also occurs to me that people may tend to see impeachment as being "purely political" since (per the US constitution) it is "not justiciable", as only recently definitively determined with the cases of the judges Hastings and Nixon. Again, if you define "capable of being reviewed by courts", then impeachment is mostly not justiciable, except of course if the Senate opts to require a unanimous vote or a simple majority for conviction. But I don't agree with the premise that "the law" is exclusively about "matters that a court can rule on".


We shouldn't treat impeachment as anything special, and we shouldn't be keeping questions that are about the political process instead of the legal framework.

Running a business is a heavily regulated activity in most of the world, some industries to the point of being run by the law.

There are a great number of questions about this activity that are about the law or legal process, and a significant proportion are not otherwise off-topic. See the tags , , and for just a few well-used tags in this area.

But there are also a great number of questions that, while the subject may broach some point of legality, are fundamentally about e.g. accounting for finances and stock, interacting with people, advertising and marketing, and that have little if anything to do with the law.

A simple rule of thumb is that, if there's a law, case or precedent you can point to, that answers the question, it's on topic here. Even if the case law says the issue is not justiciable, that's ok, the question of if something is or isn't a legal question is itself a legal question. If the law (or case, precedent, professions) is not the focus of the question and does not need to be the focus of the answer, it's not really about the law, and should be migrated or closed.

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