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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 33, Issue 1, Spring 2019

Clifton Perry
Pages 1-10

Indicting a President

Although it is clear that the Chief Executive may be impeached while in office, it is generally thought that a sitting President cannot suffer criminal indictment while in office. There are two general arguments in support of this position. The first argument notes that criminal indictment of the President would so interfere with the duties of the office as to constitute a violation of the Constitution. The second argument simply refers to the express language of the Constitution providing that the remedy for intolerable occupation of the office is impeachment and conviction. While the Constitution does not expressly preclude indictment and prosecution, it is argued that the Constitution only so allows upon impeachment and conviction. This essay aspires to more fully explore the two alleged constitutional prohibitions against the criminal indictment of the occupant of the Office of the President and to argue that each suffers sufficiently to render each doubtful as a ground for guaranteeing Presidential immunity.

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