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CHANGE Illinois

CHANGE Illinois is a nonpartisan, nonprofit leading systemic government and election reforms. CHANGE (the Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics) champions ethical and efficient government and democracy and includes a diverse group of civic, philanthropic, business, labor, professional, and nonprofit organizations representing millions of Illinoisans. CHANGE Illinois works in collaboration with like-minded reform organizations, playing a leadership role in convening and facilitating efforts around shared policy agendas. The coalition works to improve challenges that undermine our democracy, including gerrymandering, restricted ballot access, voter suppression, uncompetitive elections, corruption, lack of government transparency and unethical lobbying, all of which have led to disillusionment and a decrease in civic participation.

Government Ethics
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"The punishments any society creates for those it deems dangerous reflect its core values," argues Peter C. Mancall.

President Trump, take heart: Impeachment is better than exile

Mancall is a professor of the Humanities at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

When the framers of the Constitution created the process for Congress to impeach "all civil officers of the United States," they rejected a much more severe punishment practiced in early America: exile.

That threat was real in the early colonial period. In 17th-century New England, Puritan authorities banished individuals who challenged their rule. Those who challenged orthodox religious teaching or the administration of the colonies found themselves sent to other colonies or, on occasion, to England.

Three cases – the lay minister Anne Hutchinson, Rhode Island founder Roger Williams and the thrice-exiled lawyer Thomas Morton – reveal that the founders understood the difference between actions that posed a threat to the state and those that required less severe punishment, even when the crimes had been committed by those holding high political office.

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Government Ethics
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"So even if President Trump were impeached and convicted, there is the possibility that he could be reelected to the same office from which he had been removed," writes Austin Sarat.

Could President Trump be impeached and convicted – but also reelected?

The ConversationSarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.

The launching of an "official impeachment inquiry" into President Donald Trump's conduct has sailed America into largely uncharted waters.

While there have been demands for the impeachment of many presidents, just three previous ones – Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton – have faced formal impeachment inquiries, and the Senate convicted none of them. None of those three sought reelection.

After Johnson's acquittal, he was denied his party's presidential nomination. Nixon and Clinton were in their second terms already and could not run for reelection.

Trump, however, is already doing so.

As a scholar of American legal and political history, I have studied the precedents for dealing with this strange conundrum. A little-known wrinkle in the Constitution might allow Trump to be reelected president in 2020 even if he is removed from office through the impeachment process.

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Big Picture
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A new report from Freedom House states that internet freedom is declining throughout the world. Hong Kong is one place where protesters have been able to connect and communicate using the internet and social media.

Online freedom declining worldwide, U.S. included, democracy watchdog says

The internet and social media, often engines of democracy movements fighting powerful governments, are now more often being used as weapons against democracy and freedom.

That is the depressing conclusion of Freedom House's annual assessment, released Tuesday, which reported a ninth consecutive decline in internet freedom across the globe — including in the United States, where its very high marks nonetheless slipped for the third straight year.

While this country remains a beacon of internet freedom, Freedom House said, it was troubled by the expanded surveillance of the public by law enforcement and immigration agencies using social media and the internet. And it noted how disinformation campaigns continued to surround major political events of the past year such as the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court.

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