My friend Ron Krotoszynski had an op-ed in The New York Times yesterday pointing out that the Senate could expel Roy Moore, if he is elected, and that there are plausible precedents for doing so based on sexual wrongdoing. I want to expand on that discussion a bit.
Over the past year, I’ve been struck by the following thought. The clauses in the federal and state constitutions for removing officials (like impeachment, expulsion, or recall) rest on an unstated premise that the removal is justified because the voters were unaware of the official’s misconduct when he or she was last elected. If you look at almost every example where an elected official was removed, this was the state of play.
Suppose, though, that the voters are fully aware of the misconduct prior to the election and elect the person anyway. Then a removal based on that misconduct must rest on the idea that the voters were corrupt, stupid, etc. Basically, they are not entitled to elect somebody like that. But why not? I don’t see how any democratic theory can justify that. If the people in a state or a district want to elect a miscreant and suffer the consequences, so be it.