A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

by Chloe Baker
Impeachments in U.S. History

Examining Prominent Impeachments in American History, Including the Case of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, centered on allegations of corruption, joins the ranks of historic impeachment proceedings in the United States. It is essential to understand that impeachment is a political process rather than a legal one. Typically, within the U.S. legislative framework, the House of Representatives initiates impeachment proceedings, accusing an officeholder of misconduct. Subsequently, the Senate conducts a trial, with a guilty verdict resulting in the removal from office, sometimes accompanied by a prohibition from holding future public office.

In the state of Texas, an impeachment charge from the House results in the immediate suspension of the accused officeholder, as is the case with Paxton. Currently, the Senate is deliberating articles of impeachment to determine whether Paxton should be permanently removed from office. His charges revolve around allegations of attempting to shield an Austin real estate developer who faced federal charges of making false statements to banks in June.

Over the past 25 years, impeachment has been invoked three times, involving two presidents. Presently, the Republican-controlled House has initiated an impeachment inquiry into Democratic President Joe Biden, although it has not progressed beyond this initial step.

Nonetheless, impeachment remains a rarely used mechanism for addressing serious legal or ethical misconduct, and it holds a significant place in U.S. history. Notable cases include:


  • Democrat Andrew Johnson faced impeachment in 1868, targeted by Radical Republicans for 11 high crimes and misdemeanors, including the replacement of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton while Congress was not in session.
  • Democrat Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power, notably stemming from a sexual relationship denial during a lawsuit.
  • Republican Donald Trump faced two impeachments in 2019 and 2021, first for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to seeking Ukrainian intervention in the 2020 election and later for incitement of insurrection in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, making him the only U.S. president to be impeached twice.


  • Among the 15 state governors who have faced impeachment, eight were removed from office, including Republican Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona for financial crimes in 1988 and Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois in 2009 for various misdeeds, including attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat.

State Attorneys General:

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joins the list of impeached state attorneys general, along with South Dakota Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg in 2022 for his involvement in a fatal 2020 car crash and Kansas Attorney General Roland Boyton for suspected involvement in a 1933 scandal.


  • Prior to Paxton, Texas had not seen an impeachment trial since the 1970s, resulting in the conviction of a state judge. Other impeached judges in the U.S. include U.S. District Judge Alcee Hastings and District Judge Charles L. Crum of Montana.

In summary, impeachment, though infrequently employed, has played a pivotal role in addressing misconduct by high-ranking officials throughout U.S. history. It remains a critical tool for upholding ethical and legal standards in government.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Impeachments in U.S. History

What is the primary focus of this text?

This text primarily focuses on the history of impeachments in the United States, spanning from presidents to state officials, and highlights the case of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

How does impeachment work in the United States?

Impeachment in the United States is a political process initiated by the House of Representatives, where an officeholder is accused of wrongdoing. Subsequently, the Senate conducts a trial, and if found guilty, the individual can be removed from office, often with a ban on future public office.

Who are some notable figures mentioned in this text who faced impeachment?

Notable figures mentioned include:

  • Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump, who all faced impeachment but were acquitted by the Senate.
  • State governors like Evan Mecham, William Holden, and Rod Blagojevich, who were impeached and faced removal from office.
  • State attorneys general Ken Paxton and Jason Ravnsborg, both impeached for alleged misconduct.
  • Judges such as Alcee Hastings and Charles L. Crum, who faced impeachment and varied outcomes.

Why is impeachment considered a significant element in U.S. history?

Impeachment, despite its infrequent use, holds historical significance as a mechanism for addressing serious legal or ethical misconduct among high-ranking officials. It serves as a means of upholding ethical and legal standards within the government.

More about Impeachments in U.S. History

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QuestionQueen55 September 17, 2023 - 3:00 am

Hw does ths impeachment thingy realy work? sum1 plz xplain in simpl wrds.

PoliticInsider007 September 17, 2023 - 3:40 pm

Impeachments r lik a rare show, but when they hppn, it’s a big deal. Nvr thght abt state officials gettin impeached b4!

HistoryBuff101 September 17, 2023 - 4:11 pm

nice summary bout impeachments, thnx. its cool 2 kno the peeps who got in2 trouble in govt. impt stuff in our country’s story!

LinkLover22 September 17, 2023 - 5:08 pm

Thx 4 the links, now I cn dive deep into these historic cases. Hist buffs, let’s explore!

CuriousMind2021 September 17, 2023 - 6:51 pm

Wow, I didn’t kno impeachment was political, not legal. Learnin smth new every day!


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