SOUTHLAND ACLU BACKS `NO' VOTE.Byline: Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
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The American Civil Liberties Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution. of Southern California is urging members of Congress to vote against impeaching President Clinton after the chapter voted 36-5 to stand against impeachment impeachment, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow. , the executive director announced Monday.
``If President Clinton is impeached by the members of one political party . . . the impeachment cause of the Constitution itself will have been irrevocably damaged,'' Ramona Ripston said. ``Our system of government will be radically altered and the constitutional balance of powers permanently jeopardized.''
The ACLU ACLU: see American Civil Liberties Union. had not adopted a public position on the impeachment proceedings in hopes that ``in the end the process would be fair,'' Ripston said. The chapter voted at its Nov. 18 board meeting to take this position, but didn't announce it until a news conference Monday.
``No future president will be safe from partisan removal from office by the opposition party, should it gain a congressional majority,'' Ripston said.
The national ACLU has not taken a public position, and Ripston said she was not aware of any other affiliate that had taken a stand on the issue.
Ripston said the organization would have adopted the same stance if a Republican were president and denied speculation that the group was losing its impartiality.
She noted the group filed a brief on the side of Paula Jones in her cause against the president. The ACLU of Southern California believed the Jones case should have moved forward, unlike some who wanted it put off until after Clinton served his term.
The announcement came two days after the House Judiciary Committee completed work on four articles of impeachment Formal written allegations of the causes that warrant the criminal trial of a public official before a quasi-political court.
In cases of Impeachment, involving the president, vice president, or other federal officers, the House of Representatives prepares the articles of alleging perjury perjury (pûr`jərē), in criminal law, the act of willfully and knowingly stating a falsehood under oath or under affirmation in judicial or administrative proceedings. , obstruction of justice A criminal offense that involves interference, through words or actions, with the proper operations of a court or officers of the court.
The integrity of the judicial system depends on the participants' acting honestly and without fear of reprisals. and abuse of power against Clinton. All stem from evidence turned in by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated Clinton's sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and alleged efforts to keep it secret.
Several members of the full House remain undecided about impeachment, including Rep. Brian Bilbray, a San Diego Republican. The House will convene Thursday for a presidential impeachment vote. Approval of a single article would lead to a Senate trial.