“Every impeachment reinvents what impeachment is for, and what it means, a theory of government itself”

Every impeachment reinvents what impeachment is for, and what it means, a theory of government itself. Every impeachment also offers a chance to establish a new political settlement in an unruly nation. The impeachment of Samuel Chase steered the United States toward judicial independence, and an accommodation with a party system that had not been […] continued…

“Because impeachment happens so infrequently, it’s hard to draw conclusions about what it does, or even how it works, and, on each occasion, people spend a lot of time fighting over the meaning of the words and the nature of the crimes”

The U.S. Senate has held only eighteen impeachment trials in two hundred and thirty years, and only twice for a President. Because impeachment happens so infrequently, it’s hard to draw conclusions about what it does, or even how it works, and, on each occasion, people spend a lot of time fighting over the meaning of […] continued…

“To believe that Presidents can do anything they like is to give up on self-government”

In 1787, the delegates in Philadelphia narrowed their list down to “Treason & bribery, or other high crimes & misdemeanors against the United States.” In preparing the final draft of the Constitution, the Committee on Style deleted the phrase “against the United States,” presumably because it is implied. “What, then, is an impeachable offense?” Gerald […] continued…

“The ‘high’ in ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ has its origins in phrases that include the ‘certain high treasons and offenses and misprisons’ invoked in the impeachment of the Duke of Suffolk”

The “high” in “high crimes and misdemeanors” has its origins in phrases that include the “certain high treasons and offenses and misprisons” invoked in the impeachment of the Duke of Suffolk, in 1450. Parliament was the “high court,” the men Parliament impeached were of the “highest rank”; offenses that Parliament described as “high” were public […] continued…

“all but one of England’s original thirteen American colonies had been founded before impeachment went out of style”

The Englishman responsible for bringing the ancient practice of impeachment back into use was Edward Coke, an investor in the Virginia Company who became a Member of Parliament in 1589. Coke, a profoundly agile legal thinker, had served as Elizabeth I’s Attorney General and as Chief Justice under her successor, James I. In 1621—two years […] continued…

“When we read in the book of Genesis about Pharoah’s sar ha-mashkim…we are not reading about a maître d’ who brought him fruit juice”

When we read in the book of Genesis about Pharoah’s sar ha-mashkim, his cupbearer or “chief butler,” as the King James Version calls him, we are not reading about a maître d’ who brought him fruit juice. The word “butler” is an old English form of French boutellier, from bouteille, which nowadays means a bottle but once meant a wine cask, […] continued…

“…studying Talmud…connects the (presumably) pluralistic ideas of the learner with the very activity in which they are engaged”

Even as the Shoah and the State of Israel were essential drivers of Greenberg and Hartman’s commitments to pluralism, neither thinker entirely derived their ideas from these historic events. In fact, both tried to locate pluralism as a critical feature of the classical rabbinic tradition. In articulating Jewish pluralism, they were bringing to the surface […] continued…

“Most traditional forms of alcohol are made for immediate consumption”

Most traditional forms of alcohol are made for immediate consumption: They will spoil within a few days of fermentation. This is true for most forms of grain beer before the addition of hops as a preservative (a European invention of the ninth century) and for most other fruit-, sap-, or starch-based alcohols before the invention […] continued…

“The origins of alcohol distillation are still somewhat obscure”

The origins of alcohol distillation are still somewhat obscure. Greeks in Alexandria had already developed the distillation of plant essences for medicinal purposes by the fourth century c.e. The technique was further developed by Arab chemists for the extraction of essential oils for perfumes, and it probably was passed back to Europe during the medieval […] continued…

“Unlike its role in other societies, wine eventually replaced beer and other drinks altogether among Greeks (except Spartans), Etruscans, and Romans of all social classes”

In Europe, credible evidence for alcoholic beverages, especially drinking vessels in funerary contexts, dates back to at least the Neolithic, although it is probable that forms of alcohol such as fermented honey (mead) may have existed even earlier (Dietler 1990, 1996; Sherratt 1991; Vencl 1994). Both grain beers and mead are attested during the Iron […] continued…
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