While I was eulogizing a horse (sorta) Joel Connelly was remembering Rev. Robert Drinan, the congressman who introduced the first House impeachment resolution against President Richard Nixon back in 1973.
The Rev. Robert Drinan, 86, a Jesuit priest, spent virtually his entire adult life teaching law at Boston College and Georgetown University, and making law for 10 years as a congressman from Massachusetts.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Drinan introduced a 1973 resolution to impeach Nixon based on the secret (and illegal) bombing of Cambodia. The panel ultimately picked broader grounds, chiefly abuse of power, to vote overwhelmingly in the summer of 1974 to impeach the 37th president.
Nixon resigned soon after the Judiciary Committee votes. He quit after the Supreme Court-ordered release of a “smoking gun” showing the president conspiring to conceal origins of the Watergate break-in.
Republican Senate leaders, chiefly Sens. Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater, told Nixon that he could count on no more than 15-20 Senate votes against conviction and removal from office.
The “mad monk,” as Drinan called himself, served five terms in the House, retiring in 1981 after an order from the Vatican forbade priests from serving in elective office.
In remembering Drinan’s service to our nation it is also important to remember that Nixon’s resignation was not simply a matter of Watergate. It was the bombing of Cambodia without congressional authorization that started the ball rolling. President Bush should keep that in mind as he continues his efforts to provoke a confrontation with Iran.