Law & Contemporary Problems
Part of a special section on the Constitution under President Bill Clinton. The prosecution in the Clinton impeachment played their hand based on Clinton's actions representing a threat to the rule of law, when it should have been over breach of trust. It is possible that they avoided the breach-of-trust issue, sensing that although it may have been easy to show Clinton's untrustworthiness, it would have also highlighted their own. The irresponsible actions of the Republicans, who were in the majority on the House Judiciary Committee, gave no basis for trust; therefore, it is no surprise that they were unable to demonstrate that Clinton did not deserve trust. The Republicans' mishandling of the issue is based on two factors: They focused on sex rather than on perjury and obstruction of justice; and when they tried to reverse that position, they applied the threat to the rule-of-law approach. In doing so, they sounded dogmatic, rigid, and abstract.
Lewis H. LaRue, The Story About Clinton's Impeachment,, 63 Law & Contemp. Probs 193 (2000).