1834 – The U.S. Senate voted to censure President Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.


On March 28, 1834, the U.S. Senate censured President Andrew Jackson in a tug-of-war that had questionable constitutional roots but important political overtones.

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Congressional censure motions against a sitting President have always been controversial. In addition to Jackson, John Tyler and James Polk faced censure resolutions. Abraham Lincoln faced a censure problem during the Civil War, which was ironic, since Representative Lincoln led the censure movement against President Polk.

In modern years, censure motions were introduced against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, but not pursued. 

Censure motions are subject to votes in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, and their sharply worded language is essentially a public shaming of government officials.

The most-famous censure motion in congressional history happened in 1954, when the Senate passed a censure motion against Joseph McCarthy, who was a key figure in the post-World War II Communist Red Scare era.

The motion said that McCarthy “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute, to obstruct the constitutional processes of the Senate, and to impair its dignity; and such conduct is hereby condemned.”

The effective punishment came against McCarthy in a separate motion, where he lost a key committee chairmanship.

The constitutional precedent for the censure motion comes from Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2, which says that “each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

For the complete article go to : constitutioncenter.org