Petition To Impeach Obama Appeals To The Wrong Branch Of Government

A new petition calls on the White House to impeach Obama. But the power of impeachment belongs to the House of Representatives.

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Opponents of President Barack Obama advocate his impeachment.
Opponents of President Barack Obama advocate his impeachment.

new petition on the government's "We the People" website calling to impeach President Barack Obama has garnered more than 35,000 signatures, beyond the 25,000 signature threshold needed to get a response from the White House. The petition alleges that the president has violated the Constitution in a number of ways, including through his controversial federal health care law.

There's only one problem: according to the Constitution, the White House doesn't have the power of impeachment. That power rests instead with the House of Representatives, as laid out in Article One of the Constitution. The Senate retains the power to try impeachments.

"How ignorant do you have to be to petition the White House to impeach Obama?" political blogger Joseph Nobles wrote on Twitter regarding the petition. "America: love it enough to find out how the government operates."

[RELATED: Ron Paul: Secession a 'Legitimate Issue']

The We the People site has seen a slew of anti-government petitions since Obama was re-elected, including petitions for secession from at least two dozen states. Though a number of those secession petitions have also met the 25,000 signature requirement, the White House has yet to respond to either the secession or impeachment petitions. According to the site's FAQ section, the White House responds to petitions "in a timely fashion," but some responses may take longer depending on the petition's content. The White House declined to comment to Whispers about when it will issue a response.

Opponents of President Barack Obama advocate his impeachment.
Opponents of President Barack Obama advocate his impeachment.

With more petitions on the We the People site has come more skepticism of the government site's effectiveness. Another new (and fairly meta) petition on the site is entitled: "Shut down White House petitions, since they never get a sincere response, few read them and they are ultimately worthless." In recent days, the petition writes, the site "has become a mockery" because of its petitions for secession from numerous states. "We ask Barack Obama to admit that this is a mockery of [the] democratic process and immediately dissolve this joke of a website."

The site is unlikely to be discontinued, as the right to petition is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and the Obama administration has said the site is "an easy way for Americans to make their voice heard."

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at