Role of the United States Senate

Roleof the United States Senate

Theimportance of the United States Senate cannot be understated as faras safeguarding the public interest is concerned. This has becomepretty clear in the numerous scandals that have rocked the variedgovernments. During the Watergate Scandal, the United States Senateformed a committee that undertook the investigation of the break-inand the eventual cover-up of the burglary by the administration,alongside every other illegal, unethical and improper action thattook place in the course of the presidential campaign.

Inaddition, the committee made recommendations that would avert thepossibility for the occurrence of similar episodes in the future.Part of these recommendations included the establishment of permanentspecial prosecutor and permanent congressional legal office.

Inthe case of President Bill Clinton, the US Senate not only undertookthe impeachment trial but also came up with a bipartisan planpertaining to procedural rules that are to govern the trial (Binder56). On the same note, the Senate had to determine whether livewitnesses would be needed in the hearing, as well as whether theconduct of Clinton had met the constitutional standards pertaining to“a high crime” that justified the impeachment.

A case similar to President Nixon was that of President Reagan whenthe Senate introduced impeachment articles against President Reaganas a result of the Iran Contra Affair, resulting in the jointhearings that took up a large proportion of the summer (Binder 67).The similarity of this impeachment with that of Westgate scandal isthe fact that the Senate undertook the appointment of a specialprosecutor to try the president. This prosecutor, however, was notpermanent, unlike the case of Nixon. Further, the Senate created acommission that would investigate whether the president had committedany wrong.


Binder,Sarah A. Politics Or Principle?: Filibustering in the United StatesSenate. New York: Brookings Institution Press, Sep 19, 2001