The heap of sexual harassment allegations on Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has now climbed up to six. With this many women complaining against the molesting behavior of the governor, the voices of impeachment against him are rising to an unprecedented level.
As New York lawmakers buckle up to impeach the incumbent governor, Andrew Cuomo is in hot water pertaining to a score of allegations against him.
Despite the starting of the “impeachment investigation” against Cuomo, the process will be a mess.
What are the hindrances for the lawmakers to make Cuomo accountable? Let’s dig deeper.
The Vagueness of the New York Constitution
The vagueness of the definition of impeachment in the New York State Constitution will be the biggest benefit for the governor in the whole process.
As a matter of fact, the New York state assembly does not define impeachment as explicitly as the United States Constitution.
For instance, the US constitution states the impeachable offenses clearly, so the process of the presidential impeachment is straightforward.
The US Constitution states “high crimes and misdemeanors” as impeachable offenses. But it is not the case in the state of New York.
The New York Constitution has been changed numerous times, and the latest version has no clear basis for the impeachment.
This is worrying the legal experts, as it can pave the way for Andrew Cuomo to maintain his presence in the governor’s seat.
Governor’s Impeachment in New York: Not Many Precedents
While the United States has seen four successful impeachments of the president, this is not the case in New York.
The legislature of New York is relatively inexperienced in impeaching the highest officer of the state. In the history of New York, only one governor has been impeached, in 1913.
William Sulzer was impeached for allegedly fraudulent activities with campaign funds. Despite being impeached, Sulzer came back in the state legislature owing to the support of the masses he enjoyed.
So, technically, even the impeachment of Sulzer cannot be used as a precedent against Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo will be the first one of his position to be impeached.
Even an Impeachment Without Conviction Will Send Andrew Cuomo Packing Temporarily
The process of impeachment in the case of the New York governor is also different as compared to the US president‘s impeachment. While the US president remains president until conviction from the Senate, this is not the case in New York.
If he is impeached, Andrew Cuomo will cease to be governor unless and until he gets acquitted from the Senate.
For instance, Donald Trump was president even after his impeachment, but Cuomo will not remain governor once impeached until his acquittal from the Senate.
Kathy Hochul, the Lieutenant Governor, will take charge as the acting governor during Cuomo’s senate trial.
Many stakeholders would not like to remove Cuomo even temporarily during the time of the pandemic when the state is the epicenter of the disease in the United States, and the devastation is already wrecking the healthcare sector, as total deaths in the state are about to touch 50,000.
Criminal Investigation can Linger on Cuomo’s Impeachment
It is pertinent to note here that apart from the sexual investigations, Cuomo is also in hot soup owing to his fraudulent COVID-19 nursing saga.
While it is true that sexual harassment is a civil offense and not a crime, however, at times sexual allegation can be qualified as a crime.
It is also apposite to note here that unlike a president who cannot be tried during his presidency, the governor can be charged and tried during his tenure.
If any of the allegations against Cuomo lead up to criminal charges, the impeachment will go on the backend, and he will be prosecuted first, which will linger on his impeachment.
Cuomo is Ahead in the Numbers Game
Whether it is Andrew Cuomo impeachment or a senate trial, the truth is that numbers favor Andrew Cuomo to an unimaginable extent.
Andrew Cuomo has big connections in both the House and the Senate, so if he survives the whole process, it would not be a surprising thing at all.
Just like the presidential impeachment, a simple majority in the lower house of the State legislature would send Cuomo packing.
In a house of 150 members, 106 are Democrats while 43 are Republicans with one independent. At least 76 anti-Cuomo votes are required for his impeachment.
In order to do so, at least 22 Democrats have to vote against Cuomo. While this is not impossible, it is highly improbable until one faction of the party officially announces their intent to part their ways with Cuomo.
Similarly, in a 63-member Senate, Republicans have only 20 seats with 43 Democrats.
In the Senate, a two-thirds majority is required, and 41 votes are required to convict Cuomo, which seems even more difficult compared to the lower chamber.
So, despite being in hot waters currently, Cuomo is likely to win the number game, which will ultimately help him to come into power corridors once again.
The sexual allegations against Cuomo are building up gradually, and it will be no surprise if more women come up to label him a sexual assaulter.
The Andrew Cuomo impeachment process also looks much more tiresome and bureaucratic compared to the presidential impeachment, which seems to be an encouraging sign for Andrew Cuomo.
The journey of Cuomo from a hero of New York to a governor with an imminent sword of impeachment hanging on his head has many lessons in it.
At the end of the day, everything will come down on the number game, and it looks like Cuomo has enough numbers on his side to get rid of all of the current mess.