Impeachment in New York: How does it work?

Cuomo Investigation

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Republican lawmakers in the New York State Assembly announced Monday they would introduce a resolution calling for the impeachment of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

So what does this mean?

Once the resolution is introduced, the bill would be referred to an assembly committee which will convene and look into the resolution, and then if the committee agrees impeachment should move forward, the resolution would be voted on by the entire Assembly. A majority vote would result in impeachment.

Big difference between NY and Federal Constitutions

Like an impeachment at the federal level, one at the state level is about the same: an accusation of wrongdoing. What amounts to an indictment in a criminal case.

While American Presidents Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Andrew Jackson remained on the job following their impeachment and during the trial in the U.S. Senate, that’s not how it works in New York

Should Governor Cuomo be impeached, he would not serve as governor while awaiting or standing trial. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would act as governor during that time.

In case the governor is impeached, is absent from the state or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor, the lieutenant-governor shall act as governor until the inability shall cease or until the term of the governor shall expire.

Article IV, section 5 of the New York State Consitition

Should Cuomo be acquitted, he would return to his job, and Hochul would return to her role. Should he be convicted, he would be removed from office, and Hochul would complete his term.

What about the trial?

Once impeached, a special court would hear the case. That court would consist of the 63 members of the State Senate and the seven members of the state’s highest court, The Court of Appeals. However, the state constitution says the “temporary president of the senate,” who is Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is excluded from the impeachment trial of a Governor. Also excluded, is the Lieutenant Governor, who would serve in the trial of other high state officials.

Of the sixty-nine people who would sit in judgment at an impeachment trial, a two-thirds vote is needed for conviction.

Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any public office of honor, trust, or profit under this state; but the party impeached shall be liable to indictment and punishment according to law.

Article VI, Section 24 New York State Constitution

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