Missouri governor can be removed from office for conduct that occurred before tenure

(AP File Photo)

The process of impeachment in Missouri works unlike almost every other state.

Like most of the states and the federal government, the process starts in the House of Representatives.

"First of all the impeachment process starts with the House Judiciary Committee on whether or not there should be articles of impeachment given the offenses that the governor supposedly committed so under article 7 of the Missouri Constitution," according to SLU Political Science Professor Ken Warren.

According to Section 1 of Article 7 of the Missouri Constitution, any executive officials in the state is "liable to impeachment for crimes, misconduct, and habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, and corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office."

That includes wrongdoing that happened before becoming governor.

"And if any of those offenses were committed and the House Judiciary Committee feels they were serious enough then it would move to the whole house for a vote on these articles of impeachment," said Warren.

If the Missouri House voted for impeachment, the matter would then move onto a trial.

But that's where Missouri differs from the federal government and 47 other states.

Instead of moving to the Missouri Senate for the trial, the impeachment process would normally then move to the state Supreme Court.

But in Section 2 of Article 7 of the Missouri Constitution, it says, "All impeachments shall be tried before the supreme court, except that the governor or a member of the Supreme Court.”

Because it was the governor who was faces articles of impeachment, instead of the Supreme Court it would be a “special commission of seven eminent jurists to be elected by the senate" holding his trial.

It would take 5 of the 7 "eminent jurists" voting for impeachment in order to remove the Governor.

It would only be at that time that the Governor could be removed from office.

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