Can People Petition To Have Betsy DeVos Removed As Education Secretary? She's A Controversial Cabinet Member
Today, history was once again made in the Trump administration — for better or worse. After days and weeks of arguments, protests, and even a 24-hour Senate floor holding by Democrats to argue against Trump's pick for education secretary, votes were cast today and an official confirmation was made. After the vote to confirm DeVos ended up in a tie, as had widely been expected, Vice President Mike Pence (who also acts as the Senate president), broke the tie, with a vote to confirm DeVos's position in Trump's cabinet. As DeVos's nomination has always been controversial, her new confirmation has many wondering whether people can petition to have DeVos removed.
While DeVos’s confirmation is a letdown for many Democrats, it’s the strong Republican opposition to her appointment that has made news headlines these past few weeks. Two Republican senators, even, voted in opposition to her confirmation, causing the tie. And though the Republican senators’ votes weren’t enough to sway the final outcome, there is still a palpable tension in the air after DeVos's confirmation. As someone who is so strongly opposed, and so completely lacking in experience, shouldn't there be something citizens can do to cut off her reach of power? Especially when it has to do with kids — our kids?
Betsy DeVos being confirmed is like me lying on my resume that Im proficient @ Excel, failing an Excel-test mid-interview & getting the job.— thisisyourconscience (@lincolnablades) February 7, 2017
Well, unfortunately it seems that, after a vote has been held, there's nothing really concrete Americans can do to stop a Cabinet appointee. Since the new secretary of education has already been confirmed, only a Constitutional act of impeachment would be able to remove DeVos from power.
In Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution, the removal process is described as, "the President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
While rare, a Cabinet member has in fact been impeached before: According to The New York Times, "Secretary of War William Belknap, was impeached in 1876." Although, many would argue that impeaching Trump and Pence would be more necessary than removing DeVos, this is still possible.
In order for this to happen, though, those opposed to DeVos's appointment and confirmation would need to organize. They would need to hound down their senators and representatives, protest incessantly, and never slow down.
Like the Women's March taught us, we can't be complacent, we cannot sit still. If DeVos being in charge of your children's education scares you, good. Do something about it. The fight may have slowed down, but it is far from over.