Presidential impeachment is becoming increasingly common in democracies around the world; however, the public’s understanding of impeachment both as a legal and a political process and how it fits into the overall political picture is relatively low.
In February this year, the United States Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment, bringing the three-week long impeachment trial to an end. Three years earlier in March 2017, the South Korean Constitutional Court made a unanimous decision to remove then President Park Geun-hye from office, putting an end to its three-month long trial. The fate of the two impeached presidents was in part influenced by the different political systems and impeachment mechanisms in the U.S. and South Korea.
Mira Yoo, a senior rapporteur judge, served as a spokesperson during the impeachment inquiry and trial in South Korea. In this talk, Yoo will share her assessment of the two impeachment cases in the U.S. and South Korea by discussing both the legal and the political factors that helped shape how the impeachment process and proceedings played out in the two impeachment regimes. Drawing on the similarities and differences in several important dimensions, she will discuss the broader implications of presidential impeachment, both the process and its legacy, to promote a better understanding of the historical gravity of the issue.
Mira Yoo joined the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) as a visiting scholar for the winter and spring quarters of 2020 from the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea, where she serves as rapporteur judge, as well as director of the Basic Rights Research Team at the Constitutional Court's Research Institute. At APARC, she is conducting research on Korea's international relations in politics through the lens of the constitutional adjudication.