Published Online: February 25, 1998

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Impeach Dick Riley?

While there are some in Washington suggesting that the allegations surrounding President Clinton and a former White House intern could lead to impeachment, a retired Wisconsin teacher has set his sights on one of the president's inner circle: Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

Mr. Riley is almost universally popular and respected among Democrats and Republicans alike. But according to Gene Malone of Kenosha, Wis., the secretary is part of a conspiracy to violate the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The amendment declares that the powers the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government, or prohibit to the states, "are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Since the establishment of school policy doesn't equate with the regulation of commerce, the creation of a military, or other enumerated federal powers, the U.S. government shouldn't have a Department of Education or a secretary running it, Mr. Malone argued in a recent telephone interview.

So, Mr. Riley "should be impeached," added the retired teacher, who said he was wearing a T-shirt with the 10th Amendment printed on the back. The Constitution says nothing "about the nationalization of education," he said.

Supporters of a federal role in education say that Mr. Malone's interpretation of the Constitution is too narrow. They note that other clauses give Congress broad power to appropriate money, which it has done to offer money to help support local schools but not, they say, usurp local decisionmaking.

But Mr. Malone responded that the federal government has gone too far. The education secretary and the Clinton administration designed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the School-To-Work Opportunities Act to collect achievement data on every student and assign them to careers in a planned, socialist economy, Mr. Malone said in the interview and detailed in a package of materials he has distributed broadly through electronic mail.

Although he believes he's on firm legal ground, Mr. Malone is pessimistic about the odds that the House would act on his impeachment recommendation or that the Senate would remove the education secretary from office.

"Of course he's not going to be impeached," Mr. Malone said. "The Republican Party seems to have no interest in the Constitution either."

--DAVID J. HOFF federal@epe.org

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