October 22, 2019

NORTHWESTERN LAWPROF STEPHEN PRESSER: A Trump Impeachment Imperils the Constitution.

Some have begun to understand that the impeachment effort is itself an attempt to subvert our Constitutional scheme.

Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), recently published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, arguing that by proceeding in secret, Mrs. Pelosi and her designated impeachment hatchet man, Adam Schiff, are violating our Constitutional norms of due process. These violations include the fact that the president has been deprived of the right to confront witnesses, the failure to follow the Nixon and Clinton precedents of initiating impeachment proceedings by a vote of the entire membership of the House, and the failure to accord Republicans the right to summon witnesses to the closed-door hearings.

The framers understood that impeachment would be politically divisive, and by limiting impeachable offenses to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” they sought to ensure that impeachment would not be simply a tool of a partisan majority, and that it would not be used to frustrate the will of the people. Representative Biggs quite properly believes that what is now occurring is just what the framers feared.

What’s funny is, people say that we should impeach Trump because he’s a threat to norms and the Constitution.

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