News & Politics

Dershowitz on Pelosi Withholding a Senate Trial: 'It's Difficult to Imagine Anything More Unconstitutional'

Alan Dershowitz. Source: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In a column for Newsmax, lawyer and constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz blasts Nancy Pelosi for deciding to delay a Senate trial — or even to prevent one from happening altogether. This is, Dershowitz writes, blatantly unconstitutional and a horrendous injustice.

Pelosi based her decision undoubtedly on the views of Laurence Tribe. As Dershowitz explains in his op-ed, Tribe has proposed that the Senate not conduct a trial — not now, and perhaps not ever. He advocates only launching the Senate trial if the Senate agrees to change its rules or until, there it is, of course, Democrats take over the Senate after the next elections (or after that, or after that). If both of those conditions don’t happen, well, “the impeachment would stand as a final and permanent condemnation of President Trump.”

Dershowitz blasts this plan that has clearly been embraced by Pelosi. “It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people,” Dershowitz — a lifelong Democrat — writes. “Put bluntly, it is hard to imagine a worse idea put forward by good people.”

It is similar, he explains, to a prosecutor indicting a criminal but purposefully not putting him on trial. This way, the criminal defendant would never be able to confront his accusers let alone disprove the charges against him. He will be deemed guilty for all eternity.

“An impeached president has a right to be tried and acquitted by the Senate,” he concludes. “Denying him and the American people that fundamental right might serve the temporary interests of the Democratic Party, and academics who support it, but would do violence to the rule of constitutional law that is supposed to serve all Americans, regardless of party or ideology.”

Sadly, there’s one minor problem with this comprehensive lesson in constitutional law as related to impeachment: since when do Democrats care about the U.S. Constitution? We’re talking about the progressive party, here. Progressives are per definition opposed to just about everything the Constitution says, and even against its guiding principle, which is that there are limits to what the government is allowed to do.

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