Triggering Liberals Is Not An Impeachable Offense
I recently stumbled upon a query asking if President Donald Trump wants to abolish the impeachment process through executive order. After a decade of wearing a police uniform and my subsequent experiences as a lawyer, I rarely encounter a situation that causes me to shake my head in disbelief. That being said, the aforementioned question reminded me of how alarmingly ignorant most Americans are when it comes to our Constitution. Almost since the day he took office, rabid Leftists have been salivating at the thought of President Trump’s impeachment. Their “Impeach Trump!” battle cry stands as a glaring example of America’s collective ignorance with respect to both the Constitution and the impeachment process.
The U.S. Constitution specifies only three grounds on which impeachment proceedings can be initiated. These offenses include treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. When questions arise as to the permissible grounds for impeachment, the ambiguous phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” is usually at the center of the controversy. Makes sense, right? Treason and bribery are fairly simple to define, but the Constitution does not offer much insight into what offenses might constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.
Compounding the textual ambiguity of the high crimes clause is the fact that the Supreme Court’s ability to interpret the phrase is limited by the political question doctrine, which precludes the courts from meddling in purely political disputes. The Supreme Court has held that the political question doctrine proscribes federal courts from hearing cases which turn on issues that the Constitution specifically delegates to the other branches of government — including the impeachment process.
Those clamoring for Trump’s impeachment commonly use the terms “impeachment” and “removal” interchangeably — blissfully unaware that impeachment is nothing more than an official accusation. The process of actually removing a President from office is not a simple proposition. Perhaps this procedural complexity explains why only two U.S. Presidents have ever been impeached (neither of whom was ultimately removed from office). The House of Representatives holds the exclusive power to initiate impeachment proceedings, and a majority vote in the House is required to bring impeachment charges. After the House initiates impeachment, the Senate is tasked with making the determination of whether the President should be removed from office. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict before a President can be removed.
A simple analogy to the federal court system can aid in understanding the respective roles of the House and Senate in the impeachment process. The House acts as a grand jury, which either hands down an indictment (called Articles of Impeachment) or votes to no-bill the indictment. If the House of Representatives hands down Articles of Impeachment, the case moves to the Senate, which acts as a jury. In order for a President to be removed from office through the impeachment process, the Senate must convict by a two-thirds vote.
Given the complexity of the impeachment process and the many political variables at play, President Trump doesn’t have much to worry about. With Republicans firmly in control of the House and Senate, the odds of a Republican President being impeached are about the same as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl next year.
Democrats are attempting to make a case for impeachment based on nothing more than manufactured conspiracies and their collective objection to President Trump’s agenda. From the now-debunked Russian collusion story to obstruction of justice accusations, the Left has relentlessly pursued lines of attack which have no basis in reality. The Russian collusion theory was debunked during James Comey’s congressional hearing, and the obstruction of justice allegations will never get off the ground, according to (liberal) legal expert, Alan Dershowitz.
Democrats look increasingly ridiculous with each failed attack on Trump. But these repeated failures certainly haven’t dampened their spirits. In fact, Democrats have called for Trump’s impeachment as recently as last week. Last Monday, Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced a proposed article of impeachment, accusing the President of, “[acting] in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government.” But, these accusations — even if true — do not high crimes and misdemeanors make. So, it would seem, the Left will continue to call for Trump’s impeachment simply to appease their base — keenly aware of the reality that their hollow threats will never come to fruition.