Impeachment, McConnell, and Separation of Powers

What we witnessed on February 13, 2021 with Mitch McConnell’s reason for voting not guilty in the impeachment trial of ex-president Donald Trump, is the Senate playing the Judicial Branch.

The question on whether the Senate had jurisdiction to hold impeachment trial was raised, and voted on.  The Senate’s vote was that it had jurisdiction.

In a regular court of law, once a judge has ruled, the issue can no longer be argued, and jurors are instructed not to consider the issue during deliberations.  However, the Senate is not a court of law.  Mitch McConnell disregarded the majority Senate vote and used the issue of constitutional jurisdiction to acquit ex-President Donald J. Trump.

 

The argument over whether the Senate has jurisdiction to hold an impeachment trial for a government official no longer in office, is over a hundred years old.   In 1862, it was federal judge West Hughes Humphries.  In 1876, it was Secretary of War William Belknap.  So, why hasn’t a federal court settled the question?

The most logical answer I have for that question is because Congress has not petitioned a federal court. Congress does not have authority to interpret the Constitution.  That authority rests with the Judicial Branch.

According to USHistory.org federal judges have declared over 100 federal laws unconstitutional.  Federal Courts have authority to interpret the Constitution.  The only way to resolve this problem is for Congress to legislate law establishing that government officials, including presidents, can be impeached by the House, and impeachment trials held in the Senate, after they are no longer in office.

If an organization or other members of Congress disagree, they can petition a federal court to decide if the law is unconstitutional.  Whether or not it works in favor or disfavor is not the issue but rather, to have the matter settled once for all.  This is necessary because with Mitch McConnell giving the green light to Trump, Americans can bet that politicians, more specifically Republicans/ Trumpublicans, are going to violate their oath of office, commit treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors at the midnight hour, and get away with it.  If holding impeachment trial after the person is no longer in office is held unconstitutional, then federal law enforcement will know what it must do, while Congress carries along the business of the people.

Posted on 02/14/2021, in politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. We have in our Congress the most corrupt bunch, mostly republicans, that this nation has ever seen, and they are playing games with our lives. You’re right … this issue needs to be settled once and for all by the courts, but meanwhile, this was not even close to a fair trial, and some of the jurors are in violation of law for conniving with the defense … if it could even be called a defense. The ‘defense’ already had a guarantee from the republicans in Congress that the verdict would be to acquit, so they did not even bother to mount any sort of tactical or factual defense, but instead played games. The goal was to ensure that Donald Trump could never hold office again, and that goal failed. We the People have a heavy responsibility now, to demand that the Justice Department thoroughly investigate Trump’s actions leading up to January 6th, and press charges where appropriate. This nation will not stand if Donald Trump ever again occupies the Oval Office.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jill,
      You are so right. What I suspect is that McConnell already knows that if Trump is charged as a “private person” for acts he took while in office, he and his defense will argue that the judicial system doesn’t have jurisdiction because impeachment would be appropriate. Through the years, Trump has surrounded himself with people who looked at everything that is vague or argumentative in the Constitution and federal laws. He’s like the spoiled, disrespectful 5-year old who is told not to take more than 3 cookies, who takes 6 and says because he didn’t take them all at once, that he did not disobey his parents’ instruction.

      I learned to never say never when it comes to politics, but it has been reported that some of his supporters at the Capitol have turned against him, feeling betrayed. Even the Qanon Sharman wrote a letter, released by his attorney, saying that Trump let “a lot of peaceful people down”.

      Liked by 3 people

      • A game, the rules of which are nebulous when one side wishes them to be. Imagine if Obama had done half the things Trump did … my head spins at the thought of how fast they would have impeached and convicted him.

        I have to laugh at the QAnon ‘Shaman’s attorney referring to the terrorists as “peaceful people”!

        What next, I have to wonder?

        Liked by 3 people

        • Jill,
          Yeah — the Shaman evidently presenting himself and others a “peaceful” only if and until Trump tells them to be otherwise. Speaking about imagining if Obama had done half of things Trump did, L. Graham is already threatening VP Harris. Skin color is a crime to Graham.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I read about Graham’s threat to impeach VP Harris and wrote about it in my post about the ignoble Lindsey! What a crock … Trump cannot be impeached for inciting a violent coup because he’s out of office now, but Harris can be impeached for asking people to contribute to a bail fund before she was even named as Biden’s choice for VP!!! Talk about a double standard! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Jill,
            I suppose that every person who bailed out a person who did not uphold the law afterwards, is guilty of a crime. At least, that is what Graham would have Trump’s ignorant followers believe. Proof? They actually believed that Mike Pence could throw the election to Trump in violation of the constitution.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Apparently in ol’ Lindsey’s book that’s the case. Well, at least it was on the day he said it … the next day he might think differently, for he doesn’t seem to have any consistent views, but rather changes with the wind. For once in his career, Mike Pence did the right thing, but nearly got killed for it!

            Like

          • Jill,
            I want to believe that Pence came to the realization that Trump sought to be a dictator, and the danger it presents having a man with power use it for personal revenge. That realization came before Jan. 6th. On Jan. 6th, it bit Pence in the butt with the gallows and chants of hanging him. Hanging gallows carry lots of fear that doesn’t come from hanging, but knowing what mobs did to Blacks in the South before hanging them.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I suspect Pence was well aware of that for a while, but perhaps he only realized the extent to which Trump would go after the events of January 6th. I hear Pence has declined his invitation to CPAC next week because Trump will be there and be giving a speech. Good for him! I can’t feel too sorry for Pence, though, for he has had his own agenda, and he is a bigot in nearly every form of the word.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Jill,
            Pence no doubt thought that he could persuade Trump to leave the dark side. What he didn’t realize is that if Trump can’t exploit people, he has no use for them. If they don’t do what he wants, he retaliates. No doubt Trump will falsely say something at CPAC about Pence not following the constitution. That would require Pence to give constitutional classes 101 and 102 to attendees.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Either that, or Pence was hoping for Trump to either become unable to serve, or be impeached, and he could step into the top spot. I was impressed that Pence finally saw through Trump, finally realized the full extent of the danger. But then, I read that he praised Rush Limbaugh as a ‘good man’, and I reassessed my opinion again, for Limbaugh was anything but a ‘good man’. Sigh.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “… authority to interpret the Constitution. That authority rests with the Judicial Branch.”

    Exactly.
    Even a first year Debate team member, or a 1st month law student, also knows the issue of topicality, so why does the Senator forget it, except out of convenience, or fear?
    I don’t know, Sortition, or at the very least, publicly financed elections, are looking better and better…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Shira,
      My high school senior Constitution class, and Freshman college political science class drilled us in the separation of powers. Most legislatures and senators are attorneys, so they should know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, they should know. All citizens should know, so why do they shirk their duty? How can we get people of conscience to govern us, rather than people of greed?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Shira,
          I wish I knew the answer to your questions. In other settings, people of conscience often find that they cannot perform their job without the participation of people of greed. And, people of greed will also seek to exploit others with hope of keeping their power. As the saying goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Good points. So we need to modify the system so that it supports people of conscience, and discourages greed. There must be ways to do it, like Citizen Juries, for example?

            Liked by 1 person

        • Oh Shira,
          An afterthought based on your comments about all citizens should know. Tuesday, I asked a 36 year-old if she knew the name of her state representative. She didn’t. In the past 5 years I’ve met numerous young people who did not complete high school, say they got a GED, and other than doing so to get a job, have no interest in learning anything other than how to operate their cell phones. Yet, I’ve met seniors who never attended high school but who have interests in government and can name their local politicians, state politicians, and who call and write to them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • “no interest in learning anything other than how to operate their cell phones.”
            How is it possible for any human being to not want to learn? I do not understand that.

            Like

          • Shira,
            Just my opinion based on observations and talking with people, but their interests are social life, shopping, and the newest “Real Housewives” TV series.

            I kid you not — I watched my (then) homemaker spend about $1,000 of her $1,200 stimulus in less than an hour, purchasing shoes online, who then said that she didn’t understand why the Governor ordered wearing masks in public. Well, she knew that I watched the then daily briefings by our Governor, so it was more convenient for her to ask me than to watch the briefings herself.

            While I sat watching cable news, she sat on her cell phone reading Facebook notifications about actors, their marriages, or what they allow their children to wear. She asked me one day if news was all I watched all day. As she attempted to distract my attention talking entertainment gossip, I simply turned up the volume on the tv until she shut up.

            That’s just one example out of 8 direct, personal experiences in my home with what was supposed to be professional people. None of them, not one, knows the names of our state nor federal representatives or Senators.

            Liked by 1 person

          • What!!?? Ok, my first instinct is to say that “we’re doomed,” but unlike C3PO, I continue to believe (whether it is true or not, that we can, and must change this situation, and grow as human beings and as a society, “Because the alternative is too terrible to consider. Without the hope that things will get better, that our inheritors will know a world that is fuller and richer than our own, life is pointless” otherwise.
            Stay strong,
            Stay wise,
            Be Safe,
            Peace!
            -Shira
            (and many Safe Virtual Air Hugs, if you want them, heading your way!)

            Like

          • Shira,
            I’m taking those hugs and giving you tight hugs back.

            Like you, I stand on hope. At times, all it takes is a small group, even 3 persons, to continue standing in the gap. The burden can be heavy, but it’s not in our nature to stand back in silence.

            Liked by 2 people

          • (little girl holds up her finger: “Mine is!” but then pulls out her pocket knife, looks up, straightens her back, and stepps into that gap…)
            Yes, hope and even a prayer (ok, yes, and a Bible verse or two!!)
            The burden is indeed less heavy together, and it is not in our true nature to stand back in silence.
            Sending you more tight hugs, and tightening that belt as I step back into the gap to lock arms with you…
            Peace
            S. Destinie

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Two sides to a story

    The rollercoaster of hope and grief continues . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Two sides,
      Yes, it does. For me, it continues because I have a hard time dealing with hate, bigotry, and dishonesty. Trump seems to eat dishonesty, hatred and bigotry, so his feces is full of it and some other Republicans eat a yard of it daily.

      Like

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