IMPEACHMENT – Where Do We Go From Here?

IMPEACHMENT - how it works

by Diane Rufino, December 23, 2019

My friend Joe McLaughlin said that he heard that despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi choosing to hold back the articles of impeachment that House Democrats alone passed against President Trump from the Senate (until certain conditions are met – ie, “quid pro quo”), the Senate has the opportunity to act. He asked if this is true.

Here is how impeachment works, as I understand it. The Constitution speaks to impeachment process but not to an detailed procedure. It is a 2-part process, to be separated by 2 distinct branches of the legislature. It is an act of separation of powers, designed to temper political passions and to resort to reason and responsibility. All the Constitution says is that the House of Representatives can bring impeachment charges against the president (a simple majority is all that is required) but it is the Senate that has the power to remove him for those charges. Article 1, Section 2 states that the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” – meaning it alone has the power to bring charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against a president. The far greater responsibility lies with the Senate, as it should, since those representatives were (as the original Constitution provided) selected by the states and not the populace and hold a far longer tenure in office and hence are (or should be) more knowledgeable and responsible. Section 3 states that the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” A president is removed from office by a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Senate. As you can see, there is no mention of procedure in the Constitution. The question we are pondering is this: Isn’t the House REQUIRED to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate IMMEDIATELY? To answer this, we have to look to the Senate’s own RULES governing how it handles its role, its procedure, in the impeachment process. Currently, those rules begin by stating: The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial. If the Senate wants to frustrate Pelosi’s “quid pro quo” attempt, all it needs to do is alter its rules outlining the impeachment procedure in the Senate. It simply needs to put a time limit on the transmission of articles of impeachment to the Senate, asserting that any so-called “crimes” levied against the President under the impeachment power must be deemed serious enough to warrant immediate action by the Senate. Otherwise, they are not serious enough to have been brought against him in the first place.

In an opinion piece for FOX News by GianCarlo Canaparo titled “Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” Mr. Canaparo pretty much summed up the very same opinion. He wrote:

The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial.

So can Pelosi delay an impeachment trial?  Yes, as long as the Senate doesn’t change its current rules. But there’s absolutely nothing stopping it from changing this rule, and the Senate should change the rule to prevent this sort of gamesmanship.

The Senate should not let Pelosi interfere with its constitutional obligations and its independence in this way.

Impeachment of the president shakes the nation to its core, and when, as here, it’s done in a nakedly partisan way, it divides the country and damages our constitutional framework. It needs to be over as quickly as possible.

So the Senate should change its impeachment rules as follows: once the House has impeached the president, the Senate shall set a date for trial and shall set a deadline for the House to present its managers to the Senate. If the House fails to meet that deadline, the Senate will either dismiss the articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution or, better yet, vote on the articles immediately in light of the evidence presented to it — in this case, no evidence.

Having set this boulder rolling, House Democrats should not be allowed now to hold it up. They started this process. It’s up to the Senate to finish it on its terms alone. Not Pelosi’s.

As I pointed out earlier, the Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. But it can arguably be assumed that some modest delay might be expected. It certainly wouldn’t be inconsistent with the Constitution. But certainly an indefinite delay – and certainly a “quid-pro-quo” type delay – would pose a very serious problem. It might even rise to a “constitutional crisis.”

But FOX News isn’t the only opinion on Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment.

According to leftist/ progressive Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in favor of impeachment and on behalf of Democrats in front of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, President Trump isn’t actually impeached until the Pelosi sends the articles to the Senate. He argues that impeachment, as contemplated by the Constitution, is a process. It does not merely consist of a vote by the House, but includes a trial in the Senate on those charges (the impeachment charges) to determine whether they are serious enough to warrant removal from office. Both parts – the articles of impeachment brought by the House and the trial in the Senate –are necessary to legally constitute “impeachment” under the Constitution. to make an impeachment under the Constitution: In other words, the House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.

In an article he penned for Bloomberg Opinion, titled Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate, Professor Feldman wrote:

“According to the Constitution, impeachment is a process, not a vote If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”

In fact, President Trump is already hinting that this is his position.

And this brings us to another point – the Senate must actually hold a trial on the impeachment charges. Once the articles are sent, the Senate has a constitutional duty to hold a trial on the impeachment charges presented. Just as unreasonably holding back the articles of impeachment or indefinitely holding them back from the Senate frustrates and therefore violates the Constitution scheme of impeachment, failure for the Senate to hold a trial after impeachment would also clearly deviate from such expectations. It would deny the president the chance to defend himself in the Senate that the Constitution provides. We couldn’t, in good conscience as a “free nation,” deny the President of the United States, duly elected by the American people under the Electoral College system, the fundamental right to confront his accusers and to defend himself in a trial before a vote is taken on removal from office. Due Process demands that when there is a right at stake (the office of the presidency being the right in this case), there must be a legal procedure in place to allow the accused to confront and address those who try to deny him that right. The most debase and vile of criminals are guaranteed this right, after all.

The drafters and framers of our Constitution included the provisions for impeachment taking note of how it had been practiced in England. In England, the House of Commons brought impeachment charges and the House of Lords tried those charges. In fact, the whole point of Commons bringing the charges was for them to brought against the accused in the House of Lords, in the form of a trial. Strictly speaking, therefore, “impeachment” refers to the process of presenting the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial. And, as emphasized earlier, at that point the Senate would be obliged by the Constitution to hold a trial.

If the House were vote to “impeach” Trump (which it did) but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, then while it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution, it certainly has technically violated it by intentionally acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s process of impeachment. Again, we see the logic in President Trump’s position.

With respect to Pelosi’s quid-pro-quo argument that articles of impeachment will be withheld until SHE deems that the Senate procedures are fair enough to the Democrats, Professor Feldman dismisses that position altogether. He asserts that only the Senate is empowered to judge the fairness of its own trial. After all, that is what is explicitly stated by the phrase “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

But even if we decide to overlook GianCarlo Canparo from FOX News and Professor Noah Feldman, there is still liberal law school professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz pretty much echoes the same position as Feldman.

Dershowitz further criticizes the Democrats for its second article of impeachment, which in his opinion is abusive and threatens the integrity of the impeachment process. He says that although the entire impeachment process by House Democrats smacks of partisanship, it is the second article of impeachment that particularly does so. And he is concerned for its effect in future attempts to impeach a partisanly-unpopular president.

While lamenting over this second article of impeachment, Dershowitz was encouraged by the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings involving congressional and prosecution subpoenas directed toward President Trump, which he claims “pulls the rug out from” or “undercuts” the Democrats’ second article of impeachment. That second article of impeachment charges President Trump with obstruction of Congress for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoenas in the absence of a final court order. In so charging him, the House Judiciary Committee has arrogated to itself the power to decide the validity of subpoenas, and the power to determine whether claims of executive privilege must be recognized, both authorities that properly belong with the judicial branch of our government, not the legislative branch.

In an article he wrote for The Hill, Dershowitz explained: “President Trump has asserted that the executive branch, of which he is the head, need not comply with congressional subpoenas requiring the production of privileged executive material, unless there is a final court order compelling such production. He has argued, appropriately, that the judicial branch is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision to review these three cases, in which lower courts ruled against President Trump, provides support for his constitutional arguments in the investigation.”

He further wrote:

The cases that are being reviewed are not identical to the challenged subpoenas that form the basis for the second article of impeachment. One involves authority of the New York district attorney to subpoena the financial records of a sitting president, as part of any potential criminal investigation. The others involve authority of legislative committees to subpoena records as part of any ongoing congressional investigations.

But they are close enough. Even if the high court were eventually to rule against the claims by President Trump, the fact that the justices decided to hear them, in effect, supports his constitutional contention that he had the right to challenge congressional subpoenas in court, or to demand that those issuing the subpoenas seek to enforce them through court.

It undercuts the contention by House Democrats that President Trump committed an impeachable offense by insisting on a court order before sending possibly privileged material to Congress. Even before the justices granted review of these cases, the two articles of impeachment had no basis in the Constitution. They were a reflection of the comparative voting power of the two parties, precisely what one of the founders, Alexander Hamilton, warned would be the “greatest danger” of an impeachment.

So, we have reasoned constitutional analysis that tells us that impeachment is a process by which articles of impeachment (“the charges”) must be delivered by the House to the Senate in a timely fashion and whereby a trial must be conducted in the Senate on those impeachment charges. Removal from office is a decision made solely by the Senate, based on procedural rules decided upon solely by the Senate. We further have reasoned constitutional opinion, by both liberal and conservative constitutional attorneys, that condemns the games that Nancy Pelosi is playing with impeachment and condemns further the very articles of impeachment that Democrats alone voted in favor of.

President Trump appears to be on very solid ground in his positions first to claim executive privilege with regard to the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas and second with regard to his criticism of the quid-pro-quo games Nancy Pelosi is playing by withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.

The House Democrats pursued their evil purpose and achieved their evil goal – to bring articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump. How proud they must be that they allowed an anger over losing the presidential election in 2016 to Donald Trump to consume their very being, blind their oaths of allegiance to the Constitution, and to corrupt their ability to act as responsible representatives over the most successful free nation in the world to the point that they have made a mockery of our very institution of government and have put the interests of a political party over the best interests of the country. Such a sad day in the history of our country. But the good news is that their part in the process is over. It is now up to the Senate to complete the process. Luckily we don’t have the same level of Trump Derangement Syndrome (or the same level of abject stupidity) in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi may try to continue playing games and rigging the process and twisting the rules and perverting the Constitution, but the truth of the matter is that her part is done and the process outlined by the Constitution requires her to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial in order that President Trump can have his day and defend himself. If she continues to play games, the Senate can force the matter by simply altering the procedural rules. And we hope that will happen to shut her up and to allow her to finally seek the psychiatric help she so sorely needs.

 

References:

GianCarlo Canaparo, ““Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” FOX News, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/giancarlo-canaparo-pelosi-cant-stop-trumps-trial-in-the-senate

Noah Feldman, “Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate,” Bloomberg Opinion, December 19, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-19/trump-impeachment-delay-could-be-serious-problem-for-democrats

Alan Dershowitz, “Supreme Court Ruling Pulls Rug Rut from Under Article of Impeachment,” The Hill, December 16, 2019. Referenced at: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/474710-supreme-court-ruling-pulls-rug-out-from-under-article-of-impeachment

Matt Vespa, “Liberal Lawyer: SCOTUS Just ‘Ripped the Rug’ from Under the Democrats’ Trump Impeachment Push,” Townhall, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2019/12/20/liberal-lawyer-scotus-just-ripped-the-rug-from-under-the-democrats-trump-impeachment-push-n2558364?utm_campaign=inarticle

Democrats Continue to Devolve the US into an Evil, Heartless, and Uncivilized Nation

 

ABORTION - late-term abortion

(Photo Credit: Robert Valencia)

by Diane Rufino, March 1, 2019

This past Monday, February 25, US Senate Democrats blocked a Republican bill – The BORN-ALIVE ABORTION SURVIVORS PROTECTION ACT – that would have threatened prison time for doctors who don’t attempt to save the lives of infants born alive during failed abortions.

Why are Democrats openly embracing infanticide? What demons do they have whispering in their ears? What devil sits on their shoulders? What evil master do they serve?

All prominent Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls in the Senate voted down the measure, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The final vote was 53-44 to end Democratic delaying tactics — seven votes short of the 60 needed.

Three Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones or Alabama. Three Republicans did not vote, apparently because of scheduling issues and plane flight delays — including Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Tim Scott of South Carolina (a HUGE proponent of Life).

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would have required that “any health care practitioner present” at the time of a birth “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

To most people, it is a no-brainer that a doctor or other health-care professional should preserve the life and health of a newborn. Am I wrong to believe that the medical profession still adheres to the historic oath that dates back to Greek times, the Hippocratic Oath, which states that a doctor shall seek to preserve health and preserve life, to endeavor to do no harm?  The modern version of the oath includes this statement: “Above all, I must never play God.”

Ironically, one classical version of the Hippocratic Oath addresses abortion: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

Last week, I watched the 2018 movie GOSNELL: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer with members of my Tea Party group. The movie chronicles the investigation by Philadelphia Police and the DEA of Kermit Gosnell, the infamous abortion doctor who operated an abortion clinic in Philadelphia, and his subsequent trial. Initially investigated for overprescribing OxyContin (oxycodone; an opioid derivative of heroin), a raid on his clinic uncovered horrors beyond description. He was charged with eight counts of murder, 24 felony counts of performing illegal abortions beyond the state of Pennsylvania’s 24-week time limit (“viability”), and 227 misdemeanor counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law (patients must wait 24 hours after proper consultation by the clinic). The murder charges related to a woman who died following an abortion procedure, and seven newborns who were killed by having their spinal cords severed with scissors after being born alive during attempted abortions. Surprisingly, the defense was able to mount an extraordinary defense of Gosnell and his practices, including an admonition by the judge that nothing asserted in the courtroom would be allowed to contradict a woman’s abortion rights. Towards the end of the trial, the prosecution was able to locate a young girl (in her teens) who worked at the clinic and who happened to take pictures of the babies who had their spinal cords severed by Dr. Gosnell.  When asked on the stand why she took the pictures, the girl responded to the effect that the babies were so big and so perfect and they looked like they should have been welcomed into a family, with brothers and sisters. She thought there should have been some record, a picture, to acknowledge their existence. Those pictures were shown to the jury, and one by one, their hearts melted and they looked down or began to sob.  Why? Because they inherently connected with the humanity in a newborn and even in a full-term fetus. Dr. Gosnell had committed atrocities that shocked their conscience. My suspicion is that they may have been convinced by the defense to overlook the successful abortions of a full-term fetus, but to take that additional step with callousness and without regard to the life on the medical table in front of him, struggling to move and breathe, wanting to be warm and cradled and comforted and kissed and loved, and take its life was an act of pure evil.

Inherently, we value life and we act under the teachings of compassion and care that our religion has impressed on us, even at some point in our lives.

The sad and tragic thing about this law is that it even needed to be introduced at all.  Providing medical attention and care to a newborn, even if it is a product of a failed abortion attempt, is the natural, the right, the intuitive thing to do.  How can those who would want medical care for themselves have the right to decide to deny it to others?  A life is a life.  It’s not defined by number of years but by DNA and breath and a beating heart.  It’s defined by an instinct to survive and continue living.

After the vote, President Trump tweeted: “This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.”

Today the left uses the excuse that a baby inside the womb is the sole property and concern of the mother to justify its extermination. What will tomorrow’s excuse be?  Usefulness?  Competency?  Old age?

Here are my questions regarding this vote on this Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and in fact, regarding the extreme position that Democrats/liberals/progressives take on abortion rights in general:

(1)  Why do Democrats/liberals/progressives believe that abortion rights are broad and extensive enough to encompass a right to make sure that the abortion is successful, to the point that it includes infanticide?  In other words, why do Democrats/liberals/progressives believe that abortion rights are broad and extensive enough to include the right to condemn a baby born alive to be killed? The one thing the Roe v. Wade opinion seems to be clear on is that as long as the unborn is still inside a woman’s womb, it is not a life for which the Constitution or our laws can provide protection. But once that unborn has actually been born, then, as the opinion supports, that baby is now a new “life.”

(2)  The Fourteenth Amendment reads: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  According to the plain language of the Fourteenth Amendment, any baby born, even if it is the result of a failed abortion, is a citizen and therefore a person with recognized liberty rights. If that is the case, then any person who terminates that life after birth, again even if that baby has suffered from an attempted abortion and even if that baby was intended to be condemned by the mother, is guilty not only of murder, but of intentional, premediated murder.

(3)  Democrats/liberals/progressives believe what Roe v. Wade stands for – that as long as the unborn is inside a woman’s womb, she has complete control over its destiny.  But once it emerges from the womb, even if it is the result of a failed abortion, then don’t both parents (mother AND father) have parental rights to that newborn baby?  Our child support laws would suggest so.

(4)  And if that “unwanted” baby should emerge from the womb, even if it is the result of a failed abortion, then wouldn’t that newborn baby become the ward of the state?  That is, wouldn’t the government (society in general) have the right and duty to care for it?

(5)  If all of the above are true, then how could any member of Congress, taking an oath to the Constitution, vote against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

(6)  The proper approach by government would have been to legislatively define LIFE at some point during fetal development.  (See my article “RESOLUTION to Define LIFE Through Legislation”).

To echo President Trump’s words, this vote by the US Senate “will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.”

 

References:

“Dems Block ‘Born Alive’ Bill to Provide Medical Care to Infants Who Survive Failed Abortions,” FOX News, February 27, 2019.  Referenced at:  http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/us-world-news/dems-block-born-alive-bill-to-provide-medical-care-to-infants-who-survive-failed-abortions#/

Diane Rufino, “RESOLUTION to Define LIFE Through Legislation,” For Love of God and Country, February 24, 2019.  Referenced:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2019/02/24/model-resolution-to-define-life-through-legislation/

Thank You Senator Susan Collins for Defending our Institutions and for Supporting Judge Kavanaugh

SUSAN COLLINS - official

by Diane Rufino, October 5, 2018

Several heroes emerged in this whole sordid, circus-freak show that Democrats made of our Constitutional process of nominating and affirming judges to the Supreme Court, and those include Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Mitch McConnell, and now Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Today, in announcing her decision to vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, Senator Collins stood up for our institutions of government, for the proper decorum of Senators, for the solemn role of the Senate in the confirmation process, for our history and our Founding Fathers, for the Rule of Law, for the presumption of innocence, for the role that evidence plays in allegations claiming a crime of moral turpitude, and for fundamental fairness. She hit the nail on the head when she said that the allegations against Kavanaugh were unverified and wholly refuted and therefore in all fairness could not prevent him from serving on the Supreme Court.

Democrats promised to oppose any nomination offered by Donald Trump “with everything they have.” They weren’t opposing Judge Brett Kavanaugh because of any failing on his part but rather because another “conservative” judge would severely undermine liberals/progressives/Democrats in their attempts to count on the courts to circumvent the Constitution and democratic processes that happen to stand in their way. For Democratic members of the Senate, their shameless, obstructive uncivilized conduct was a desperate political act to advance a desperate Political Party. As someone recently said: “The Democratic Party used to be the party of bad ideas; not it’s the party of bad people.”

As Senator Collins made clear in her remarks: Our Constitution and our laws are far more important than any political party. Political parties may not survive (and maybe shouldn’t survive), but our country must survive.

One person on Twitter commented that Collins’ speech may go down as one of the most important speeches of all time, and another commented: “Dear Cory Booker, this is what a real ‘Spartacus moment’ looks like.”

I’m grateful and vindicated that out of the great heap of depravity in DC, some noble members of our Congress could emerge. I’m grateful and vindicated that out of the great barrage of uncivil and vile dialogue and discourse, some words of clarity and truth, and inspiration, could shine through reminding us good and decent citizens that at some level, we can find hope in the honest and proper and constitutional function of our government.

Thank you so very much, Senator Collins.

 

VIDEO: Senator Collins’ remarks today, October 5, 2018: https://youtu.be/FRpSJed5xsA