- - Thursday, December 26, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in flagrant disregard of her oath to uphold the Constitution. She is holding hostage the House Articles of Impeachment of President Trump, making demands about how the Senate should conduct the impeachment trial.

The Constitution grants the Senate “sole trial power over all impeachments.” The “all” in front of “impeachment” means that each and every impeachment falls under the trial jurisdiction of the Senate. To say otherwise is to say the president has not been impeached.

The Senate, having immediate trial jurisdiction over all impeachments, has an easy solution to this mess. A trial court gains its jurisdiction over a case when the complaint is filed. If the complaint fails to state a judicable claim, the trial judge has the power to summarily dismiss the case for “failure to state a cause of action.” In this case before the Senate, the president has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, not for any of the constitutionally permitted grounds for removal from office (treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors).

The impeachment lacks constitutional grounding to support a Senate conviction for the president’s removal from office. Were the Senate to vote to convict the president, the decision would likely merit appeal to the Supreme Court. It would be a terrible mistake for the Senate to have a trial of this impeachment, or to take it up to simply vote to acquit. That would give seriousness and acceptability to House impeachments of the president on unconstitutional grounds. Summary dismissal is the way to go to end the House mischief.

JAMES JEANBLANC



Arlington, Va.

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