By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) got rolled by her far-Left base into approving the unpopular impeachment of President Donald Trump or not makes no difference at this point: The deed is done and it cannot be undone.
But now that two articles of impeachment have been returned only by Democrats in the House (not a single Republican voted in favor), Pelosi has essentially lost control over the process.
She doesn’t think she has, mind you, which is why she refused to transmit the articles to the Senate, as per the Constitution. That is a mere technicality, however, and according to a growing number of constitutional scholars, that may not matter.
Count Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz among them.
I believe that the Senate need not wait for articles of impeachment to be transmitted. Senators are empowered by the constitution to begin a trial now — with or without further action by the House. Just as the House has the “sole power of impeachment,” so too the Senate has the “sole power to try all impeachments.”
[Laurence] Tribe and the Democratic House majority, led by Speaker Pelosi, want to have their constitutional cake and eat it too: they want Trump impeached but not acquitted. Sorry, but the Constitution does not permit that partisan, result-oriented ploy. Either Trump has been impeached and is entitled to a Senate trial; or he has not been impeached and is entitled to a clean slate.
So there are only two constitutionally viable alternatives: either Pelosi must announce that Trump has not been impeached; or the Senate must initiate a trial. Preserving the status quo indefinitely — Trump remaining impeached without having a trial — is unconstitutional and should not be tolerated by the American people.
Again, Dershowitz is only the latest constitutional scholar to hold this opinion.
According to Prof. Noah Feldman, a Leftist law school professor Democrats called before their sham impeachment inquiry last month, the president isn’t formally impeached until the House of Representatives transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.
He writes in Bloomberg:
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.”
And Bradley A. Blakeman, an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a Fox News contributor, said in a piece for The Hill that there isn’t even a need for a Senate trial. He laid out five possible scenarios and courses of action he believes the Senate can take, even without Pelosi ‘transmitting’ the articles to the Senate.
Those options include not having a trial at all.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 23, 2019
RedState notes that current Senate rules from 1986 require the upper chamber to immediately set a trial date once impeachment articles are presented. However, as Dershowitz notes, that’s not in the Constitution and can change as the Senate decides.
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What seems obvious to us is that no matter how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proceeds, he certainly must proceed because if he does not, then Pelosi and Democrats not only get their political victory, but they will have corrupted the constitutional impeachment process, perhaps permanently.
If McConnell doesn’t act, then Pelosi will have succeeded in the House dictating the impeachment process to the Senate, which, as Dershowitz has opined, is unconstitutional.
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