Donald Trump, has done nothing impeachable, nothing whatsoever. The Constitution is very clear on this. “Impeachment for Dummies” is for those who think our Constitution was invented out of whole cloth, the Framers being totally ignorant of the events through which they and their fathers and mothers had lived, events that led to the creation of this exceptional country where all rights come from our Creator, not “The State.”
Here is an exchange between two people who could benefit from “Impeachment for Dummies’:
Rep. Shirley Jackson Lee: So what comparisons could we make, Professor Karlan, between kings, that the framers were afraid of and the president’s conduct today?
Prof. Pamela Karlan: So kings could do no wrong because the king’s word was law…
Talk about a dummy! By 1776 that was completely false. In fact, the Founders were more fearful of a Legislature that could geld the President by whim. But if you follow Ms. Karlan, Nancy Pelosi would have the powers of a Prime Minister and could call for the dismissal of Presidents at will – because, by 1776 the power Karlan describes lay with the Prime Minister, not the King who served at Parliament’s pleasure — explicitly what the Framers avoided! Yet it’s precisely that power Pelosi is trying to seize, taking us back to nearly a century before the time Ms. Rep. Lee was referencing! God Save us from a Prime Minister PELOSI — only a dummy could wish that, even one atop the Academic Ivory Tower.
Karlan’s reference to “the king can do no wrong” was called “The Divine Right of Kings” — the idea the monarch was placed on the throne by the will of God and thus had a divine right to rule; to defy him/her was to defy God Him/Herself. It was very dear to the Catholic Stuart kings who followed the Protestant Tudor Queen Elizabeth. It did not sit well with the Parliamentarians (the “Roundheads” largely Protestant and led by Oliver Cromwell) but quite admired by Royalists (the “Cavaliers”, mainly Catholic and representing the bulk of the ruling elites.) Things got nasty (the English Civil War) and the Roundheads triumphed. They put Charles on trial for “high crimes and misdemeanors” which were, specifically, trying to import foreign armies from Scotland, Ireland and France (treason) and offering land and titles to any powerful person (the Bezoses, Zuckerbergs or Kochs of the day) if they’d help him (bribery).
So, in 1649 (well before the period Rep. Lee referenced) they chopped Charles’ head off – in public – under a death warrant specifically noting these “HC&Ms.” This was Regicide, the killing of a king, the 17th Century outcome of “Impeachment” (one I suspect many 21stCentury Dummies wish was still the remedy). After little more than 10 years, the Parliamentarians’ Commonwealth (with head of state “The Lord High Protector” Oliver Cromwell) turned into something of a tyranny of the majority and so, in 1660 the monarchy was restored – but with tight strictures on the king, especially when it came to things like creating Barons (note to dummies: that’s one “r” not the same as two “r” “Barron”).
Charles II did okay but the next King, James II, longed for “The Divine Right of Kings,” so Parliament forced him to abdicate. This is known as “The Glorious Revolution” of 1688 which determined that “Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled are the High Court of land,” in effect making the Prime Minister superior to the executive branch in fact if not by formality. Using this newly-established supremacy, Parliament imported William and Mary from Holland, placed them on the throne and enacted The Bill of Rights in 1689 that ensured the Legislature had the upper hand in dealing with the now “constitutional monarch.”
As Federalist 65 makes clear, our Framers disliked this, understanding a tyranny of the majority is as vile as an autocratic minority. When they spoke of the “king’s power” they fully understood the degree to which that power rested, ultimately, in Parliament, as their discussions of the powers of the Commander-in-chief make clear. So, quite exceptionally in the whole world until that time, they protected us from power-struggles-to-the-death by creating a system of checks and balances whereby the executive can only be removed for high crimes and misdemeanors that rise to the magnitude of bribery or treason. Our battle for independence was against Parliament and its high-handed treatment and taxation of colonists. King George III was certifiably insane leaving no check on Parliament. Our Founders were no dummies so they wanted a powerful executive that offered security against Legislative caprice (See: Schiff, Adam). In Federalist 69Alexander Hamilton calls impeachment “a release valve from crisis of a national revolution” an apt description of the English Civil War. Big stuff, that.
Now, consider this:
Prof. Karlan: …the president can name his son Barron (note two “r”s) but he can’t make him one…
As any dummy knows, since 1689, nor could the king without the pleasure of parliament. (See Bagehot, Walter)
Noah Feldman claimed expertise in the origins of our Constitution; he might have corrected his colleague — unless, of course, he too is a dummy. I have no doubt Prof. Turley is well aware of the actual history but was too much of a gentleman to draw attention to the ignorance of those at the table with him. I think there was a fourth “expert” there, but I can’t remember.
So this is not an attempt to merely remove President Trump by deliberate misdefinition of HC&M; it’s a daring move to transform our constitutional republic into a parliamentary system where the legislature holds all power and the executive holds office only at their pleasure – and the bureaucracy is totally controlled by that legislature, led by a de-facto Prime Minister…
… all the better to Deep State you with, my dears …
Lionel Chetwynd is a filmmaker/lawyer who graduated as valedictorian from Sir George Williams University, then got his law degree at McGill University, where he served as a contributing editor for the McGill Law Journal before he became an award-winning writer, director and producer.