Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial will be the first novel to extend beyond a presidential time, creating a novel legal question that may eventually require a Supreme Court resolution.
The answer has not been decided, but there is bad news for Trump in history: a sparse but consistent line of lower-level impeachment in the past suggests that the Senate retains power to keep him on trial even after his term ends. It holds. If it convicts him, the Senate may seek a second vote to prevent him from running for office again.
Many legal scholars say that the proponents of the constitution did not intend to leave the president free on days of his terms to engage in wrongdoing without consequence.
Kate Shaw, a constitutional law professor at the Cardozo School of Law, said “history, impeachment practice, and basic constitutional design all clearly point in favor of the constitutionality of a former president’s attempt.”
The constitution does not explicitly say whether the Senate can be tested after leaving the presidency. Article II, Section 4 states that the President and other officers “shall be removed from office” if found guilty. Article I, Section 3 states that Senate measures are limited to removal and disqualification from holding office in future.
But the context in which the constitution was written provides some clues. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 took place as the British Parliament was in the process of impeachment and attempt against former Governor-General William Hastings of India.
What’s next as Trump’s impeachment chief in the Senate: Quicktech
And since then the practice suggests a broader understanding that Brian Cult, according to Professor, maintains Senate jurisdiction Author of a 2001 law review article about the Michigan State University College of Law and the so-called late impeachment.
“In many cases, As the House and Senate have moved forward, however, they can remove and try to those who have already left office, and in one case the Senate took a specific vote to that effect, “Cult said said.
Congress applied the power of impeachment for the first time in 1797, when the House impeached Senator William Blunt and conspired to control the British to control Spanish-controlled areas of Florida and Louisiana. The Senate held a trial even though it had already expelled Blant. Eventually the senators acquitted him on the separate grounds that he was not an “officer” under the impeachment clause.
In 1876, the Senate voted 37–29 that it had the authority to try the former Secretary of State for William Beckencup, even though he had resigned as the House prepared him for impeachment to accept a comeback. Was. The Senate eventually acquitted Belknap.
In a number of cases since then, including the 2009 case of former US District Judge Samuel Kent, lawmakers have stated that the official resignation of the Senate’s authority to conduct the trial was not affected, Cult and University of Missouri Professor Frank Bowman Written in the Washington Post this week.
A prominent retired federal appeals court judge J. Michael Lutig argued this week that the Senate cannot try Trump after Trump leaves office. Luttig The Washington Post wrote that the motive behind the impeachment clause was to prevent an officer from using government office to do more harm to the nation.
“The concept of constitutional impeachment determines the impeachment, conviction and expulsion of a president who, at the time of his impeachment, is an incumbent in the office from which he is removed,” Lutig wrote. But he said that history provides “some support” for the argument that Trump may conduct a Senate trial after leaving office.
Republican George W. Lutig, a short-term candidate in the Supreme Court during Bush’s presidency, recently advised Vice President Mike Pence that he did not have the authority to change election results during the counting season of Congress, according to the New York Times. .
Gregg Nunjita, a former Republican lawyer The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday tweeted that “some conservatives have been misled by Judge Luttig.”
“The power of impeachment includes the power to disqualify for life,” Nunjita said. “If officeholders can resign to avoid this significant punishment, it will provide a disqualification.”
Despite the merits, it is unclear whether the Supreme Court will even consider a Trump challenge to the Senate’s authority. In court in 1993 This was a “political question” – and therefore beyond the scope of the courts – when a impeachment judge objected to the use of the Senate committee to hear evidence as part of his trial.
Pointing to the Constitution’s grant of authority to the Senate for impeachment, the court stated that the term “lacked sufficient precision to review any judicially manageable standard.”
Trump could counter by pointing to 1969 The decision that Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr. refused to give him a seat. The fight centers on the constitutional provision that allows the House and Senate to judge the “qualifications” of their members.
The Supreme Court held that the political-question doctrine did not apply because the requirement of the case “does not outweigh the interpretation of the Constitution.”