Impeachment

"High Crimes and Misdemeanors" as an Inkblot

No constitutional provision should be ignored just because it may be difficult to discern

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The late Judge Robert Bork infamously compared the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to an "inkblot." The text's admonition that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" was insufficiently determinate and open to broad interpretation. Any claim that a given right is protected through the Ninth Amendment would likely reveal more about the values of the individual making the claim than the Constitution itself. Accordingly, Bork warned, the Ninth Amendment should not be relied upon to invalidate legislation. After all, a judge cannot rely upon a provision of the Constitution to invalidate legislation if the judge does not know what that provision means.

Bork's assessment was criticized by some as a departure from his favored judicial philosophy of originalism. However indeterminate, the text of the Ninth Amendment is part of the Constitution's text and if the original public meaning of the Constitution is to govern, this text must control. Whether the Ninth Amendment is an instruction to legislatures or a proper basis for judicial review of legislative action, it is a part of the Constitution that should be interpreted and applied as any other. It may be that resolving the amendment's meaning may be more difficult than other, more determinate constitutional provisions, but that does not give judges (or anyone else) license to act as if the amendment does not exist or is covered by an inkblot. It was ratified through the same process as every other amendment, and should be interpreted and applied through the same methods.*

In the current impeachment debate, some of the President's defenders seem to have adopted a similar approach to the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" in Article II, Section 4. Whereas treason and bribery are clearly defined offenses with specifically identified elements, we are told, it is less clear of what "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" consists. Further, this lack of determinacy creates a risk that different legislative majorities at different times will reach different conclusions about what constitutes an impeachable offense and, worse, that such conclusions will often be driven by partisan conclusions. Thus, it is argued, unless something clear, such as treason, bribery, or perhaps some other criminal act, can be shown, a President should not be impeached.

One problem with this argument – particularly when made by folks who otherwise embrace originalist approaches to constitutional interpretation – is that it is quite anti-originalist. The phrase "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" may be less determinate than "treason," not least because the latter is defined in the Constitution itself, but it is still a part of the constitution and is still subject to interpretation. That interpreting it and applying it may be more difficult does not mean it should not be interpreted and applied. There is no license for excising it from the Constitution or pretending it does not exist. Indeed, there are many clauses in the Constitution that, at first glance, are no less indeterminate, and yet few make the argument that they should not be relied upon.

As it happens, the framers of the Constitution actually considered a more determinate list of impeachable offenses, and expressly chose a different course. James Madison objected to the inclusion of "maladministration" as an impeachable offense, but leaving treason and bribery as the only impeachable offenses was expressly rejected at the Constitutional Convention as the delegates voted to include "other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" in Article II, Section 4. Thus to refuse to consider "other high Crimes and Misdemenaors" as impeachable offenses is to excise a portion of the constitutional text.

As it also happens, the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" was better understood at the time of ratification than some seem willing to acknowledge. Those present in Philadelphia, and at the various state ratifying convention, were familiar with the history of impeachments in England as well as in the colonies. Indeed, the impeachment trial of William Hastings was occurring while the convention was underway, and was referred to during the proceedings. It was well understood that "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" referred to the sorts of abuses that only public figures could commit, and need not be crimes defined by statute or recognized at common law. Indeed, it was also understood that a President's misuse of core executive power, such as in the conduct of foreign affairs or through the issuance of a pardon, could constitute an impeachable act.

The precise boundaries of what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor may not be as determinate as what constitutes treason, but it is hardly just an inkblot. Even if we don't know with precision when abuse of power crosses the line from contemptible to impeachable, we know what sorts of actions should trigger such concerns (and so any President who cares is on notice of what sorts of action to avoid). To suggest otherwise is to embrace the idea that when a constitutional provision is difficult to interpret or apply, it can be ignored, and that is an argument no originalist should accept.

 

 

* To say that the Ninth Amendment should be interpreted and applied in the same manner as other amendments is not to say that the Ninth Amendment is necessarily a sound basis for invalidating federal or state legislation. For instance, some argue that the Ninth Amendment is best understood as something of an admonition to legislatures or as a reaffirmation that rights protected under state constitutions must still prevail against state legislatures, and not as a judicially enforceable constraint on legislative power. Others contest this interpretation. Both arguments may be made on originalist grounds. My point is that originalists should debate the original public meaning of this provision, not eschew its application.

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  1. I seen people say impeachment is “just politics” or words to that effect and therefore can mean what Congress wants, but I haven’t heard the inkblot argument.

    The most sensible – others would say charmingly naive – interpretation was given by Professor Black in his short 1974 volume:

    https://archive.org/details/black_impeachment

    As for the Ninth Amendment, I can’t see how the phrase “shall not be construed” can be ignored by *anyone* who is construing the Constitution. That would include judges. To construe the Constitution without regard for the reserved rights of the people would be a literal violation whether committed by Congress or a court.

    If I had to give examples of rights recognized at the Founding as being “retained by the people,” I’d probably list the right to sue for harm to one’s person, property or reputation; freedom from legal monopolies; freedom from double jeopardy even when one’s life or limbs aren’t at stake, and some others.

    “Incorporating” the 9th Amendment against the states is an interesting question, but at least the feds should have to respect the reserved rights.

    1. “I seen people say impeachment is “just politics” or words to that effect and therefore can mean what Congress wants, but I haven’t heard the inkblot argument.”

      It means whatever the current House majority wants it to mean at the moment. That effectively IS the inkblot argument.

      1. No, the inkblot argument is that it means nothing not that some body has plenary discretion.

        1. It was more that it means anything and therefore should be treated as if it meant nothing.

          1. Well put; I skipped that interstitial step.

      2. As Justice Story said in his Commentaries, what is required for impeachment is evidence of a crime. Maladministration was explicitly rejected by the Constitutional Convention. The House may say otherwise but then they are violating the Constitution. In this case the Senate will not convict (unless evidence of a crime is discovered).

        1. The thing is, Richard is lying. Story did not say any such thing; he said exactly the opposite:

          “In the first place, the nature of the functions to be performed. The offences, to which the power of impeachment has been, and is ordinarily applied, as a remedy, are of a political character. Not but that crimes of a strictly legal character fall within the scope of the power, (for, as we shall presently see, treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanours are expressly within it;) but that it has a more enlarged operation, and reaches, what are aptly termed, political offences, growing out of personal misconduct, or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, in the discharge of the duties of political office. These are so various in their character, and so indefinable in their actual involutions, that it is almost impossible to provide systematically for them by positive law. They must be examined upon very broad and comprehensive principles of public policy and duty. They must be judged of by the habits, and rules, and principles of diplomacy, of departmental operations and arrangements, of parliamentary practice, of executive customs and negotiations, of foreign, as well as of domestic political movements; and in short, by a great variety of circumstances, as well those, which aggravate, as those, which extenuate, or justify the offensive acts, which do not properly belong to the judicial character in the ordinary administration of justice, and are far removed from the reach of municipal jurisprudence. They are duties, which are easily understood by statesmen, and are rarely known to judges.”

          He goes on:

          “In the next place, it is obvious, that the strictness of the forms of proceeding in cases of offences at common law are ill adapted to impeachments. The very habits growing out of judicial employments; the rigid manner, in which the discretion of judges is limited, and fenced in on all sides, in order to protect persons accused of crimes by rules and precedents; and the adherence to technical principles, which, perhaps, distinguishes this branch of the law, more than any other, are all ill adapted to the trial of political offences in the broad course of impeachments. “

          1. The thing is, Richard is lying.

            Thanks for saving me the research! There was a strong stench emanating from his comment.

    2. Eddy, like Ron Paul, Robert Bork and others on the authoritarian right, applies the “Jim Crow” meaning of states rights. which is the opposite of both federalism. and natural law. The notion that states have whatever power they choose — because (they say) the founders INTENDED states to have never-delegated powers — as guaranteed by 10A.

      This is popular on the authoritarian right. the folks who whine about “unelected” or “rogue” judges inventing rights, which is historically illiterate. Judges have been inventing recognizing rights for over 400 years now.

      Until some assholes ban gay, or inter-racial, marriage, there is no NEED for marriage equality as a right. duh. That is how rights have evolved for many centuries. The Founders knew that, as seen in the debates over 9A. How could they possibly restrict rights to the tiny number enumerated in the Constitution? Or assume what rights might be abused by later legislation?

      And why 9A was called “the libertarian amendment,” when libertarianism was still libertarian

      ONLY the judiciary can “recognize” fundamental rights, as a check on the only branches which can violate such rights — the legislative and executive branches. So Ron Paul, and the authoritarian right, essentially reject the entire concept of checks and balances, by a separation of powers, among THREE coequal branches. Yes, reject every core principle of the Constitution.

      Here’s how crazy it is. Ron Paul, and others, have repeatedly claimed that states have the power to deny “federal” rights. Umm, how can one reside in a state and NOT reside in the United States?

      Dumbing it down. The 9th is about unenumerated RIGHTS. The 10th is about unenumerated POWERS. In a government of DELEGATED powers. They are authoritarian because, under all their mumbo jumbo, they argue that POWER HAS PRECEDENT OVER RIGHTS. Precisely that silly.

      The Ninth was how Jefferson’s unalienable rights are incorporated into the Constitution. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
      a) What does liberty include?
      b) Pursuit of Happiness?

      Can YOU list the details for those two, when the Founders intentionally refused to? The Founders were NOT stupid.

      ONLY the judiciary, because ONLY the judiciary CANNOT pass or enforce laws. Deal with it.

      Or, how would YOU protect us from abuse of our rights by legislation and/or enforcement?

      “Incorporating” the 9th Amendment against the states is an interesting question,

      I just answered it
      .

      but at least the feds should have to respect the reserved rights.

      Which YOU can not list. (They are retained rights)
      STATES must also respect such rights, unless one believes the Founders intended states to have never-delegated powers … including the power to violate rights guaranteed by the federal Constitution … as if the Articles of Confederation had not been repealed!.

      Like when Orval Faubus, Ron Paul and others snarl that President Eisenhower had no power to send federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, to defend the equal rights of nine young … niggers. (/sarc)

      Also reinforced by the 14th Amendment, so inconvenient.

      1. “…Jim Crow…Orval Faubus…”

        Where’s Hitler in all this? Doesn’t he deserve a mention?

        1. (yawn) COWARDLY DIVERSION FROM HIS PROVEN IGNORANCE

          The Ninth was how Jefferson’s unalienable rights are incorporated into the Constitution. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
          a) What does liberty include?
          b) Pursuit of Happiness?

          Can YOU list the details for those two, when the Founders intentionally refused to? The Founders were NOT stupid. Are YOU?

          LIST THOSE RIGHTS, OR STOP BEING A WHINY PUNK.
          You have been called out AGAIN!!!

          Will he FAIL again?

          1. NOT ACCORDING TO YO MAMA I DIDN’T

            1. You admit to have no idea how to answer those.

              “a) What does liberty include?
              b) Pursuit of Happiness?”

              Which is the point!. NOBODY knows the answers to those. (or the one’s protected by the 9th)

              1. …and did I mention your sister?

                1. You AGAIN admit to have no idea how to answer those.

                  “a) What does liberty include?
                  b) Pursuit of Happiness?”

                  Which is the point!. NOBODY knows the answers to those. (or the one’s protected by the 9th) … YOU LOSE BIGLY

    3. Ugh, this discussion hurts my brain. Obviously, the House can impeach for any reason that amuses a majority, and the Senate can convict for any reason that amuses 2/3 thereof, but that does not suggest or imply they should use their power this way (anymore than the fact that a jury can acquit for any reason that amuses it means nullification is proper). The point here is that impeaching a president who will NOT be convicted is an abuse of power, an attempt to use impeachment to manipulate the election. It’s perfectly obvious, for example, that a Speaker could claim the president is a child molester & nothing would happen to her (as long as she made her vile accusation while speaking on the floor), but it wouldn’t be appropriate – in fact, it’d be a disgusting abuse of power. Likewise, the House can impeach, but it’s a disgusting abuse of power. Impeaching w/o bipartisan support (aka impeaching without any chance of success) is unethical and unlawful for the same reason and in the same way it would be unethical and unlawful to arrest someone whom you knew to be innocent merely because there was probable cause against them (ie an eyewitness id that you knew was belied by other evidence). To use another analogy, it would be unlawful and unethical to file a lawsuit that I knew could not win merely because I expected to withdraw the false claim before the safe harbor expired because making unsustainable charges is unlawful and unethical even if it’s technically “permissible.” As attorneys (or members of Congress), we’re held to a higher standard than whatever we can get away with. Thus, it is unlawful and unethical to abuse a legal process for the purpose of embarrassing or sliming our adversaries without any chance of actually attaining the nominal purpose of our legal claims. If you can’t remove the president, then you shouldn’t impeach him. The law (and ethics) of this are really just that simple.

      1. And Obama was born in Kenya. (lol)

        The biggest fuckup by Dems is impeaching for the wrong reason. In less than ten minutes, the American people can be convinced that Trump totally disgraced the Presidency, when he lied about who launched the mass assaults and murder in Charlottesville … abusing his office to defend his nazi and racist supporters.

        How disgusting is that? (50% of Americans already want Trump impeached and removed, even with the current slipshod process, as reported by … wait for it … Fox News!

        The Ukraine thing is guilt, but not clear enough to persuade the American people, and shake all the lies.

        MUCH easier to prove HAS used the Presidency to enrich himself. He openly campaigned on a 60% tax cut for … HIMSELF, and a small fraction of the 1% who are like him. He’s already loopholed out of the corporate income tax, a MASSIVE loophole, but that was created 30 years ago, by the GOP. He wanted a 60% rate cut on his PERSONAL income.

        He’s have been a billionaire paying a top income tax rate of … 15%, on top of his corporate exemption. That’s less than many of his supporters. What’s your marginal tax rate? 🙂

  2. “Thus to refuse to consider “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” as impeachable offenses is to excise a portion of the constitutional text.”

    No argument there, but I’ve yet to see that as other than a fringe position.
    Certainly objecting to “Obstruction of Congress” being characterized as a “high Crime [and] Misdemeanor[s]” seems to fail the test you propose.

    1. That’s an interesting question. I mean, the president was given veto power over Congress’ proposed laws, and that certainly seems like obstruction of Congress.

      So I suppose the question is whether the existence of veto power means that the President’s obstructionism is to be channeled solely through that instrument, or whether it implies more broadly that the president obstructing Congress is tacitly a part of those checks and balances I’ve heard so much about.

    2. That’s just a targeted version for obstruction of justice.

      If BOTH parties weren’t on hate missions, Trump’s most blatantly impeachable offense .. and most easily proven … was his shameful lying to defend his Nazi and White Nationalist supporters in Charlottesville, from the mass assaults and murder they launched … at a typical press conference. with him shouting down all the reporters disagreeing. He even lied that he’d watched it all on TV. Nobody did (at the time) because there were no videos of an assault that nobody expected, at the point of attack.

      All we saw, until much later, were mostly described as private videos, like from cell phones. The PROOF videos, also private were discovered much later. And undeniable.

      1. “If BOTH parties weren’t on hate missions, Trump’s most blatantly impeachable offense .. and most easily proven … was his shameful lying to defend his Nazi and White Nationalist supporters in Charlottesville, from the mass assaults and murder they launched ”

        Good God, you are an effing idiot.

        Have you even once wondered why no rational person has joined you in your stupidity on this?

        BECAUSE IT IS STUPID.

        1. JAMMED RIGHT YOUR PATHETIC LYING ASS.
          UNDENIABLE PROOF VS A BULLY WITH THE MIND OF A 14 YEAR OLD.

          Ready? (sneer)

          “Mess with a bull, get the horns”
          WHO’S THE STUPID ONE. ENTROPY???
          YOU: Self-righteous Bellowing, Bullshit and Bullying … just like Trump
          ME: Documented FACTS. With links to PROOF …. vs. Snarling and Whining

          PROOF Charlottesville! ???? ????

          PART ONE, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF:: at press conference, Trump lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, defending Nazis and Racists. Arrogantly bullies and shouts down media

          PART TWO, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF: Trump PROVEN a psycho liar. Mass assaults and murder initiated by Trump’s nazi and racist supporters.

          PART THREE, THE SMOKING GUN: Four white supremacists found guilty and imprisoned for initiating Charlottesville mass assaults and murder
          .

          TRUMP DISGRACES HIMSELF, AND THE PRESIDENCY … shameful lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, charged with clubs, wearing black helmets 7:25 — 11:00 — 13.15

          “What about the alt left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt right? Do they have any assemblage of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

          NEXT: PROOF Trump is a lying sack of shit. … and Entropy his witless puppet

        2. PART TWO: MORE UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF

          Initial assault. (Private video found on an alternate news twitter feed)

          TRUMP: Alt-left charged to initiate mass violence.
          PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters charged to initiate mass violence

          TRUMP: Alt-left wearing “black” helmets.
          PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters wearing NAZI helmets … Helmets that Trump SAW! OMFG!!

          .
          TRUMP: Alt-LEFT swinging clubs
          PROOF: Alt-RIGHT swinging clubs. Alt-Left, arms locked, hands empty.
          PROOF: Alt-right carrying police-style riot shields. Trumpster’s CAME for violence.

          TRUMP: I watched it all on televisions … So did you!
          PROOF: A clinically PSYCHOPATHIC LIAR

          SHAME ON EVERYONE who LIES about the truth, to defend a morally debased President, over country and honor.
          I’m looking at you John, and Brett, and Sevo, and Red Rocks, Last of the Shitlords, NOBY2, loveconstitution1789 … and your entire pack of wild dogs

          NEXT: The Smoking Gun.

          1. I am sure you have been prescribed meds for this.
            Why are you not taking them?

            1. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS, PROVEN LIAR

              MY TURN ENTROPY (in defense of multiple unprovoked assaults by a stalking bully)
              Who do YOU stand with?
              a) Trump, Nazis and Racists?
              b) Or Truth, Justice and the American Way?

              am sure you have been prescribed meds for this.
              Why are you not taking them?

              JUST LIKE TRUMP! (vomit)

              CALLING YOU OUT AGAIN … SINCE YOU’RE NOW A PROVEN FRAUD: IF TRUMP DIDN’T LIE … TO DEFEND THE ALT-RIGHT IN CHARLOTTESVILLE ….HOW IN *HELL* WERE WHITE SUPREMACISTS CONVICTED AND IMPRISONED FOR THE ASSAULTS *YOU* SAY WERE CAUSED BY THE LEFT? …

              WITH SO MUCH DOCUMENTED PROOF, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES, IMMEDIATELY ABOVE THIS COWARDLY DIVERSION?

              1) Actual video, Trump LYING that the alt-LEFT initiated the violence in Charlottesvile.

              2) Actual video, UNDENIABLE PROOF the mass assaults launched by … Trump’s Nazi and Racists base,

              3) THE SMOKING GUN …. Four White Nationalists CONVICTED and IMPRISONED … for starting riots … that YOU say were launched by the alt-LEFT

              YES OR NO: Do YOU stand with Trump, Nazis and Racists?
              Or … are you too ASHAMED of yourself?
              ,
              YOU caused this, Entropy.
              YOU launched UNPROVOKED ASSAULTS against me, with snarky bullshit and insults … just like Trump
              .
              ASSAULT (first of seven) … CONTINUED ALL DOWN THE PAGE … A PSYCHO STALKER

              *****Entropy would LIE to defend Trump .. from even killing someone on Fifth Avenue … with witnesses … so, why would he NOT lie about HIS OWN GUILT … also despite absolute proof?

              ****PUT UP OT SHUT UP, PUNK

              He’ll just create another sock .. for more assaults … now for revenge … which is how they function … Because Reason.com protects this scum … banning ONLY those who defend libertarian values, on a libertarian website … 13 bans, all libertarian.

              (All 13 have been restored by reason.com … when faced with a formal slander complaint … which STILL ignores our sacred Non-Aggression Principle … just one reason libertarianISM (the ideology) is rejected by 91% of libertarIANS (the core values), per Cato survey

  3. Shouldn’t “high crimes and misdemeanors” be something regular, non-obsessed people might understand and care about?

    In the current process, they decided to impeach and then searched for a way to justify the decision. Then the search came up with only some lame stuff that non-obsessed people aren’t interested in. And here we are.

    1. I keep saying this: Until the Democrats can find a charge that persuades people who didn’t already dislike Trump, all they’ve found is an excuse to impeach based on their disliking him.

      1. Normally this is accounted for by the supermajority requirement in the senate for removal — you have to convince the president’s supporters the issues are really so bad, they agree he has to go. That level hasn’t been reached, and given the admitted 3-year design goal to find something, anything, on which to hook their hat, not likely. Even a legitimate concern is swamped, rhetorically, by all the crying wolf.

        1. I agree the crying wolf has hurt the Democrats. But as a matter of logic, the presence of a wolf does not depend on past false claims of a wolf. On the merits, the Democrats have made a solid case on Ukraine.

          1. Yes, the presence of a wolf does not, on its face, depend on there not being false claims of a wolf in the past.

            But it makes the one making the claim much less credible.

            1. Given the rich and powerful have their fingers in many pies, almost any could probably have criminal violations found if you looked closely enough. And the rich and powerful know this.

              These amendments protect against that, too, and not just the innocent. Filching through an opponent’s stuff looking for legitimate illegality is also forbidden sans evidence and warrant.

          2. Yeah Josh R, of course, every tribunal with a “solid” case holds secret hearing and prevents opposing parties from calling witnesses and asking questions. And such a healthy precedent too. So beneficial for the body politic to normalize the star chamber process.

      2. Well, even if he did something like that, would they believe it, or just call it fake news?

        1. It’s easy to say, “Even if we did find evidence of a real crime, you’d just call it fake.” Really easy, when you’ve yet to produce such evidence.

          1. Pointers on evidentiary standards from birthers are always fascinating.

            Carry on, bigoted clingers. Until replacement, that is.

            1. I’m always amused to be called a “birther”, since my position on this controversy from the start has been that the “birthers” were entitled to have their case examined on the merits in court, at which point I fully expected them to lose.

              Indeed, my position was that it was McCain, not Obama, who was actually disqualified from the Presidency on the basis of not being a natural born citizen.

              1. Birther-curious is just a beard.

                As unconvincing as the libertarian drag some conservatives try.

                1. So you’re saying, “Come on, you know it happened, wink wink” is not a very strong argument?

              2. How? Both of McCain’s parents were citizens. That’s the ultimate trump card. You don’t even need any certain years of residency.

                Cruz was born in Canada to a citizen mother and a non-resident father, but because mom had lived in America for 5 years past her 16th birthday, he was born a citizen.

                Obama’s mom was 18 when he was born, and so wouldn’t qualify unless he was born in the states (the residency requirement has since been reduced)

                1. To clear up your mistake here, if someone is born anywhere except US soil, citizenship is statutory, not constitutional. The relevant statutes change from time to time. You seem to recognize both these facts, but miss how they apply to McCain.

                  While McCain’s parents were both US citizens, he was born in the Panama canal zone, and was not, per the then applicable statute, born a citizen. A bit less than a year after his birth, the statute was changed to cover children born under McCain’s circumstances, and purported to retroactively grant people in McCain’s situation natural born citizenship.

                  But natural born citizenship isn’t the sort of thing you can confer retroactively, it means to have been a citizen at birth. McCain will always not have been a citizen at birth, because laws can not change the past. McCain was a naturalized citizen.

                  The problem was pointed out at the time, but rapidly became moot due to McCain halting his campaign and then losing.

              3. Had McCain been ruled ineligible then an amendment would have been passed the rectify the situation…it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

              4. Brett’s latest blunder is to claim McCain was not a natural born citizen. An even more blatant type of Birther,

                Our military bases and embassies are US soil Which is why they are governed ONLY by US laws and constitution, not those of the host country.

                BUT his parents must also be citizens,as they were.

                But I’m glad you believe Ted Cruz is not a natural-born citizen!

            2. Your shtick is consistently boring.

          2. The evidence that Trump tasked Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to make it falsely appear that Biden was the target of a criminal investigation is:

            The July 25th phone call between Trump and Zelesnky.

            Mulvaney’s October 17 press conference.

            Giuliani’s September 19 interview with Chris Cuomo.

            Sondland’s testimony on the July 10th meeting between White House and Ukranian officials in Bolton’s office.

            And, the following statements from Schiff’s report:

            “Ambassador Sondland had relayed a message to President Zelensky six days earlier that “assurances to run a fully transparent investigation” and “turn over every stone” were necessary in his call with President Trump”

            “On May 9, the New York Times published an article in which Mr. Giuliani declared that he intended to travel to Ukraine on behalf of his client, President Trump, in order to meddle in an investigation. After public backlash, Mr. Giuliani canceled the trip, blaming “some bad people” around President Zelensky.”

            “In order to schedule a White House visit for President Zelensky, President Trump told the delegation that they would have to “talk to Rudy.”

            “Mr. Giuliani made clear to Ambassadors Sondland and Volker, who were directly communicating with the Ukrainians, that a White House meeting would not occur until Ukraine announced its pursuit of the two political investigations.”

            “Ambassador Sondland and President Trump spoke only about the investigation in their discussion about Ukraine. The President made no mention of other major issues of importance in Ukraine, including President Zelensky’s aggressive anti-corruption reforms and the ongoing war it was fighting against Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine.”

            “Ambassador Sondland understood that President Trump did not require that Ukraine conduct investigations as a prerequisite for the White House meeting so much as publicly announce the investigations—making clear that the goal was not the investigations, but the political benefit Trump would derive from their announcement and the cloud they might put over a political opponent.”

            “On August 2, President Zelensky’s advisor, Mr. Yermak, traveled to Madrid to meet Mr. Giuliani in person. There, they agreed that Ukraine would issue a public statement, and they discussed potential dates for a White House meeting.”

            “On August 12, Mr. Yermak sent the proposed statement to Ambassador Volker, but it lacked specific references to the two investigations politically beneficial to President Trump’s reelection campaign. The following morning, Ambassadors Sondland and Volker spoke with Mr. Giuliani, who made clear that if the statement “doesn’t say Burisma and 2016, it’s not credible.”

            “Following this meeting, Ambassador Sondland pulled aside President Zelensky’s advisor, Mr. Yermak, to explain that the hold on security assistance was conditioned on the public announcement of the Burisma/Biden and the 2016 election interference investigations.”

            1. The Schiff report? Seriously? The walking disgrace who read the entire “pee” dossier into the congressional record? This is the guy whose report you’re relying on?

              1. Do you have a substantive rebuttal to the claims in the report?

                1. Well, you can start with the fact that Schiff has repeatedly lied about the impeachment claims, including making up a transcript and reading into the Congressional Record as “facts”. Actual testimony and statements directly contradict Schiff’s work of fiction.

                  But if that’s not enough, I can point out that Schiff is misquoting Sondland, and that Sondland’s actual testimony was this:
                  Turner: “No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations. Yes or no?”
                  Sondland: “Yes.”
                  Turner: “So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.”
                  Sondland: “Other than my own presumption.”

                  1. Schiff did not misquote Sondland and does not claim that Sondland has direct evidence that ties Trump to the scheme. What I presented above was:

                    1) one piece of direct evidence that ties Trump to the scheme (the July 25th Trump-Zelensky call),

                    2) three pieces of direct evidence that establish the scheme (Mulvaney press conference, Giuliani interview, July 10th Bolton meeting), and

                    3) a mountain of circumstantial evidence that ties Trump to the scheme.

                    1. Unreal. That lying disgrace has manipulated and perverted the process since he and his staff coordinated with the “whistleblower”/leaker to create this farce in the first place and now the report, the fruit of this orchestrated kangaroo court should be afforded serious consideration? What use is it? It’s not soft and thoroughly absorbent so that would limit its uses to kindling.

                    2. @MKE:

                      You have constructed a classic ad hominem argument.

                    3. And What scheme? There was nothing wrong with that phone call. Nothing in that call referred to the 2020 election. Does your “mountain of circumstantial” evidence include biased opinions from a “whistleblower”/leaker, an NSC slug, state department bureaucratic sloths, and a disgruntled fired official? Powerful.

                    4. I’m making an ad hominem argument Josh R? That’s funny. The democrats and the obnoxious “resistance” have been doing nothing but make ad hominem attacks for 3 bloody years. The entire Russia collusion hoax and its sequel Ukraine hoax are ad hominem arguments writ large.

                    5. Oh dear. MKE doesn’t know what ad hominem means and he’s trying to use it in an argument.

                    6. An ad hominem attack would be dismissing the arguments of a failed physics major because he failed physics instead of just pointing out his arguments are generally based on dishonest rhetoric.

                      The fact is the only way one can conclude Trump dod something wrong on Ukraine is if someone believes supposition over direct actions, ignores parallel delays such as to lebanon, and removes all exculpatory information.

                      Basically you have to assume Trump was already guilty and leverage all circumstantial evidence as the only evidence.

                      You also have to assume it is illegal to investigate a politician for corruption of they decide to run for office (unless that person is Trump then it is just fine and dandy).

                      Basically you have to be a dishonest hack to be so assured Trump is wrong here. Sarcastro just happens to be a shining example.

                    7. I don’t know what you should politely call restating Sondland’s testimony in your own words, while hiding the most important parts of it, except “misqouting”. Maybe “lying”? Yeah, for Schiff, a liar that has repeatedly been caught making 100% false statements about Trump’s phone calls and actions, “lying” may be good enough. Thanks for the correction!

                      You did not list a single piece of direct evidence, anywhere. In fact, the only piece of direct evidence is against Schiff’s claims:
                      Sondland testified that Trump explicitly told him that Trump did not want any agreement.

                    8. The important thing is to keep it weirdly personal, Jesse.

                      You never have a problem with ad hominem, since you always go straight to empty abuse.

                      Your talking points have been dealt with elsewhere in this thread. And all the previous threads.

                    9. Toranth – calling Schiff a liar only shows you never actually watched or even read the statement he made that the GOP has pounced on.

                      And the Sondoland testimony that Trump called him after he knew he was caught and went on a weird thing about how he didn’t want anything doesn’t cut the way you think it does.

                    10. You did not list a single piece of direct evidence, anywhere.

                      The July 25th call is obviously direct evidence. Mulvaney’s press conference and Sondland’s testimony on the July 10th Bolton meeting are direct evidence of a quid pro quo. Giuliani’s interview is direct evidence that he asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

                      When I said Schiff did not misquote Sondland, I was referring to what was contained in the report, part of which I quoted above. Those pieces of circumstantial evidence are not misquotes.

                    11. Wit is wasted on fools Sarcastr0. I was pointing out (facetiously) that at their core the current attacks against the President are nothing more than baseless extensions of the same insulting ad hominem garbage that his political opponents have used since the Russian hoax. He’s “colluded” with a foreign policy. He’s a traitor. He’s a dictator who will continue to abuse the process. And as an aside you sarcastic imbecile, the phrase is “argumentum ad hominem” and refers to a fallacious ARGUMENT. Bias and Ignorance. A bad combination.

                    12. Josh R. there was nothing wrong with the phone call. If there were Schiff wouldn’t have had to create a different, perverted version to justify this disgraceful farce.

                    13. Haha – MKE, you think Schiff’s joke on the floor of the Senate was to create a different factual predicate from the phone call whose transcript was right there?

                    14. Wrong on multiple counts you ill-informed clod. He’s not a senator. He didn’t speak on the floor of the senate. And he wasn’t joking. He opened his joke of a hearing with his gross distortion.

                    15. And What scheme? There was nothing wrong with that phone call. Nothing in that call referred to the 2020 election.

                      Unless you’re smart enough to understand that Biden is a participant in the 2020 election.

                      Does your “mountain of circumstantial” evidence include biased opinions from a “whistleblower”/leaker, an NSC slug, state department bureaucratic sloths, and a disgruntled fired official? Powerful.

                      Indeed it is. You understand that in courtrooms every day, people are convicted — sometimes sent to death row — based on the testimony of murderers, drug dealers, gang members, etc., many of whom are testifying in exchange for special favors from the government, right? Whereas these were all excellent witnesses testifying without any personal benefit (some of whom risking their jobs in fact), some of whom were appointed by Trump himself, and testifying to heavily corroborated facts.

                    16. We’re not talking about 2020 David, we’re talking about 2016. Biased opinion evidence isn’t factual testimony. And the democrat crafted sham has not been “heavily corroborated” anymore than the democrat paid for “pee” dossier.

                    17. Biased opinion evidence isn’t factual testimony.

                      Yes, yes it is. There’s a whole rule of evidence about that, actually.

                      How far do you generally get in life confidently asserting things you know nothing about?

                      You continue to assert nothing is supported, even as you own goalposts keep getting surpassed over and over again. Do you read all the way through the comments that reply to you?

                    18. Sarcastr0, you appear to be really confused today. Opinion testimony (lay or expert) aids in determination of a fact at issue they aren’t facts themselves. Offer your biased comments if you want, they’re sometimes amusing. But stop trying to play lawyer.

                    19. No, MKE.
                      Where are you getting your assertions? Have you gone to law school? Because I’ve seen that you can make an entire case to a jury based on circumstantial evidence and opinion. Patent litigation is largely that.

                    20. Not sure what you can’t understand Sarcastr0. Don’t think I can make it any plainer. Opinions aren’t facts no matter how much you whine about it or insult me (and not really clever insults, come on are you even trying?) Opinions can be admissible to aid in interpreting the facts. And opinions by disgruntled government bureaucrats complaining that the president had the effrontery not pursue their preferred policies is not helpful in interpreting anything except that our government employs an excess of pompous opinionated bureaucrats.

                    21. By your current definition, the transcript is a fact that opinions may aid in interpreting.

                      So are overheard conversations.

                    22. Sarcastro, Sondland testified that Trump never told him there was a link between funding and anything else. He testified that it was all in his head.

                      Your wild fantasy about Trump having “been caught” and somehow going back in time to not tell Sondland about any linkage is just weird.

                  2. Well, you can start with the fact that Schiff has repeatedly lied about the impeachment claims, including making up a transcript and reading into the Congressional Record as “facts”. Actual testimony and statements directly contradict Schiff’s work of fiction.

                    All of that is false.

                    1) Schiff did not “read it into the C.R. as ‘facts.'” This is what Schiff actually said, in introducing his description of the ‘transcript’:

                    “Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates.”

                    (Emphasis added.)

                    After he described the transcript, he then said:

                    “This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine.”

                    (Emphasis again added.)

                    In short, Schiff made clear that he was not claiming Trump used those exact words. Moreover, the testimony — all of it — supports Schiff’s description.

                    1. In short, David, Schiff opened his joke of hearing with this shameful distortion of the facts. Speaks well to the character of this sham of a hearing that he began an inquiry already knowing the “sum and character” of what the president was allegedly trying to communicate. That’s fair.

                    2. In short, David, Schiff opened his joke of hearing with this shameful distortion of the facts.

                      I like how you say something, I provide the proof that your claim was wrong, and then you repeat it again. He didn’t distort anything. That’s what Trump said, though not in those words.

                      See, if you were a serious person, you would say, “Oops, I didn’t realize that Schiff didn’t claim those were Trump’s words. My bad. I still disagree with Schiff’s interpretation of the call, though.”

                      But you’re not a serious person. You’re a cult member.

                    3. A serious person, David, wouldn’t defend a sham of a proceeding run by a chairman who assumes as true that which he seeks to prove. Are you an anti-trump cult member?

                    4. MKE, you just repeated yourself again. Followed by threatening to go ad hominem, lol.

                      Address DMN’s point, or get off the stage; your empty footstomping is embarrassing yourself.

                    5. Not sure what you mean but you sure seem to be unable to defend this perversion of constitutional process. I suspect that’s because there is no Vox or Slate article you can parrot in response.

                    6. Again, a complete failure to address the substance of DMN’s comment.

                    7. DN, Schiff made up an “interpretation” of the President’s call that did not actually match the real call. It was so bad, even he felt it necessary to backpedal and “correct” his statements.

                      Moreover, the testimony – all of it – does not support Schiff’s statements, as anyone who actually read or listened to it knows. There is NO direct evidence of the desire for a deal, just the presumption of people like Sondland. People who freely admit they did not hear or witness a single piece of direct evidence.

            2. Except for that little word “Falsely”. Around that word you have built your entire argument. However, that does not mean what you think it means.

              Simply, if Trump had probable cause to start an investigation, then it cannot be called a false investigations. Any personal motives are irrelevant as long as there is an official justification. I don’t see any rational argument that there wasn’t probable cause.

              The actions, where he bypassed the DOJ to push for a foreign government to do it are questionable, but that seems to be a preference, not a crime. That would be a ballot box decision.

              1. What is always missed in this is that Trump literally asked the Ukraine to call Barr to work with him on the issue. Trump never asked Ukraine to bypass the DoJ.

                1. Oh good lord, Jesse. What do you think that entire phone call was? And all that State Department action pressuring the Ukraine on multiple fronts?

                  That wasn’t including the DoJ. Why do you think that was?

                2. The DoJ disavows any involvement with Ukraine.

                3. What is always missed in this is that Trump literally asked the Ukraine to call Barr to work with him on the issue. Trump never asked Ukraine to bypass the DoJ.

                  In fact, that’s false. Trump literally said that he would have Barr call them. But he didn’t (according to Barr himself). Instead, he worked through his private lawyer, Rudy, because he knew that Barr wasn’t going to be willing to open an investigation based on nothing.

              2. It wasn’t an investigation it was an announcement. And if Trump had probable cause, maybe he should say that now.
                And even then, probably cause should have resulted in a referral to the DoJ. Could even have done it publicly.

                I do like the burden shifting to ‘I don’t see any argument that there wasn’t probably cause.’ That’s very much not how that works.

                Preference, not crime. Unless it’s evidence of his motives. Which matter, since in this case it would seem to be an action using public power for personal benefit.

              3. It is objectively false that Joe Biden was or is the target of a criminal investigation.

                1. FAR easier to impeach Trump for LYING about who launched the murder and mass assaults in Charlottesville … to defend his Nazi and White Nationalist supporters, a disgrace to his office. And, here,the video proof is absolute and undeniable … not subject to all the tribal nit-picks in this lengthy thread.

                  1. “FAR easier to impeach Trump for LYING about who launched the murder and mass assaults in Charlottesville”

                    Please stop.
                    Your spittle-flecked, dementia addled ravings are embarrassing. No one takes you, your rants or your tinfoil hat seriously.

                    1. BEND OVER PSYCHO …. UNDENIABLE PROOF …
                      JAMMED UP YOUR PATHETIC ASS (SNEER)

                      PROOF Charlottesville! ???? ????

                      PART ONE, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF:: at press conference, Trump lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, defending Nazis and Racists. Arrogantly bullies and shouts down media

                      PART TWO, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF: Trump PROVEN a psycho liar. Mass assaults and murder initiated by Trump’s nazi and racist supporters.

                      PART THREE, THE SMOKING GUN: Four white supremacists found guilty and imprisoned for initiating Charlottesville mass assaults and murder
                      .

                      TRUMP DISGRACES HIMSELF, AND THE PRESIDENCY … shameful lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, charged with clubs, wearing black helmets 7:25 — 11:00 — 13.15

                      “What about the alt left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt right? Do they have any assemblage of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

                      NEXT: PROOF Trump is a lying sack of shit … and Entropy Void his witless puppet, dancing on a string..

                    2. PART TWO: MORE UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF

                      Initial assault. (Private video found on an alternate news twitter feed)

                      TRUMP: Alt-left charged to initiate mass violence.
                      PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters charged to initiate mass violence

                      TRUMP: Alt-left wearing “black” helmets.
                      PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters wearing NAZI helmets … Helmets that Trump SAW! OMFG!!

                      .
                      TRUMP: Alt-LEFT swinging clubs
                      PROOF: Alt-RIGHT swinging clubs. Alt-Left, arms locked, hands empty.
                      PROOF: Alt-right carrying police-style riot shields. Trumpster’s CAME for violence.

                      TRUMP: I watched it all on televisions … So did you!
                      PROOF: A clinically PSYCHOPATHIC LIAR

                      SHAME ON EVERYONE who LIES about the truth, to defend a morally debased President, over country and honor.
                      I’m looking at you John, and Brett, and Sevo, and Red Rocks, Last of the Shitlords, NOBY2, loveconstitution1789, Entropy Vpid … and your entire pack of wild dogs

                      NEXT: The Smoking Gun. (smirk)

                    3. PART THREE: KAPOW!!

                      BY TRUMP’S OWN DOJ … “4 white nationalists, described as ‘serial rioters’ found guilty and imprisoned, for violent Charlottesville rally”

                      Three members of a white supremacist group were sentenced to prison Friday for kicking, choking and punching multiple people during the 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville and other rallies in California. The three were members of the California-based militant white supremacist organization “Rise Above Movement.”

                      A fourth defendant, Cole Evan White, will be sentenced at a later date, the attorney’s office said.

                      “These defendants, motivated by hateful ideology, incited and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, as well at other purported political rallies in California,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said.

                      “They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies.”

                      This has been converted to a Press Release, with a single merged and edited video … to be sent to all major media outlets, with all evidence … and to the House impeachment committees … when the timing seems best.

                      Now with proof, go back to the press conference video … his arrogance … his bullying … his attitude. TRUMP IS GOING DOWN … HARD.

                      MY TURN,ENTROPY
                      Who do YOU stand with?
                      a) Trump, Nazis and Racists?
                      b) Or Truth, Justice and the Americans way?

                      Entropy ASKED for this,
                      “Mess with the bull; get the horns.”

                      Anything else?

      3. To which the appropriate response is that there is no charge that would convince people like you.

      4. Given that the overwhelming number of Republicans have morphed into supporting him if he shoots someone on Fifth Avenue, there is no charge that will persuade them.

        1. Not true. If he was shown to have shot an innocent on 5th Avenue, I’d support his impeachment. If he was shown to have shot a DNC operative on 5th Avenue, I’d argue that he is faithfully executing his Constitutional duties, which includes defending America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

        2. What an ignorant statement used to justify your weak argumentative case.

    2. they decided to impeach and then searched for a way to justify the decision.

      Which is why they took 2 years when emoluments was just sitting right there from the break.
      A bunch of the country is convinced; don’t pretend this is only the Democratic politicians.

      1. Democratic politicians, obsessed anti-Trumpers, the thinning ranks of CNN watchers, plus the people who do what they’re told, believe what they’re told, vote they way they’re instructed to vote.

        And Justin Amash. Congrats on convincing one guy at least.

        1. Let’s have a full-blown partisan rumble.

          My first draft pick: The side that benefits from the electorate’s improvement — more diverse, more reasoning, more urban and suburban, more tolerant, more modern.

          My second draft pick (after the other side takes the opposition demographic position): The side that prefers reason, inclusivity, science, education, modernity, liberty, and progress.

          My third pick (after the other side takes superstition, bigotry, ignorance, backwardness, silly dogma, and pining for illusory good old days): The side with the strongest schools, including the top-ranked colleges, the research universities, the leading public universities.

          My fourth pick (after the other side takes hundreds of fourth-tier, backwater religious schools and — with a mercy pick — homeschooling by substandard parents): The side with the modern, educated, successful communities.

          My fifth pick (after the other side takes the can’t-keep-up southern and rural backwaters): The side with the mainstream newsrooms and journalists, essentially all comedians, most musicians, the producers and directors, the actors.

          My sixth pick (after the other side takes Fox News, Breitbart, John Solomon, Sean Hannity, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Gaffigan, Dinesh D’Souza, current country music, the Left Behind film series, Clint Eastwood, AM radio, and the Volokh Conspiracy): The side that has shaped American progress throughout my lifetime.

          On the seventh day: (after the other side takes the side that has seen American progress develop against its wishes and efforts): I shall rest.

          The other side, however, will spend the seventh day working furiously to develop a machine that mass-produces poorly educated, resentful, unskilled, superstitious, stale-thinking, rural, southern, easily frightened, downscale, broadly intolerant, older white males — while Republican lawyers attempt to devise a method that could register such newly minted goobers to vote.

          See you guys at the culture war.

          1. F*** off, slaver.

          2. Boring. I can’t believe you still post this stuff.

          3. 1) BRILLIANT!
            2) PISSED OFF THE GOMERS!!! 🙂

            1. 1) BRILLIANT!
              2) SHOWED OFF HOW SHINEY YOUR TINFOIL HAT IS!!! ????

              1. (yawn) My stalker was PROVEN a psycho here. With three documented sources …. THREE!!!

                https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8053302

                TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE SELF-HUMILIATION BY ENTROPY..
                AS HE STALKS ME DOWN THE PAGE … MULTIPLE UNPROVOKED ASSAULTS

                JUST L;IKE HERE … ENTERS A THREAD … FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF AGGRESSION …. A THUG …. AND A PROVEN LOSERTARIAN

                When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.
                -Socrates

                …And losertarians

                (The thug is stalking me now, as punishment for me humiliating him earlier. He’s been TOTALLY humiliated on this page … FIVE TIMES!

                I guess the pathetic wimp may be punishing me forever.
                And being humiliated forever. The pathology of a cyber-bully,

          4. “See you guys at the culture war.”

            Not a problem, Rev.
            We will be the ones with the guns.

            Have a nice day.

            1. BREAKING NEWS: Christo-Fascist, BRAGS that they will use guns, if needed, to impose their theocracy on everyone.

              “FUCK SEPARATION”, they scream, “America NEEDS a new HOLY INQUISITION!”

              As if he had not ALREADY made a public ass of himself, FIVE times on this page!
              NOW SIX!!!

              https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8053302

              (He needs another 5-6 years at the kid’s table, before engaging adults)

      2. “Which is why they took 2 years”

        The GOP was in the majority.

        1. Fine then, months after the 2018 election. Such time wasters!

          1. There is a reason that we call it the “speed of government”

      3. Lol. Anyone who thinks a never used statute that is defied by foreign sales of goods from prior presidents (obama sold books to foreign embassies ad an example) is a legitimate case and crime for impeachment is a fucking idiot. Sarcastro is literally calling for lawfare for the sake of politics.

        1. It’s not a statute, chief. It’s a clause of the Constitution. And Trump flaunted it the moment he was in office in an unprecedented way for the modern era.
          Keeping a hand in your business, (and steering federal events to it) is not like writing a book.

          1. “modern era”

            That is just a way to get around all the farmers who were president.

            Either the language barred Washington or it doesn’t bar Trump. The “era” is a meaningless distinction.

            1. You mean like Carter, who sold his peanut farm?

              Using the Founders as precedent means the Alien and Sedition Acts are constitutional.

          2. *flouted. Though he flaunted his flouting of it.

          3. 1) I think you mean “flouted”.

            2) And, no, not unless you think half the Presidents in history were publicly flouting the emoluments clause and nobody noticed until now.

            It just doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. Ordinary commercial transactions simply aren’t “emoluments”, never have been, and the only reason anybody pretends they are is because they’re grasping at straws to justify calling Trump a criminal.

            1. Ordinary commercial transactions simply aren’t “emoluments”,

              Prof. Blackman notwithstanding, that’s not at all clear. Still, I think that could be true. The problem is that because of the nature of Trump’s business, it’s not at all clear that these are ordinary commercial transactions.

              (I think even you agree that, if, e.g., a foreign government booked scores of hotel rooms it had no intention of using solely to ingratiate itself with Trump, that would not be legitimate.)

  4. According to the author of the recent book “The Anarchy,” the charges against William Hastings were as thin as today’s against Trump. His chief accuser, Philip Francis, was the Adam Schiff of his time.

  5. I think we are all comfortable with the fact that Congress can impeach the President for anything they want. I don’t think anyone is arguing they don’t have that constitutional power. The question is whether they should. And that is a question that will be decided in the court of public opinion.

    1. “It’s political, so we can do anything we want!”

      Voters: “You understand that means judgement by us, right?”

      “Oh.”

  6. The whole impeachment kabuki theater is an absolute sham.
    Just got done with hearing the left drone on about how impeach “is a political process!!!!” “Trump doesn’t have to have committed any crimes!!!” “The House can tell us what is a high crime!!!” “Due process doesn’t apply in a political process!!!”

    Now the political process comes to roost in the Senate and, big news, (not really), McConnell is going to continue the political process. But now the left screams “it is supposed to be a fair and impartial trial!!!” “McConnell is a JUROR he can’t interface with the White House” “Waahhh…we are big cry babies who don’t understand hypocrisy and irony…”

    No where is the Constitution does it say the Senate has to hold a fair and impartial trial. It just says hold a trial. Maybe if you didn’t want a political result you shouldn’t have started the political process, ever think of that stupid leftists?

    1. “Form of oath to be administered to the Members of the Senate and the Presiding Officer sitting in the trial of impeachments.

      “I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things
      appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of ______ , now
      pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and
      laws: So help me God.”

      https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-RIDDICK-1992/pdf/GPO-RIDDICK-1992-69.pdf

      1. I would think that impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws would benefit the President, since how will the House prove to a moral certitude that Ukraine is vital to U. S. security (which Trump is accused of imperiling)? And with Trump’s record of submitting to the Art. III judges when they overrule him, how can he be convicted for in effect letting the courts decide if he has to turn over info to the House?

        1. When did compliance with subpoenas become optional?

          1. I don’t believe in Executive Privilege any more than I believe in Santa Claus, in fact I think it’s a Constitutional Myth –

            https://amzn.to/35nIAUG

            …but what you and I think doesn’t matter, Presidents have been using Executive privilege claims at least since Eisenhower defied McCarthy’s subcommittee. Ideally, Eisenhower should have been impeached then and there because McCarthy’s subpoenas weren’t optional, but instead, other Presidents took it up and they’ve made clear that they’ll keep going until the Art. III courts restrain them.

            Since the matter is unsettled, then as with the impeachment of Andy Johnson, I say give the President the benefit of the doubt if he asserts executive power claims, so long as he’s amenable to judicial review.

          2. It has been all along with Congressional subpoenas; Sometimes the courts uphold them, sometimes not.

          3. Has there been any modern President who did not defy at least one congressional subpoena?

          4. Presidents have been using executive privilege claims at least since Eisenhower

            Trump did not merely assert executive privilege. He asserted complete and absolute immunity.

            Moreover, his position was not “let the courts decide,” but “courts have no power to hear the issue.” (To be sure, he never outright said that he’d defy the courts — indeed, he did litigate that argument rather than just asserting it. But his legal argument was “We don’t have to comply and this isn’t justiciable.”)

            1. The question is whether he’d disobey an order from an Art. III court, not whether he’d file pleadings in the court asking them not to get involved.

              1. …and Eisenhower, as a reminded, completely refused to provide certain information on the operations of the government…to a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations.

            2. “But his legal argument was “We don’t have to comply and this isn’t justiciable.”)”

              So is it an impeachable offense to make that argument?

              1. anorlunda, first, he did not just make the argument. He did not comply. Second, it is impeachable to do it during an impeachment investigation. You know how you can be sure? Because Trump is being impeached for it, by the authority granted sole power under the Constitution to make that determination. Try to understand this. Because the Constitution says so, there is no other authority to say otherwise. That means the question, at least for Trump, during this investigation, is settled.

                1. “Second, it is impeachable to do it during an impeachment investigation.”

                  But that’s just to say “everything is impeachable if the House wants to impeach for it.”

                  Which, yes, if the House decides to impeach, nobody can say they can’t, but if fails to articulate a principle where anybody outside the House should CARE if the House impeaches.

            3. Are you really this ignorant? The president has sought and been granted review in the supreme court over the issue of investigators access to records. At the very least, a he has presented a viable legal basis to resist frivolous information requests.

              1. You are mistaken. Donald Trump, in his personal capacity, has sought and been granted review of subpoenas for his personal financial records. But the issues at stake in impeachment are about government records.

                1. The court is reviewing the constitutionality of subpoenas issued by congressional oversight committees. That is extremely relevant to the matter at hand David.

                  1. It’s not. There’s no question that congressional subpoenas in general are constitutional. The issue for the Court is whether subpoenas for Trump’s personal tax returns (and other financial records) are authorized by Congress’s legislative powers. (The Court is also reviewing whether state grand jury subpoenas for such records are enforceable.)

                    These are congressional subpoenas for the testimony of executive branch officials as part of an impeachment inquiry. That’s not on the Supreme Court’s agenda.

                    1. The executive’s power/entitlement to resist subpoenas will be at issue.

                    2. State authority to bind the executive is not the same as a co-equal branch’s authority.

                    3. Congressional subpoenas are also at issue Sarcastr0. Haven’t you been wrong enough today? Call it a night already.

                    4. Bah. OK.

                      But what about what DMN noted? Your point about all Congressional subpoenas being the same would seem to need some report given the distinction he made.

                    5. DMN can make his own points. My point is that if the President is seeking review and has a viable basis to do so then he’s not obstructing anything. He is the head of one separate and independent branch of government exercising his constitutional prerogatives.

                    6. Congressional subpoenas for the testimony of executive branch officials as part of an impeachment inquiry != subpoenas for Trump’s personal tax returns for oversight purposes.

                      You just keep saying ‘all subpoenas are the same’ over and over again. It’s almost like you’ve got nothing.

              1. Blanket immunity is not the same thing as a single official, chief.

                Your constant pointing at Obama just highlights the contrast with Trump.

        2. I’ve got to ask: What is impartial justice “according to the Constitution and laws”?

          Also, those are just Senate rules – and those can be changed at any time. They could easily change the oath to “I swear will vote to acquit because these charges are BS” or “I swear to cluck like a chicken before every question I ask a witness”.

          1. The Constitution requires the Senators to be “on oath or affirmation” when trying impeachments, but to be sure doesn’t specify the content of the oath or affirmation. But judge for yourself whether the original public meaning would be consistent with an oath or affirmation to cluck like a chicken, etc.

          2. Then let him change the rule to eliminate that oath. See how that plays.

            1. I don’t see you complaining about the Dem senators who have prejudged it. Its a political proceeding, the oath means what a majority of the Senate says it does.

              1. It is a political proceedings, and as such political niceties matter. Flaunting such things shows a lot about what Trump has made of the party – to ignore oaths and norms for no reason other than to demonstrate loyalty.

                the oath means what a majority of the Senate says it does Your fair-weather formalism is getting ridiculous – do you say that about High Crimes ad Misdemeanors? The English language still means things, Bob.

    2. They picked the Senate to decide impeachments so no political considerations would come into play.

      But seriously even the modern idea that jurors should come into a trial as a blank slate is very ahistorical, during almost all the centuries we’ve been having jury trials it would be impossible to find a jury that wasn’t aquatinted with the facts of the case and didn’t have some opinion of guilt or innocence before the trial. As long as the jurors are open to considering new evidence then that’s impartial enough.

      I might also add that Senate rules allow for a Senator to be a witness in the trial and still vote, so I think right there you can be sure a Senator won’t be impartial about his own testimony. Although I’m sure if Ron Johnson testifies there will be plenty of calls for him to recuse himself, which he should ignore.

      1. They picked the Senate to decide impeachments so no political considerations would come into play.

        I’m the only one who got your joke.

        1. Not a joke if you understand history at even a 4th grade level. Senators used to not have direct elections.

          1. They were still elected. None of the Framers had any illusions about the quality of state legislatures. Most have them had served in a legislature and knew the political nature of them.

            If the Framers had wanted a neutral body, they would have put trial in the hands of the judicuary.

            1. Yep. That’s the key to understanding impeachment. The framers knew what assiging it to politicians meant.

    3. Jimmy, you use, “political process,” in its modern, trivialized sense, to refer to partisan electoral politics—with an extra emphasis on opportunistic advantage. “Political process,” as used by the framers referred in a larger sense to all the procedures, norms, and customs by which people, as subjects under the Constitution, and the People, as joint sovereign, managed self-government. In that second interpretation, there is no room at all for your accusations of, “hypocrisy,” or your celebrations of, “irony.” Those are repugnant to any notion of political process which can support self-government. Your take on “political process,” serves only to tear down the notion of self-government, and impede its practice. Trump and his supporters have been doing a lot of both. That is a large part of why he is being impeached.

      1. That’s bullshit, Stephen. The framers knew that the government, not the people, were really sovereign, but used democratic slogans to sell the Constitution to the rubes. And they knew that politicians would be sleazy.

        The framers would have had to be stupid not to know these things.

        1. PSYCHO ALERT!!

          THE FOUNDERS WERE CON MEN … SAYS THE “GENIUS” (LOL)

    4. “No where is the Constitution does it say the Senate has to hold a fair and impartial trial.”

      Watching you wail when your betters enlarge the Supreme Court is going to be great fun.

      1. No one will be wailing. They’ll be exercising 2nd Amendment remedies.

        1. Then they’ll die in vain, White Supremacist

  7. I would prefer to focus on whether the actual charges in the Articles of Impeachment are substantive:

    Specifically:

    “Obstruction of Congress” seems a wholly new malleable concept that will fit any dispute between Congress and any President, especially when the specific issues have not been fully adjudicated.

    “Abuse of Power” as far as I can tell for the most part is based on delaying the Head of State of a Foreign Power a meeting in the Oval Office with the President.

    Does this mean any President must agree to an Oval Office meeting with any Head of State who desires it at the convenience of the other Head of State?

    The other portion of this charge is the demand that the Foreign power investigate the relative of a former high official receiving substantial compensation from a generally recognized as corrupt Foreign Company. Does that mean unqualified relatives of former or current official receiving dubious compensation from a generally recognized corrupt entity are immune from investigation?

    Imagine if the name was Hunter Trump of Hunter Bush?

    It has been my observation that corrupt individuals often attempt to involve the relatives of powerful officials to influence their actions. It is also my observation that Powerful Corrupt Officials often work through their family members, as those are the people they most trust. I refer you to the Dollar Bill Jefferson Crime Family of some years ago.
    I personally think Hunter Biden was and is amazingly stupid. Joe was amazingly naive or willfully blind not to recognize what was actually going on. I don’t think Joe Biden did anything personally, but the whole situation stinks.

    The starting assumption that Trump had “corrupt ” motives is more a hypothesis than a proven fact.

    In the “Muslim Ban” cases some courts came to the remarkable conclusion, that Trumps action would have been legal “but for” his corrupt intent.

    Might not the same be said of at least some Democrats who have been clamoring for Impeachment since before the inauguration?

    1. The abuse of power charge is that Trump tasked Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to make it falsely appear that Joe Biden was the target of a criminal investigation in order to influence the 2020 election.

      1. When or why would JOE Biden have been under investigation by the Ukraine?
        The claim was originally that Trump was demanding that the Ukrainian government investigate Burisma so it could associate Hunter Biden with the corrupt company, which would embarrass Joe Biden, which would be “election interference”.

        Where did anyone say that Joe Biden should be investigated by the Ukraine, and for what?

        1. Does this mean any President must agree to an Oval Office meeting with any Head of State who desires it at the convenience of the other Head of State?

          No. It means he may not condition such a meeting on the foreign government providing him assistance in his reelection campaign.

          Does that mean unqualified relatives of former or current official receiving dubious compensation from a generally recognized corrupt entity are immune from investigation?

          No. It means that, first, there has to be some indication of actual wrongdoing. Second, it means that the appropriate institution for conducting such an investigation of an American citizen is the FBI. Third, it means that the point should be to uncover wrongdoing, not get an announcement of an investigation.

          1. He never conditioned anything on a foreign government providing assistance in reelection. This is the perverted interpretation placed on the facts by the “whistleblower”/leaker and Schiff (and does anyone doubt they coordinated their efforts?).

            No indication of actual wrongdoing? Why do you think Hunter was placed on the board of the corrupt foreign company for a million a year? Maybe the corrupt foreign company was looking for some insurance against investigations. And they got what they paid for.
            And who knows what corruption will be unearthed by Barr/Durham?

            Interesting though, the more significant thing is that impeachments should never proceed without some indication of actual wrongdoing, which is why this farce is so dangerous and damaging to our institutions.

          2. “Does this mean any President must agree to an Oval Office meeting with any Head of State who desires it at the convenience of the other Head of State?

            No. It means he may not condition such a meeting on the foreign government providing him assistance in his reelection campaign.”

            So your position is that if he had done as you allege but was in his second term and therefore ineligible for re-election, you would be hunky-dory with it?

            “It means that, first, there has to be some indication of actual wrongdoing.”
            Would that the Donks could use that same standard in this joke of an impeachment process …

            “Second, it means that the appropriate institution for conducting such an investigation of an American citizen is the FBI.”
            Wasn’t aware of the FBI’s jurisdiction in Kyiv or their esteemed familiarity with Ukranian law …

            1. -+So your position is that if he had done as you allege but was in his second term and therefore ineligible for re-election, you would be hunky-dory with it?

              (LOL) HE SHOULD STILL BE IMPEACHED

        2. An announcement that Burisma was under investigation would at the very least place a cloud of criminal suspicion over Joe Biden.

          Or, in Trump’s own words, “There’s a lot talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution.”

          1. That sentence, and paragraph, doesn’t actually stop where you put the period. Let’s have what Trump actually said, ok?
            Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.
            (Emphasis mine, of course)

            So we have Trump asking Zelensky to look into the firing of Shokin. Joe Biden, of course, didn’t fire Shokin – he couldn’t have. So exactly what is Trump supposed to be asking Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for? What crime in the Ukraine is Joe Biden supposed to have committed?

            1. Trump wanted the investigation announcement to make it appear that Joe Biden was under suspicion for illegally preventing Hunter Biden from being prosecuted and illegally getting Shokin fired.

              1. Sounds like Mr. Biden has a lot to explain. Wonder if transcripts of his calls to the Ukrainian president will ever be released?

              2. But that would NOT be a Ukrainian crime. It might have been a crime in the US, but not in the Ukraine. There’s nothing about Joe Biden that the Ukraine could have been investigating, or that he could have been “under suspicion for”.

                Trump controls the US Department of Justice – the agency that would have been investigating Biden if his actions with the aid had been criminal. So why would Trump go to the Ukraine, which couldn’t do anything, to ask for an investigation, rather than to AG Barr, who could have initiated an investigation into Biden with a word?

                No, Burisma getting investigated might have been embarrassing for Joe Biden (since he got the prosecutor investigating them fired, and his son had a sinecure there), but he, personally, would never have been “under suspucion” of a crime by the Ukraine for it. Unless, of course, Joe Biden was doing things that still haven’t come out yet… maybe groping Ukrainian women?

                1. Trump wanted to place any cloud of criminality over Biden. Having Ukraine announce a Burisma investigation would give credence to Biden violating US law. As to why the DoJ has to this very day never opened up an investigation, perhaps there is no basis for it?

                  1. Wonder why Burisma was paying a million a year to Hunter? Maybe insurance against an investigation? The insurance paid off apparently And maybe Barr/Durham will uncover something involving Ukraine, I guess we’ll see.

                  2. So I see we’ve moved “Trump wanted Biden to be the target of a criminal investigation” to “Trump wanted to embarrass Biden by tying him to demanding the firing of a prosecutor that was investigating a company that paid Biden’s son millions to do nothing”.

                    I also see you’ve developed telepathy and time travel, such that you are now able to tell us what Trump was thinking six months ago. Do these powers work anywhere else, or just here on internet forums?

                2. Foreign governments often possess information relevant to US investigations and we often seek their cooperation. How many times did Mueller seek info from foreign sources? Quite a few times actually.

                  1. This is not foreign cooperation – this is a full-on foreign investigation at Trump’s behest. or, rather, not even that since he doesn’t care about the investigation; he just wants the announcement.

                    1. Why do you never use your telepathy powers for good, Sarcy?

                      You keep telling us what Trump thinks, and yet never actually have any proof for it.

                      Oh! Are you actually Trump, acting as a false-flag to discredit the people criticizing him? That’s amazing! Such a good job, too.

                    2. There are plenty of lists of the evidence above on this thread, Toranth. The fact that the deliverable State was tracking was an announcement, not an investigation is a big clue. The fact that Trump’s pullback was ‘I want nothing!’ is another.

                      Look at yourself. You’re reduced to arguing that you can’t ever know the purpose for which anyone does anything.

                    3. DOES TRUMP’S BUTT KISSER, TORANTH … ALSO SUPPORT TRUMP’S SHAMEFUL LIE .. TO DEFEND HIS RACIST AND NAZI SUPPORTERS? … A LYING SACK OF SHIT ON WHO INITIATED THE MURDER AND MASS ASSAULTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE??

                      And no more LAME excuses about what Trump “thinks.” That’s what the fascist/racists SAID at a major, televised, press conference.

                      BE A MAN, TORANTH. WHERE DO YOU STAND?
                      A) WITH TRUMP, NEO-NAZIS AND AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS?

                      B) OR WITH THE DECENT AMERICANS WHO WOULD NEVER CONDONE SUCH A MORAL OUTRAGE?

                      C) WITH LIBERTY AND TRUTH? .. OR WITH TYRANNY AND BULLSHIT?

                      ***NO COWARDLY EVASION ….

                    4. No Sacry-boy, I’m pointing out that you are presuming Trump’s motive, and then claiming that as evidence. You also keep trying to change the topic, and conflate different issues. I’m not sure if you actually don’t understand the arguments being made here, or you just know you’re losing them so keep trying to distract with something else… either way, you aren’t helping yourself.

                      There is ZERO evidence that Trump was asking for an investigation by the Ukraine that targeted Joe Biden. None. There is ZERO basis for it in the real world. Only by making up your own opinion of what you think Trump was thinking, and then declaring that to be fact, can you justify your position. And that’s simply bullshit.

                    5. There is ZERO evidence that Trump was asking for an investigation by the Ukraine that targeted Joe Biden.

                      Except his own words, and the words of his lawyer. And the testimony of lots of other people.

                      Though you are right that some of those people suggest that Trump didn’t even care about such an investigation, as long as he got an announcement of it.

                    6. “Why do you never use your telepathy powers for good, Sarcy?

                      You keep telling us what Trump thinks, and yet never actually have any proof for it.”

                      Such is the standard for Donk witnesses in this Impeachment Investigation.

                    7. “DOES TRUMP’S BUTT KISSER, TORANTH … ALSO SUPPORT TRUMP’S SHAMEFUL LIE .. TO DEFEND HIS RACIST AND NAZI SUPPORTERS? … A LYING SACK OF SHIT ON WHO INITIATED THE MURDER AND MASS ASSAULTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE??”

                      I see the meds have worn off again, huh, Mikey? Better call that nice nurse back to get some more from the Home’s dispensary.

                  2. LET’S TOTALLY HUMILIATE ENTROPY …THE DUMBFUCK STALKER … IN SELF-DEFENSE

                    WHO’S THE PSYCHO. ENTROPY? (smirk)
                    YOU: Self-righteous Bellowing, Bullshit and Bullying … just like Trump
                    ME: Documented FACTS. With links to PROOF …. vs. Snarling and Whining

                    PROOF Charlottesville! ???? ????

                    PART ONE, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF:: at press conference, Trump lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, defending Nazis and Racists. Arrogantly bullies and shouts down media

                    PART TWO, UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF: Trump PROVEN a psycho liar. Mass assaults and murder initiated by Trump’s nazi and racist supporters.

                    PART THREE, THE SMOKING GUN: Four white supremacists found guilty and imprisoned for initiating Charlottesville mass assaults and murder
                    .

                    TRUMP DISGRACES HIMSELF, AND THE PRESIDENCY … shameful lies that alt-LEFT initiated violence, charged with clubs, wearing black helmets 7:25 — 11:00 — 13.15

                    “What about the alt left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt right? Do they have any assemblage of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

                    NEXT: PROOF Trump is a lying sack of shit … and Entropy his witless puppet.

                    1. PART TWO: MORE UNDENIABLE VIDEO PROOF

                      Initial assault. (Private video found on an alternate news twitter feed)

                      TRUMP: Alt-left charged to initiate mass violence.
                      PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters charged to initiate mass violence

                      TRUMP: Alt-left wearing “black” helmets.
                      PROOF: Alt-right Trumpsters wearing NAZI helmets … Helmets that Trump SAW! OMFG!!

                      TRUMP: Alt-LEFT swinging clubs
                      PROOF: Alt-RIGHT swinging clubs. Alt-Left, arms locked, hands empty.
                      PROOF: Alt-right carrying police-style riot shields. Trumpster’s CAME for violence.

                      TRUMP: I watched it all on televisions … So did you!
                      PROOF: A clinically PSYCHOPATHIC LIAR

                      SHAME ON EVERYONE who LIES about the truth, to defend a morally debased President, over country and honor.
                      I’m looking at you Entropy, and John, and Brett, and Sevo, and Red Rocks, Last of the Shitlords, NOBY2, loveconstitution1789 … and your entire pack of wild dogs

                      NEXT: The Smoking Gun. …. ENTROPY’S TOTAL SELF-HUMILIATION

                    2. PART THREE: KAPOW!!

                      BY TRUMP’S OWN DOJ … “4 white nationalists, described as ‘serial rioters’ found guilty and imprisoned, for violent Charlottesville rally”

                      Three members of a white supremacist group were sentenced to prison Friday for kicking, choking and punching multiple people during the 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville and other rallies in California. The three were members of the California-based militant white supremacist organization “Rise Above Movement.”

                      A fourth defendant, Cole Evan White, will be sentenced at a later date, the attorney’s office said.

                      “These defendants, motivated by hateful ideology, incited and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, as well at other purported political rallies in California,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said.

                      “They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies.”

                      This has been converted to a Press Release, with a single merged and edited video … to be sent to all major media outlets, with all evidence … and to the House impeachment committees … when the timing seems best.

                      Now with proof, go back to the press conference video … his arrogance … his bullying … his attitude. TRUMP IS GOING DOWN … HARD.

                      MY TURN, LOSER
                      Who do YOU stand with?
                      a) Trump, Nazis and Racists?
                      b) Or Truth, Justice and the Americans way?

                      “Attack the bull, get the horns.”

            2. “Joe Biden, of course, didn’t fire Shokin – he couldn’t have. ”

              Yet: “Well, son of a bitch – he got fired.”

              1. LAME, BIDEN DIDN’T DO IT

                1. Love the ALLCAPS, Buddy … Makes you so much more …

                  BELIEVABLE?!!!!!!!!111!!111!!11!11!11!1

                  1. (THE WORDS ARE BELIEVABLE (to anyone smarter than a rock)
                    THE CAPS ARE RIDICULING YOUR NON-STOP BULLSHIT

                    LIKE YOUR TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE PUBLIC HUMILIATION … A PROVEN LIAR … HERE
                    https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8054468

                    ALSO PROVEN … A STALKING CYBER-BULLY … EIGHT UNPROVOKED ASSAULTS ….. HUMILIATED BY EACH AND EVERY ONE.

                    -Just another libertarian, several decades of putting down aggression and authoritarian threats to individual liberty … by thugs.

          2. Josh R, there is a cloud of criminal suspicion over Joe and Hunter because of criminally suspicious conduct. A patter of conduct actually. Won’t it be fun when we start talking about Hunter’s adventures with his father in China.

            1. Criminally suspicious!

              1. I think bribery is criminally suspicious, what about you? Foreign Corrupt Practices Act? Hobbs Act?

                1. Bribery is criminal. There is no such thing as criminally suspicious, unless we live in a police state.

                  Telling you need to qualify your way into nonsense.

    2. “Does that mean unqualified relatives of former or current official receiving dubious compensation from a generally recognized corrupt entity are immune from investigation?”

      Of course not.

      Your argument appears to be that if Presidents didn’t order investigations into their political rivals, no criminal investigations would ever occur. You advocate a politicized criminal justice system on the basis that a politicized criminal justice system is better than no criminal justice system at all. But that is not the choice we face. The criminal justice system isn’t going away. The only question is whether it should treat everyone equally, or whether we prefer a politicized criminal justice system that favors the President’s allies and targets his opponents.

      1. You’re attacking a strawman. RM did not say that no criminal investigations could occur; you made that up.
        He suggested that under these rules, any criminal investigation into a relative of a political rival would be forbidden. That’s not a small difference.

        Now, would you like to try to formulate an argument against RM’s post that actually includes a real argument?

        1. bernard11’s effectively rebuts rsteinmetz’s argument by noting that a criminal investigation by the FBI based on credible evidence that aims to uncover wrongdoing, as opposed to making an announcement, is just fine. The Justice Department has to this very day not opened up such an investigation.

          1. Oh, there’s plenty of evidence that Hunter Biden may be violating several laws against giving or receiving bribes.
            But he’s not being prosecuted for the same reason that Hillary Clinton isn’t being charged for her mishandling of classified information, destruction of evidence, and lying to investigators.

            And that is because despite his tough talk, Trump isn’t actually using the government to harass his opponents… despite 8 years of precedent by the previous administration.

          2. He’s not being investigated despite almost parody level of probable cause. A report just was released that showed the FBI committed over a dozen crimes, most notably repeated perjury and lies of omission to investigate someone in Trump’s camp.

            I can add 1+1.
            Even if it is just coincidence, I cannot fault Trump for believing that he cannot trust the Justice Department.

            1. ANOTHER CRAZED TRUMPTARD LIAR

              A report just was released that showed the FBI committed over a dozen crimes, most notably repeated perjury and lies of omission to investigate someone in Trump’s camp.

              Pathetic. 🙁

    3. rsteinmetz,“Obstruction of Congress” seems a wholly new malleable concept that will fit any dispute between Congress and any President, especially when the specific issues have not been fully adjudicated.

      Not on the precedent set in this case. Wholly new, this precedent is. Otherwise, a claim of blanket immunity from impeachment investigation is utterly unjustified on its face. It transforms the sole power of the House into next-to-no power. It amounts to a demand that impeachment of the President be negated, and written out of the Constitution.

      Other disputes over investigations, especially ones not connected to impeachment, are nothing at all like that, and readily distinguished. So your point is just more of the tribal bunk Trump’s supporters have been spewing to obstruct the investigation and defend their guy, whose conduct in obstructing congress is indefensible.

      The impeachment power is one of the bearing walls of the Constitution. You can’t demolish it and expect the rest of the edifice to stand.

      1. Don’t be daft.
        It’s simple. Neither Congress nor the president is supreme. The branches are equal. If Congress demands something and the president refuses, it’s obvious that the dispute must be settled by the courts. However, instead of going to the courts, congress simply decided that by disagreeing with them he is obstructing congress.

        1. Sorry, Ben.
          It’s a Senate TRIAL.
          Why would they prefer a Republican senate to a (more) neutral court.?

          But … 50% of Americans want Trump impeached AND REMOVED
          Umm, Fox News Poll

  8. “They picked the Senate to decide impeachments so no political considerations would come into play.”

    Actually, it’s the 2/3rds super-majority required for conviction that balances out the political considerations. Impeachments for political reasons will be ineffective when conviction in the Senate requires bipartisan support.

    Senators serve for 6 years, but their elections are staggered so one third of the Senate faces re-election every 2 years.

    While the Republicans did have a sufficiently large majority in the Senate to convict on an impeachment without bipartisan support (they still couldn’t convict Andrew Johnson), for about the first decade after the Civil War, Since then seldom has either party had such a large majority in the Senate, and such majorities have not held beyond a single 2 year span.

    1. “Actually, it’s the 2/3rds super-majority required for conviction that balances out the political considerations.”

      That of course means that political considerations probably won’t come into play in a conviction, but certainly allows political considerations to assure an aquittal. But an aquittal should always have a substantial advantage just as a jury trial requires a unanimous verdict.

      1. Umm, Clinton GAINED from his failed impeachment.

    2. Remember under the original Constitution Senators were selected by the various States legislatures, and were presumably mature seasoned men of known quality.

      With the adoption of popular election of Senators some of the protections against abuse of Impeachment were swept away.

      Since at the time Impeachment was such a rare occurrence ( 1 only) it probably was not considered.

      1. You wrote that senators formerly were “presumably mature seasoned men of known quality.” I’m trying to picture that phrase as applying to Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John Kennedy, and some of our other current Republican bright lights, but I can’t stop laughing.

        1. You forgot Mazie Hirono, Dick Durbin, Bob Menendez, Chris Murphy, Sheldon Whitehouse.

        2. I’m trying to picture that phrase as applying to Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John Kennedy, and some of our other current Republican bright lights, but I can’t stop laughing.

          I was published, years ago, against the directly elected Senate. Power was NOT given to the people. It was neutered.

      2. Sorry, I forgot Rand Paul.

        1. He’s forgettable (to libertarians)

      3. ^^THIS

    3. “Actually, it’s the 2/3rds super-majority required for conviction that balances out the political considerations. Impeachments for political reasons will be ineffective when conviction in the Senate requires bipartisan support.”

      So you think that the framers envisioned a system with only two parties?

      1. I don’t think that the founders would be surprised at having just 2 parties, after all the party system started with the Roundheads and Caviliers in England in the mid 1600’s then evolved into the Whigs and Tories by the last quarter of the 1600’s, and a century later that alignment was still stable.

  9. The 9th amendment isn’t really an inkblot. It’s a catch-all provision to cover rights that were regarded as so obvious that it just didn’t occur to anybody they’d need to be stated.

    So, to interpret it, you just ask, “Would the proposed right have been viewed as a right in 1791?”

    Obviously this will sometimes be subject to questions of what level of generality to state the right at, and limited historical record, but it’s not an obviously hopeless task, like reading an actual ink blot.

    1. You think the Founders left the language ambiguous just in case there was something they forgot about at the time?

      Or maybe, just maybe, because they realized that they were expounding a Constitution for future generations and didn’t want it to be a purely dead-handed document?

      1. Yes, I think they exactly left that language in there because they knew damned well their Bill of Rights wasn’t an exhaustive list of legal rights people already had, and didn’t want it extinguishing any of those pre-existing rights by failure to mention them.

        The way the Constitution avoids being a purely dead-handed document is by being amendable.

        1. One doesn’t exclude the other. The amendment process doesn’t prove that the Ninth Amendment couldn’t be interpreted according to evolving standards.

          1. On the contrary. The amendment process provides the sole legitimate means by which the meaning of the Constitution may change.

            First, by having an amendment process, the argument that reinterpretation must be permitted in order for the Constitution to adapt to changing times is precluded. It HAS a mechanism for adapting to changing times, and the amendment process is it.

            Second, that process permits changes to be rejected, once proposed they are not automatically adopted. And who decides whether the changes are adopted? Not the federal government. The STATES decide.

            ‘Amendment’ by judicial reinterpretation neatly bypasses the states’ role here, depriving them of their capacity to reject proposed changes. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that this is the reason for judicial reinterpretation: So that changes may be imposed that the states would reject.

            It’s a way of cutting the states out of the amendment process, and conducting the process entirely within the federal government.

            1. Once established that the amendment process is the only legitimate route for changing the meaning of the Constitution, it is clear that the 9th amendment must be understood to protect those rights that would have been recognized as rights at the time of it’s drafting and ratification.

              The alternative is to license the judiciary to invent new rights, even over the objection of the states. And the creation of new rights, changing rather than enforcing the law, is not a legitimate judicial role. Changes are supposed to come from the elected part of the government, not the appointed, in a democracy.

              1. Inventing new rights isn’t really a serious problem.

                It’s inventing new power for government that is the problem. “Evolving” ideas that government should now have a new power should be done by conscious supermajority amendment.

                “Govenrment has no authorization to control this unenumerated right ” — Ok

                “Government has newfound power to tax this way or regulate this thing”, when it would have been laughed at, no.

                1. In many cases, inventing new “rights” actually amounts to inventing new powers for the government, and then delegating them to private citizens.

                  Inventing a power of government to force bakers to bake cakes, and then handing it over to random nutjobs, for instance.

            2. Brett, there is not a single statement of the framers supporting your claim that the amendment process was intended to limit common law development of the Ninth Amendment.

              1. I’m not shocked, since common law changes to the meaning of the Constitution weren’t even a plausible enough thing at the time to have bothered rejecting.

                1. Really? Common law reinterpretations of statutes (such as estoppel and tollimg of statutes of limitations) were entirely familiar to the framers.

                  1. None of you has a clue how common law works, or hoe it related to the Constitution. Common Law still prevails, UNLESS replaced constitutionally or legislatively.

                    Common Law is simply, “we’ll assume this for now, pending later events.”

                    The Founders, being intelligent, knew better than to assume thousands of written laws to replace the common law. Just like written law, nothing can change without a challenge, because there’s no need to change them. Such changes do not spout from the ground, spontaneously, like weeds.

      2. “You think the Founders left the language ambiguous just in case there was something they forgot about at the time?”

        That is exactly what they thought. People were afraid that the first 8 amendments would be construed as the complete list of protected rights.

        1. Yes and one of the reasons Madison initially opposed a BOR.

        2. Indeed, Bob. And you don’t see how that logic extends in time?

          1. Yes, we do. And we see it differently from you. It protects rights that would have been recognized at the time of ratification. If you want to add new ones, go through the amendment process.

            1. Again, that ignores how the 9th was written. And takes the Founders for fools, not understanding how generations change their views.

              It’s silly to think it’s just ‘what if we forget about the rights we want to include right now.’

              1. Especially since they repeatedly stated they wanted a common law system in America, which they knew would mean that doctrines evolve over time.

              2. It’s not silly to think that the framers would be so suspicious of government encroachment they wanted to protect against things that were hard to imagine government proscribing, such as the right to own gold, to clear trees off your own land, to drink alcohol, to grow wheat for your own consumption, and so forth. That doesn’t mean that they envisioned the future discovering what they thought weren’t rights, such as allowing women and eighteen years olds to vote, or even allowing slaves to be free. They did provide a mechanism to allow those to become rights but it wasn’t through the courts.

                1. Sorry your libertarian vision didn’t survive the Civil War.

                  1. A scathing rebuttal. I used to think that triggering just applied to silly college kids; now I see it applies to silly adults as well.

                    1. You’re going to need to grapple with the 14th Amendment if you’re going to try and invoke the Founders’ vision for America as anything binding.

                    2. It’s the CONSTITUTION which is binding. DUH
                      And it’s amendable … BY YOUR OWN WORDS!

                      If you absolutely cannot accept that, you do retain the right to … emigrate, leave, stop sucking off the liberty and prosperity, created and maintained by people YOU say had no right to do so.

                    3. I’m not sure I understand how you think the 14th amendment has anything to do with this discussion. You started off as a wannabe originalist with the bit about how the founders stuck in the 9th to let the courts discover new rights that they hadn’t been able to think of. I pointed out that they crafted the amendment process to protect not only new rights but ones they themselves did not consider to be rights.

                    4. I’m not an originalist – I’m pointing out that our Constitution and the mix of powers between the people, state/municipal gov, and federal government has fundamentally changed.
                      Originalists don’t ignore the subsequent amendments. Neither should you.

                      If you’re going to go on about gauzy visions of limited government, you’re not going to be taken seriously as much more than a silly libertarian unless you deal more with specifics, as well as with the actual text of what our Constitution currently says.

              3. The Amendment process was the procedure to enable “generations [to] change their views”, not the 9th amendment.

                The Framers did not support a “living constitution” in the modern sense.

                1. You have zero evidence for that. You just keep saying it.

                  Of course, you’re against judicial review generally, as I recall, so it’s not too surprising you’ve got some outlier views you’re very convinced of.

  10. The Constitution could have said that the Congress can impeach and remove a President (or judge, etc.) for whatever reasons Congress wants to. Instead, it includes language limiting the grounds for impeachment and removal. Accordingly, the terms “high crimes” and “misdemeanors” should be narrowly construed in order to serve as effective limitations on Congress’s power over members of the other two co-equal branches.

    1. I think you are wrong there, by giving both the House and the Senate “sole” power over their respective functions the framers knew they were putting those powers pretty much beyond judicial purview. It was the 2/3 majority in the Senate they were counting on to keep things from going off the rails.

      In Britain the House of Commons had a history of going off half cocked and impeaching on very shaky grounds, but generally the Lord’s did a very conscientious job in trying the Impeachments to keep the tyranny of the House in check.

    2. the terms “high crimes” and “misdemeanors” should be narrowly construed

      Says who?

  11. I think we never talk enough about the 9th Ammendment. The real reason that abortion should be and is legalized, even though Roe v Wade discusses other dubious reasons also as the justification, and given that I am not a fan of the process. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” Is vague, but I think it is intentionally broad. I wish the Supreme Court threw out more State and Federal laws, and Executive Actions as unconstitutional using the 9th. How is it reasonable that the federal government can tell me it is illegal to grow a plant in my backyard? I get that they can regulate Interstate or international trade. How can it be constitutional to tax me if I don’t have a job that gives me health care? I get taxing people who make money, but that is an opposite tax. So much stuff like that out there.

    1. The 9th Amendment doesn’t allow us to say, “abortion isn’t a right because it’s not listed in the Constitution.” But we *can* say “abortion isn’t a right because it wasn’t recognized as a right at the time of the Bill of Rights.” The only relevant right recognized at the time was the right to due process before one could be put outside the protection of the law, and that rights cuts against a “right” to abortion.

      1. Actually, at the time the Fifth Amendment due process clause was enacted, most states recognized a right to abortion, at least early in the pregnancy. At the time of the Fourteenth Amendment, most states prohibited it.

        1. Was this legal immunity recognized as a right alongside trial by jury and the like?

          More likely, the right of the human person to life was mistakenly believed not to include the early stages of pregnancy because the science of the time believed that at this stage the fetus was an inert mass, not a living human being. By 1868, they realized that this wasn’t true.

          In short, if things were as 18th century science assumed them to be, then life didn’t begin before the child moved in the womb. In such a scenario, limits on abortion would simply protect *potential* life, not life itself, hence the fundamental right to life would not be implicated.

          It would be a parody of originalism to say that the right to life didn’t apply to the unborn because of the bad science of the 18th century. Anyway, you note the laws of 1868, which reflect the superior scientific perspective.

          1. The issue of what the Due Process Clause means is not a scientific question, and even if it were, science has nothing to say about whether a fetus has the same rights as a born child or whether a woman’s rights outweigh them.

            1. The 9th Amendment has nothing to do with the current justification for abortion.

              Roes laughably attempted to use the 9th but that was quickly abandoned.

            2. “The issue of what the Due Process Clause means is not a scientific question”

              I’m afraid that if you invoke a legal rule which was based on bad science, there’s risk that someone will point out the badness of the science.

              1. The statement “a fetus has no legal rights” or “no moral rights” is not a scientific claim.

                Pro-lifers, who lie all the time, say it is.

                1. The statement “living human beings have the right to life” is a moral claim. (I’d like to see your claim of who has the right to life)

                  The statement “an early-stage fetus is not a living human being” is a scientific claim, accepted by scientifically-ignorant lawyers in the 18th century. A claim rebutted by better science.

                  Which of us is relying on discredited science to promote their moral claims?

                  1. Personhood is not a scientific matter.

                    1. Who on earth said it was?

                      Whether someone is a living human being is a scientific matter, then we have the moral discussion of whether certain living human beings are legal persons or “lives unworthy of life.”

                    2. The commonly understood connotation of “human being” in this context is “person.”

                    3. “The commonly understood connotation of “human being” in this context is “person.””

                      I would love to think so – if such were the common understanding we could wind up the abortion debate right now since a living human is no less a living human for existing in the womb.

                      I was trying to distinguish between the scientific and moral aspects of the controversy. Only the equivalent of flat-earthers deny that a living human being is a human being, the dispute is whether every human being has the same moral status.

                      After all, the sanctity of human life is obviously not a given in every culture. Some cultures have been known to expose infants right after birth. Some cultures have been known to practice human sacrifice – they didn’t deny have phony scientific arguments that the sacrificial victim wasn’t human, they just thought sacrificing him on an altar was OK.

                    4. JoshR,

                      Let me link you to the discussion with Sarcastro, so you can chip in further if you wish.

                      https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8051826

                    5. I’m just saying that you ought to use a different term than “human being” since most people don’t agree with your definition.

                      Getting past semantics, the pro-life side has the easy moral argument: personhood begins at conception (i.e., when “human life” begins). The alternative that personhood begins sometime later is squishy.

                      However, the pro-life argument must accept as a necessary consequence that a woman who has an abortion at any stage of pregnancy including a nanosecond after conception or a clinician that destroys unused embryos in an IVF clinic are first-degree murderers. I don’t see such an acceptance.

                    6. …one could just as easily say that the prochoice position entails support for the death penalty. If you support execution *without* trial for the offense of being inconvenient, how can you oppose execution of those who have been convicted of serious offenses after a trial?

                      In fact, why doesn’t your side support execution for jaywalking?

                      Of course, it’s possible you don’t want to take instruction from your opponents about what you *really* believe.

                    7. You can logically oppose the death penalty for persons (even with a trial) and accept the killing of a non-person (even without a trial) when it is necessary to protect the liberty rights of a person.

                      What I cannot figure out is the logic that an embryo is a person but a pre-planned intentional killing of it (except to the save the life of another person) isn’t first-degree murder.

                  2. Laws and rights attach to persons, not to ‘living beings of the human species.’

                    1. That’s the point at issue, is a living human being a person? It’s a moral, not scientific issue.

                      The thing is, if you answer “no,” then you’ll be expected to come up with an alternate definition of “person.”

                    2. The question is not the blanket is but the more nuanced when/how does personhood begin/end?

                      Saying that such a question is too important for the government to answer is a legitimate answer.

                      Similar to suicide, given minima of sound mental state.

                      If there were a Star Trek transporter, I’d think requirements to use it would raise similar issues.

                    3. We’re not going to resolve the abortion debate today, but I’ll just say I appreciate you getting to the actual issue.

                    4. TY.
                      It’s the fundamental paradigm of what pro choice is.

                      I also understand the fact that it’s a legitimate thing to argue that even if it’s not murder, abortion caries with it a moral moment that cannot be completely left to individuals.

                      Both things can be true; it’s just hard to see it in a debate that’s just become ritualistic shouting these days.

        2. Actually, at the time the Fifth Amendment due process clause was enacted, most states recognized a right to abortion, at least early in the pregnancy.

          You seem to be conflating “did not make it illegal” with “recognized a right to it.”

          1. No. I think if you are going to pull Scalia originalism and say prohibitions matter, than legalizations do as well.

          2. Abortion had been unquestioned for all known human history, back to the Old Testament. Herbal and relatively simple. Only illegal when it became a surgical procedure — for no known reason.

            As Natural Law evolved, the fetal child’s unalienable right to Life is precisely equal to the woman’s unalienable right to Life. By the definition of unalienable!
            Left-wing authoritarians deny the fetal child’s right to life. Right-wing authoritarians deny the woman’s right to Liberty. NEITHER has ANY right to ignore equal, unalienable and/or God-Given rights … for purely political manipulation.

            For SOME, the child has full human rights at conception .. unless it’s a woman and she gets pregnant. How many other God-Given Rights can be suspended, for how long, and on what authority?

            For SOME, God INTENDED sex to be only for procreation. TRUE ONLY FOR LOWER ANIMALS. In 8th grade biology, we learned that the human female DOES NOT GO INTO HEAT. (gasp) What a Creator REALLY did was give us the capacity to obtain full enjoyment from sex … even when procreation is IMPOSSIBLE.! THAT is the Will of Almighty God. 8th grade biology.

            Or common sense.

            1. Abortion had been unquestioned for all known human history, back to the Old Testament. Herbal and relatively simple. Only illegal when it became a surgical procedure — for no known reason.

              Not really true; the original version of the Hippocratic Oath — certainly part of “known human history” — forbid doctors from providing abortions. (And not the surgical kind, obviously.)

              1. MASSIVE FUCKUP BY THE PRO-LIFE FASCIST
                HERBAL ABORTIONS DO NOT REQUIRE A DOCTOR BWAAAAA HAAAAA

            2. “For SOME, God INTENDED sex to be only for procreation. TRUE ONLY FOR LOWER ANIMALS. In 8th grade biology, we learned that the human female DOES NOT GO INTO HEAT. (gasp) What a Creator REALLY did was give us the capacity to obtain full enjoyment from sex … even when procreation is IMPOSSIBLE.! THAT is the Will of Almighty God. 8th grade biology.”

              You really ARE a fucking moron, Mikey.

              1. ENTROPY IS CRAZIER HERE, THAN WE HE CALLED ME NUTS FOR SAYING TRUMP LIED ABOUT CHARLOTTESVILLE, TO DEFEND NAZIS AND RACIST

                SO I JAMMED THAT UP HIS PATHETIC ASS WITH UNDENIABLE PROOF!! Two videos, Trump’s lie and the proof … FOUR criminal convictions, ALL white nationalists!! (smirk)

                https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8053302

                NOW .,.. because he ALWAYS denies inconvenient proof … Entropy CLAIMS that human sex can happen ONLY if the human female is in hear … OR, that dogs (and other lower animals) do NOT have to be in heat. Or, God fucked up.
                Crazier??

                Do I REALLY need to show how WACKY that is?
                Well because there are many other Trumptards here …

                Cristo_Fascists say, God INTENDED sex to be solely for procreation … WHICH IS ONLY TRUE OR THE LOWER ANIMALS.

                Is Entropy ALSO ignorant that lower animals CANNOT have sex … and NEVER EVEN want to (DUH) …, EVER
                Doe he even KNOW what “in heat” means?

                Biology 101: Among lower animals, the woman is “in heat” when her eggs have dropped, awaiting sperm. The male automatically impregnates There is NO KNOWN PLEASURE for either gender (perhaps higher apes, near-humans)

                The SAME creator did the exact opposite for humans. That same Creator made humans with the capacity for JOY from sex … EVEN WHEN PROCREATION IS IMPOSSIBLE!

                **Questions for Entropy
                1) If God INTENDED human sex to be solely for procreation… why did he make us different that all the hundreds of other species?

                2) WHY would God create us to enjoy sex, even if procreation is impossible … IF HE DID NOT INTEND US TO HAVE SEX … WHEN PROCREATION IS IMPOSSIBLE … purely for the joy that HE created?

                3) YOU say God created humans AGAINST the Will of HIMSELF???

                4) WHY DO WE STILL GET JOY FROM SEX …. LONG AFTER THE WOMAN CAN NO LONGER OVULATE? (does he know what ovulation is?

                5) IF THE PURPOSE OF SEX IS PROCREATION … THEN WHY DID GOD NOT ALLOW WOMEN TO OVULATE UNTIL DEATH??

                Anything else?

      2. Once again, Eddy gives us a look inside the authoritarian right … and it is scary, their contempt for the Constitution, as he waves his arms to REMOVE rights which had been long recognized before ratification.

        But we *can* say “abortion isn’t a right because it wasn’t recognized as a right at the time of the Bill of Rights.”

        NONSENSE.
        Liberty (the woman) was an acknowledged right BEFORE the Constitution.
        SO WAS LIFE (the fetal child).

        They are both unalienable. Which means BOTH absolute. So precisely equal. Which EXPLODES the brains of you people. Liberty always has.

        The only relevant right recognized at the time was the right to due process

        Already ridiculed, so I won’t again call out your obvious blunder.

        Next: Eddy REVERSES his own point!

        before one could be put outside the protection of the law, and that rights cuts against a “right” to abortion.

        EXPLOSION!!
        YOU JUST SAID NOBODY HAD A RIGHT TO LIFE AT THE TIME!

        NO RIGHTS CAN BE “PUT OUTSIDE THE PROTECTION OF THE LAW.”
        A thoroughly disgraceful statement. But, which does confirm your authoritarian contempt for liberty, rights, and our Constitution.

  12. A more sophisticated rendition of the inkblot argument, which I’ve also heard (though not in so many words), is if the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is stretched to include Trump’s conduct, then it BECOMES an inkblot.

    It’s not that the phrase has no ascertainable original meaning, it’s that if we broaden the meaning to include Trump’s actions, than it is broad enough to make an argument to include very much more.

    I’m not saying I agree with this approach. I’m saying that there’s another line of thought that side-steps portions of this posts critique.

    1. Tasking your personal attorney to pressure a foreign government to announce an investigation that places a false cloud of criminal suspicion over your primary election opponent does not include very much more, perhaps nothing more than what has already been included.

      1. …and threatening the national security…I think that’s also in the accusation.

      2. Stop repeating that lie. Evidence of such intent never existed

        1. There’s a transcript of it, dude. There are State Department deliverables. There’s Trump’s original characterization of his own perfect phone call.

          1. There are none of these things.
            The transcript clearly shows that there is no demand made by Trump, and no linkage between funding and anything else.

            Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing that Ukraine could be investigating Joe Biden for. Claims that Trump was demanding that the Ukraine start a criminal investigation into Joe Biden are nothing by the sheerest fantastical lies by TDS sufferers like you.

            1. The transcript clearly shows that there is no demand made by Trump,

              “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”

              Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing that Ukraine could be investigating Joe Biden for.

              Precisely. Which is why his demand was illegitimate.

            2. Sorry, Toranth, you’ve been bamboozled again.

              Sondland acknowledges Ukraine quid pro quo, implicates Trump, Pence, Pompeo and others

              (onsite video, caption)U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said there was a quid pro quo “with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting.”

              A U.S. ambassador on Wednesday explicitly linked President Trump, Vice President Pence and other senior officials to what he came to believe was a campaign to pressure a foreign government to investigate Trump’s political rival in exchange for a coveted White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid. …

              More forcefully than he has before, Sondland declared that the Trump administration would not give Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a chance to visit the White House — unless Zelensky agreed to announce investigations that could help the president politically

  13. High Crimes and Misdemeanors is a McGuffin, not an inkblot.

    The framers deliberately put politicians, not courts, in charge of impeachment. In doing so, they knew that politicians would do whatever was in their political interest, and make a political decision as to what an impeachable or convictable offense is.

    1. The hope was that the 2/3 requirement would mean that to be convicted, the defendant would have to commit misconduct recognized as such by more than one passionate faction.

      Looking at who actually got convicted (as opposed to impeached followed by dismissal or acquittal), then it looks that the offenses go beyond partisan rancor and get into the territory of actual misconduct recognized as such across party lines:

      https://history.house.gov/Institution/Impeachment/Impeachment-List/

      1. …to say nothing of the resignations prompted by impeachment or the threat of impeachment, which never got to trial.

        1. So let’s look at the charges which ended in conviction or resignation:

          Judge John Pickering: convicted for “intoxication on the bench and unlawful handling of property claims”

          Judge West Humphreys: convicted of “refusing to hold court and waging war against the U.S. Government”

          Judge Mark Delahay: resigned after being impeached for “intoxication on the bench”

          Secretary of War William Belknap: acquitted – but only because he’d resigned – of “criminal disregard for his office and accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments”

          Judge Robert Archbald: convicted of “improper business relationship with litigants”

          Judge George English: resigned after being impeached for “abuse of power”

          Judge Halsted Ritter: convicted of “favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers and practicing law as a sitting judge”

          President Richard Nixon: resigned after judiciary committee recommended impeachment for Watergate

          Judge Harry Claiborne: convicted of “income tax evasion and of remaining on the bench following criminal conviction”

          Judge Walter Nixon: convicted of “perjury before a federal grand jury”

          Judge Samuel Kent: resigned after being impeached for “sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding, and making false and misleading statements”

          Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.: convicted of “accepting bribes and making false statements under penalty of perjury”

          1. And don’t forget Judge (now Representative) Alcee Hastings, convicted of “perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe”

            1. And Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, who resigned under threat of impeachment for “financial improprieties that involved him agreeing to act as a paid consultant to the family foundation of a man under investigation for securities fraud.”

              https://www.history.com/news/has-a-u-s-supreme-court-justice-ever-been-impeached

            2. Simple. Junior high logic.

              HIGH crimes are ABOVE legislated crimes.
              HIGH misdemeanors are also ABOVE legislated laws.
              OR … Eddy’s way, which MUST assume the Founders wanted impeachable offenses to include … JAYWALKING 🙂
              LITTERING! 🙂
              RUNNING A STOP SIGN!! 🙂 🙂

              Why does the authoritarian right ALWAYS rewrite the Constitution, to satisfy their authoritarian agenda? Misdemeanor is a VERY large word to ignore. But they all do.

              P.S. Skip the cherry-picking, Eddy. Tell us WHY a President can be impeached for jaywalking.

              1. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your argument. This could mean that my intellectual powers are fading, or it could mean that you’re being totally incoherent.

                1. I’m wondering how clear you are on what a misdemeanor is. Non-felonies, or some say trivial (relatively).

                  It’s easier to grasp the intent by starting with Misdemeanors instead of Crimes.

                  High misdemeanors are OBVIOUSLY above legislated misdemeanors, unless we assume the Founders intended jaywalking to be an impeachable.

                  High CRIMES are above legislated crimes, BECAUSE high misdemeanors are.

                  “High” cannot have separate meanings in the same sentence!

                  While we’re there … a misdemeanor IS a crime. So why are both listed? ONLY if the Founders INTENDED that impeachment would be Constitutional for (relatively) trivial matters. Keep in mind they wanted a “perpetual” constitution … without the faintest clue what a President might do, in an office that did not yet exist, and never had,

                  1. Which raises a key constitutional question…are *you* high?

                    1. When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.
                      -Socrates

                      (smirk)

                2. “This could mean that my intellectual powers are fading, or it could mean that you’re being totally incoherent.”

                  I’d wager my nutsack on the latter.

  14. Well, I’m not just an old country doctor, but what the ninth amendment says in English is that if the Constitution doesn’t explicitly give the feds a power, then the feds DO NOT have that power.
    It is as clear as “shall not be infringed”. And as well honored.

    1. That is my understanding of the 9th amendment as well. Seems clear enough to me.

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      1. No; that doesn’t make sense as an interpretation of the Ninth Amendment, because that’s what the Tenth Amendment says.

    2. Also applies to states.
      Best to phrase it as rights, I suggest. not powers. which reinforces the principle that powers MUST be enumerated. Rights do not.

      “Shall not be infringed” may not mean why too many assume. At the very top of Scalia’s Heller ruling

      Heller Ruling, SCOTUS web site, Page One

      1(f). United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes

      The limitation on protected weapons does NOT infringe on the right, merely defines what the right protects. Scalia. The Miller ruling that he confirmed has been Law of he Land for 80 years (1939).

  15. That sounds like an idiotic position – that because it’s not clear where all the boundaries are that there’s no places that are verboten. Can you point to a non-idiot who is making that claim.

    I don’t mean a Sean Hannity – is expect that sort of mere assertion from him (this cycle, just as Rachel Maddow did similarly last cycle), but someone who at least presents some sort of argument for why that’s the case. Preferably better than a mere Borkian inkblot claim, as that method should also throw out things like the warrant clause (investigating criminality is always reasonable), privileges and/or immunities (what are they?), the 2nd amendment (what’s the comma mean?), and many others.

  16. High crimes and misdemeanors are abuses of power and of public trust connected to the office of the presidency,Auto Ankauf “On the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency.

  17. I think the 9th Amendment is given a real meaning by presuming federal statutes unconstitutional until proven constitutional. The 10th Amendment gets a real meaning in part by doing the opposite with state statutes.

    1. That sounds like an idiotic position

      “Inconvenient” to Beckman’s agenda.

      – that because it’s not clear where all the boundaries are that there’s no places that are verboten

      You concede there are no boundaries … so how can anything be outside a boundary that does not exist?

      I suspect most would find THAT idiotic.

      1. Even “Blithering Idiot” fails to adequately describe your sockpuppet personae.

        Delusional?

        Perhaps Incoherent as was used earlier …

        1. ANOTHER UNPROVOKED PERSONAL ASSAULT, as the Trumptard stalks me down the page. AT EACH ASSAULT, HE INVITES ME TO HUMILIATE HIM … .SO I AGAIN ACCEPT HIS INVITATION!! )

          Even “Blithering Idiot” fails to adequately describe your sockpuppet personae.(smirk)
          Like most Trumptards, Entropy, struts around, BELLOWING BULLSHIT … on things he knows NOTHING about. Mindlessly repeating his robotic programming

          With that same SELF-RIGHTEOUS ARROGANCE, Entropy ASSAULTED me for saying Trump LIED about Charlottesville, to defend his Nazi and White Nationalist supporters, claiming the violence was launched by the Alt-LEFT

          So ….. I JAMMED IT UP HIS SORRY ASS … WITH UNDENIABLE PROOF
          *Two actual videos — Trump’s lie and what happened.
          * FOUR criminal convictions, of WHITE NATIONALISTS, for causing the mass assaults and murder at Charlottesviile

          The ENTIRE set of proof is here 🙂
          https://reason.com/2019/12/13/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors-as-an-inkblot/#comment-8053302

          But THIS is the Smoking Gun … PROVING both Trump and Entropy as pathological liars. (Part 3 at the proof link. Reason allows only one link per comment.

          ***BEND OVER. ENTROPY, HERE IT COMES AGAIN!

          PART THREE: KAPOW!!

          BY TRUMP’S OWN DOJ … “4 white nationalists, described as ‘serial rioters’ found guilty and imprisoned, for violent Charlottesville rally”

          Three members of a white supremacist group were sentenced to prison Friday for kicking, choking and punching multiple people during the 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville and other rallies in California. The three were members of the California-based militant white supremacist organization “Rise Above Movement.”

          A fourth defendant, Cole Evan White, will be sentenced at a later date, the attorney’s office said.

          “These defendants, motivated by hateful ideology, incited and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, as well at other purported political rallies in California,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said.

          “They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies.”

          This has been converted to a Press Release, with a single merged and edited video … to be sent to all major media outlets, with all evidence … and to the House impeachment committees … when the timing seems best.

          Now with proof, go back to the press conference video … his arrogance … his bullying … his attitude. TRUMP IS GOING DOWN … HARD.

          MY TURN, ENTROPY
          Who do YOU stand with?
          a) Trump, Nazis and Racists?
          b) Or Truth, Justice and the Americans way?

          Will he be honest enough to apologize? Or be like Trump, and continue stalking and assaulting me? I shall not pre-judge.

  18. Also, I tend to agree that the impeachment power isn’t meaningfully enforceable by the courts. It’s not a judicially enforcible power. It’s a legislatively enforcible one.

    For that matter Congress, if it wants, can give the 9th Amendment a much broader meaning.

    1. How would 9A apply here?
      Only SCOTUS can do that, and only in deciding a case before it.

  19. To say that the Ninth Amendment should be interpreted and applied in the same manner as other amendments is not to say that the Ninth Amendment is necessarily a sound basis for invalidating federal or state legislation.

    The US Constitution has a list of enumerated government powers. The Bill of Rights isn’t even necessary. It was put there as an additional safeguard; that’s the plain meaning of the 9th Amendment.

    The original US Constitution was a Constitution for a loose federation of states, with common defense, free movement of people and goods, and not much else. The only reason there is any confusion about this is because the legal profession has manipulated and distorted the original meaning of the US Constitution and turned it into the basis for a centralized nation state.

    1. You’re thinking of the Articles of Confederation.

      The main action that centralized federal authority was passing the 14th Amendment wasn’t exactly an action by the legal profession. Ditto the 16th.

      You also don’t seem familiar with the General Welfare clause.

      1. No, he’s describing the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation actually created an even weaker central government than the Constitution. But the Constitution’s central government had a short list of powers and responsibilities, and was actually restricted from meddling in anything else.

        1. No, a loose federation of states, with common defense, free movement of people and goods, and not much else was literally what the Articles of Confederation created.

          The Constitution is what added to that with such things as the General Welfare Clause, and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

          Originalism is something I disagree with, and part of why is because it often comes along with some ahistorical mythology.

  20. A9 Inkblot.

    AMENDMENT IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
    construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    AMENDMENT X

    The powers not delegated to the United States
    by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states,
    are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    We actually had discusssion of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolution, the Constitution and its Amendments in Civics class in highschool. Maybe Junior High, ninth grade, 1962.

    My impression was that the enumeration of protected rights in the Constitution or Amendments was not intended to unprotect traditionally lawful rights under common law or rights protected by state constitution declarations of rights.

    Do the even teach Civics in moderrn schools. If not, they should. ” It is a dream I have …” — Arthur, Excalibur 1981 film

    1. Civics classes seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe they still would be. The 9A and 10A are great civics class puzzlers. I remember them. We got no resolution.

      It would take a hell of a middle school civics teacher to impart any useful info, without just making stuff up and getting it wrong. And you still could not settle what those amendments mean—just get insight into how that kind of historical investigation doesn’t always lead to firm conclusions.

      I don’t think anyone who knows the history can point to anything dispositive in the historical record. If it was there, we would all know what it was.

      1. —just get insight into how that kind of historical investigation doesn’t always lead to firm conclusions.

        If one had an ignorant or confused teacher who taught it that way.

        State have powers not enumerated to federal in the Constitution.
        But the Ninth EXPLICITLY limits what those powers can be. Things like property records and deeds, whether and how to require drivers licenses … who can vote in local elections and/or direct tax levies, which includes illegals in every other western country, and a handful of counties here. Stuff like that.

    2. AND that states are forbidden to violate any enumerated rights.

      Sadly, they do not teach Civics any more, at least not in the District my son graduated from. And I do check every school district I later moved to, including the one I was elected to. I got myself named to the Curriculum Committee, in part to restore Civics.
      I got a fair hearing; we had a great and open discussion, but lost by two votes (of about 20 on the committee)

  21. ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓

  22. Simpler version: HIGH crimes are not “regular” crimes (defined by legislation).

    As proof, HIGH misdemeanors means the Founders did not intend impeachable offenses to include “regular” misdemeanors … jaywalking … littering … and the like.

  23. “the original public meaning of the Constitution is to govern” — why should it? The Constitution’s legitimacy today rests on acceptance by today’s citizens, which they give based on today’s public meaning.

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