The Volokh Conspiracy

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Justin Amash

A Missed Opportunity

Justin Amash should have been named a House impeachment manager.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi has now announced the slate of House managers who will prosecute the impeachment case before the Senate. Consistent with the Democratic approach to the impeachment process as a whole, there was no real effort to reach across the aisle and try to appeal to and persuade those on the political right who might be skeptical of Trump and sympathetic to his impeachment. The Democratic leadership failed to reach across the aisle in conducting the impeachment hearings, as Volokh co-blogger Jonathan Adler noted. They have now compounded that mistake.

Justin Amash would have made an excellent House manager. Amash has formally left the Republican Party but remains a vocal advocate of the classical liberal principles that once were understood to be at the heart of modern American conservatism. Amash broke from the GOP over the actions of President Trump and the complete inability of the party to tolerate any criticisms of the president. His appointment as a House manager would have been the obvious political play to make to signal that a presidential impeachment was in the nation's interest and not just the Democratic Party's interest.

For many months, Amash has been among the most eloquent critics of President Trump in the House of Representatives. He did a far better job than most Democrats in explaining the significance of the findings of the Mueller Report, and he has done a far better job than most Democrats in explaining the impeachment power and the reasons why the House needed to pursue an impeachment of the sitting president. He had served on the House Oversight Committee, one of the main committees investigating the administration, until he left the GOP.

An impeachment should not be a partisan affair. The Republicans in Congress have failed to take their constitutional duties seriously. The Democrats have made a hash of the process as well and made Trump's job easier as a result.