Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee marked one of the highest moments for the U.S. Congress in recent memory, because the focus was on the Constitution and its framers to a level the U.S. public seldom is exposed to in today’s culture.
The Constitutional scholars called for the committee introduced the American public to a compelling picture of what the Founding Fathers went through, and what was on their minds, as they crafted one of the most enduring governing documents in world history. With its high-minded defining principles and carefully-crafted establishment of a separation of powers, our U.S. Constitution was established with a primary objective of allowing the voting public to determine their political future and not the capricious and arbitrary decisions of a monarch or dictator.
It has worked, though strained to the limit even to the point of a secession from the Union by 13 U.S. states and deadly rebellion that left over a half million U.S. citizens dead. Many more cruel and criminal abuses of the intent of this Constitution have occurred domestically over the 232 years since 1787, but even so, as it is again being sorely tested by the brazenly criminal behavior of the current U.S. president Donald Trump, the nation is at last on the eve of the ratification of a U.S. Constitutional amendment that will at last emblazon the full equal rights of women into its body, itself. Yes, the Equal Rights Amendment will be passed in the Virginia State Legislature next month to, finally, achieve this.
So just as appropriate as the passage of the ERA will be for advancing the intent of the founders of the U.S. Constitution, so will be a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach this president for bribery, treason and high crimes and misdemeanors.
The impressive panel of Constitutional scholars was assembled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, in particular Noah Feldman of the Harvard University Law School, Pamela Karlan of the Stanford University Law School and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law. A fourth, Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University School of Law, appointed by the Republican defenders of Trump was sadly wishy-washy and specifically unhelpful as a result.
These experts have devoted their careers to understanding and educating the nation on the core values and issues associated with the establishment of our U.S. Constitution. There is little doubt from what arose out of their testimony that our Constitution established the enduring basis for a robust democracy, and the inclusion of provisions for impeachment in it was included because it was felt necessary to prevent anyone from the ability to exercise the arbitrary powers of a monarch or dictator in the country.
To be clear, the contest here is not between a corrupt president and the U.S. Congress, it is between that corrupt president and the American people who would, by such a man’s abuse of power, be practically disenfranchised of their right to rule the nation by the power of their vote.
This president’s abuses have been against the American people and have gone down this road to an extraordinary degree, even to the point of empowering foreign dictators against us.
Sadly, the Republicans on the committee have only reverted to issues of procedure and grandstanding in an effort to discredit the overwhelming evidence that was presented in this week’s hearing, once it was shown they could not discredit the evidence, itself.
Their defense of the president’s crimes, especially including his wanton disregard for the House in noncompliance with its legal mandates, was reduced in the Judiciary hearings this week to rantings that were losing their energy and proving to be hollow, empty and repetitive rhetoric. The efforts of Reps. Jim Jordan and Mel Gaetz became demonstrably strained and flattened shrieking monotones as they lost steam, while the eloquence of Democrats such as Reps. Ted Deutch and Jamie Raskin rang true more and more over the course of the long day.
This hearing made it abundantly clear that it is we, the American people, who are the victims of Trump’s crimes.