Does House Democrats’ latest impeachment effort stand up to constitutional scrutiny?
On Sunday night’s episode of Life, Liberty & Levin on Fox News, LevinTV host Mark Levin spoke with former Whitewater scandal independent counsel Robert Ray about the House of Representatives’ impeachment efforts against Donald Trump.
With her late-September impeachment announcement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ditched historical precedent by not putting the matter to a vote first, Levin explained. Ray noted that while such a requirement isn’t listed in the Constitution, the Framers’ idea would be that “the people’s elected representatives acting as a body would make a determination to commence impeachment proceedings.”
“And that’s been the historical practice, and one that we shouldn’t ignore,” Ray added.
Levin then raised the question of how this current process could be described as a legitimate impeachment process “if half the House isn’t involved, and the Democrat Party’s driving it, and it breaks with all tradition of past presidential impeachment inquiries. It’s a Democrat Party impeachment inquiry.”
Ray responded that he doesn’t think that the American people have heard the last of that argument and that there will likely be an “opportunity for, as a legal matter, to make the point” that the impeachment process has been perverted.
“I imagine at some point someone may, you know, stand up and raise the flag to say, ‘Hey, hold on a second: If there’s not a House vote, then it’s not an appropriate or lawful inquiry.'”
Ultimately, the question is one of separation of powers, i.e., what actions must the legislative branch take in order to get the other two branches to respect its impeachment efforts. Levin pointed out that “one committee of one part of Congress is not a branch of government and cannot force an entire other branch of government to bend to its will.”
“Correct. That is not an insignificant detail,” Ray responded. “That’s not a detail; that’s a concern that animates separation of powers which is inherent, endemic to our constitutional structure.”
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— LevinTV (@LevinTV) September 26, 2019