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A President Impeached

December 14, 2019

Last week, arguments on Articles of Impeachment occupied the House Judiciary Committee.  Those hearings gave Democrat House members the opportunity to argue that President Trump had violated his authority by delaying funds authorized by Congress for support of the government of Ukraine.  Democrat members argued that, in exchange for release of those funds, the President sought negative information on a potential opponent in the 2020 Presidential election.

Republican Committee members argued that the Constitution provides for Impeachment only for “high crimes and misdemeanors” as a constraint on arbitrary Impeachment of Presidents. By limiting Impeachment in that manner, the Framers of the Constitution intended to limit one party from Impeaching chief executives of the opposite Party for reasons other than “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Cong. McClintoch (R-CA) argued that, if this President is Impeached on grounds that do not meet the standard of a “high crime” or “misdemeanor,” then we will see American government disrupted by Impeachment proceedings every time one Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives. That political parties had not been formed at the time the Constitution was drafted wasn’t mentioned.

It was encouraging, therefore, to hear Democrat Party members recite statements by “Framers” of the Constitution, though doubtless those quotations were not the result of personal study of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 nor the Debates in ratification conventions in the States leading to adoption of the Constitution in 1789.

Study of the Constitutional Convention fell into disuse when Progressives took possession of the study of law and argued that the Constitution was a document whose meaning changes in accord with changing times and is not a straight jacket imposing strict limitations on exercise of the powers of the national government. My review of a new book on that and other relevant topics may be accessed at

Conservatives scholars dispute that interpretation, but there are few Constitutional scholars in the New Class of attorneys at law.  That explains why Democrat witnesses to testify on behalf of Impeachment were “academics“: Noah Goldman at Harvard Law, Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law and Michael Gerhardt, a professor at University of North Carolina Law with “earned degrees from Yale University, the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago.” Goldman “has focused on constitutional conflicts between presidents and Congress.”

If you would like to do your own research, you may consider purchasing  your own copy of the “Notes” of James Madison taken at the Constitutional Convention.  In a new study I’m researching on what I call “Rise and Fall of   the American Empire” I use the edition of Madison’s Notes edited by James McClellan and M.E. Bradford. Copies of this edition, priced at $40 each may be requested by email to  Readers may want to purchase the Adrienne Koch edition of Madison’s Notes published by Ohio University Press; 2nd edition (January 1, 1985). Also see James Madison’s Notes Of Debates In The Federal Convention Of 1787 And Their Relation To A More Perfect Society Of Nations, ed. James Brown Scott (Andesite Press August 24, 2017). Ashbrook Publishing has published Gordon Lloyd’s edition of Madison’s Notes and has created an online      directory of key documents related to the Constitutional Convention. And there is an   inexpensive Modern Library edition.


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