The Democrats in Congress seem intent on rewriting the Constitution and rewriting precedent on how things are supposed to be done. The latest rewrite involves the comment by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that she will delay forwarding articles of impeachment to the Senate until she is convinced that the Senate trial will be fair. That is an amazing statement given the total unfairness of the trial in the House of Representatives, but it also goes against precedent. I am not a lawyer, but one lawyer who graduated from Harvard Law School has weighed in on what may happen next.
Yesterday Breitbart posted an article written by Joel B. Pollak about the legal aspect of what Speaker Pelosi is doing.
The article reports:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appears to be considering an idea Democrats have floated for several days of holding back the articles of impeachment to exercise leverage over the Senate and the president.
She declined formally to transmit the articles to the Senate on Wednesday evening after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
Unfortunately for them, the Senate can act, regardless — and would vote to acquit.
That’s because the Constitution is absolutely clear about the Senate’s authority. Article I, Section 3 says: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
That is all.
The Chief Justice presides over a trial involving the president, but the Senate makes the rules. And the Senate is controlled by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who regards what the House has done with contempt.
You’re in Cocaine Mitch’s court, now.
Politico outlined Democrats’ new idea, citing constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe (but, interestingly, not the Constitution itself). Pelosi hopes to pressure McConnell into holding a “fair trial” — this, after she and her party broke every relevant House rule and precedent, and several Amendments in the Bill of Rights, all in the name of their “sole Power of Impeachment.”
They forget that a “fair trial” applies to the accused, not the accuser, and has since 1215.
The article notes the contradiction between what Speaker Pelosi is doing now and previous statements by House of Representatives regarding impeachment.
The article concludes:
If Pelosi refuses to submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, McConnell can convene the Senate anyway, summon the Chief Justice, and swear in the Senators as jurors. Democrats can boycott, but they can’t stop the trial.
McConnell can then propose to dismiss the charges or even hold a vote to acquit the president.
Pelosi can hide the articles of impeachment in Adam Schiff’s basement forever, and it won’t make a bit of difference.
Stay tuned. This entire process has turned the Constitution on its head–from the rights of the accused, to vague articles of impeachment, to ignoring precedents involved in impeachment.