Does America need a “purge?”
“Purges” may sound counter to the “American Experience,” but a “constitution violation purge” is what we need at this stage in democracy’s recovery. Ignore what Congressional Trump allies are arguing. It’s not about Trump per se.
It’s about the Constitution.
6 reasons for following through on criminal prosecution of Donald J. Trump:
- Grievances of violating the Constitution get aired;
- Executive Branch pardon power will be tested by the Supreme Court;
- Trump will be excluded from ever serving in a federal office — in any capacity;
- “Precedent” can extend to all future trials of elected federal officials, including members of Congress;
- “Executive Immunity” expires once Trump leaves office;
- “Impeachable offenses argument” which some Trump allies have acknowledged (1) provides framework for future prosecution and litigation, eg. “no one, including the President, is above the law.”
The “newest oldest” tool to defend democracy: section 3, Amendment 14, US Constitution
“It is not the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that is important here, it is the 14th.” (2)
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment reads:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
The script of narrowness
What’s trenchant about section 3 is the narrowness of its wording. Not withstanding what the previous Trump impeachment legal team — Jay Sekolow, Jonathan Turley and Alan Dershowitz — may attempt to cloud with a legal smoke screen, section 3 is quite specific. In the interpretation of its extent — here’s where a “purge” is restrained — section 3 leaves to 2/3 of both House and Senate members the burden to argue for removal from office based on evidence of “insurrection, rebellion and given aid or comfort.”
Attending the impeachment act signing today, Speaker of the House Pelosi was dressed in black, answered no questions and offered that she was heart-broken. The acts were signed by her quickly, no pens handed out. A staff member swept up the signed impeachment act and the crowd then dispersed with camera clicks trailing off
This was a show for those yet to tune in to the gravity, disgust and disappointment of a President being impeached twice, this time by members of both political parties.
Institutions frayed, norms broken, graves exposed — once again in a President’s tenure, Congressional leaders revisited the Constitution well. Speaker Pelosi understands that half of amnesiac America may not want to watch, but the nation must watch. Half of Congress may not want to enforce the US Constitution, but the nation demands it.
Section 3 enforcement, the counter argument goes, will raise the specter of a fractured society. Deniers will seek equal protection, will seek relief. However, to the argument of a conspiracy or a purge, Section 3 does not provide any defense: written into section 3 is intent and abuse; no “conspiracy” loophole here.
“They impeach him, okay. But he’ll get away with not paying his taxes. And that’s not right.”
-Johnny, a friend and neighbor
Compiled and written, January 13–15
1-Notably, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham during speeches on the Senate floor, Tuesday, January 12.
2-Impeachment and the 25th Amendment Won’t Work, But There Is Something That Will by Mitchell Plitnick