Exactly. This kind of political short-sightedness is what gave us the nuclear option in the senate as though an opposition party would never again be in control. It’s what lead to people cheering every executive office power grab under Obama, though use of the same powers under Trump brings cries of authoritarianism.
I hate to generalize, but this sort of shortsightedness is a necessary component of most liberal policies, and in particular, these strange, retrograde ideologues called “progressives.”
Greg Fish raised the fact that the person who first advanced the concept that a sitting president could not be indicted was Robert Bork. No context was included, so let’s add some.
- Bork, when he faced confirmation for the SCOTUS, was *generally* considered to be the most brilliant legal scholar of his day, much like Lawrence Tribe is today. The fact that he saw it one way, and some law professor named Rotunda saw it the other way does NOT mean that the score is tied. :-)
- I’m posting a counter argument from the lefty democrat law professor and unabashed Trump hater, Cass Sundstein, who agrees with Bork, not Rotunda, and explains the reasons WHY.
- And, of course, although Bork was rendering an opinion, it was an opinion based *solidly* on the Constitution, which reads as follows:
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
And, it wasn’t just Bork who saw it that way…….there’s another interpretation from a guy named Alexander Hamilton:
“The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.”
The problem with Rotunda’s argument is that presidential immunity from criminal prosecution — while in office — is a pretty reasonable inference from the constitutional design. Whether or not you like the current occupant of the Oval Office, he has an awesome array of responsibilities. Even on a slow day, numerous decisions reach his desk. They might involve potential terrorist attacks, a looming epidemic, immigration or air pollution. Facing a criminal prosecution seems fatally incompatible with the president’s constitutional role.
And when challenged with the fact that the Court allowed Paula Jones’s suit against Clinton to go forward:
That’s a fair question, but a criminal proceeding is unique, and the problem isn’t really about scheduling. Realistically speaking, any White House would be pretty well disabled if the president is under a criminal indictment and faces the prospect of trial and imprisonment.
That last one is what scares me most: We have an entire class of people right now who don’t think into the future any longer than their noses. Like Harry Reid pulling the nuclear option on non-SCOTUS judicial nominees, they don’t think through the consequences of their preferred action. One respondent to Fish actually (comically, actually) wrote this:
If the head of state does not have to answer to the rule of law, then you live in a dictatorship.
Well, not only is that technically incorrect (a dictator, as a matter of definition, must not have a term limit and have no accountability whatsoever, PLUS the fact that the Constitution does *not* mean a President doesn’t have to answer to the rule of law, the ironic part is that the poster who wrote the above (and who presumably believes that the President should be indictable) describes him/herself as THIS:
Anarcho-communist, pantheist, and proud SJW
…. while supporting a policy that would inevitably lead to the advancement of a system of government that looked more like a dictatorial communist state with a Politburo than anything anarchic.