I don’t know if there is a writing genre called “legal fantasy” but if there would be, Alan Dershowitz would be it’s premiere man of letters. He bends and twists the law in ways that are exercises in imagination and creative writing far more than they are legal analysis and commentary. On his latest outing in his quixotic quest to defend Donald Trump from impeachment, in a Wall Street Journal op/ed, Dershowitz goes over constitutional impeachment provisions and the phrases “high crimes and misdemeanors” and he concludes that members of Congress should be “reasonable and conscientious” in applying the words. So far so good. Then he goes south. Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg: But he goes badly wrong when he tries to interpret the phrase in a way that immunizes Trump. “As for the allegations against President Trump, obstruction of justice is plainly a high crime, but a president cannot commit it by exercising his constitutional authority to fire or pardon, regardless of his motive.” Dershowitz may be referring to the firing of James Comey or to reports that Trump has promised pardons for aides if they break laws while following his orders. Or he may merely be establishing the principle that Trump can’t have committed an impeachable act of obstruction while exercising his constitutional powers. But that can’t be right. James Madison said during the Virginia ratifying convention that the Constitution provided “one security” against a president who urged a crime and then pardoned it: impeachment and removal. […] He proceeds to issue another grant of immunity, which also falls apart under scrutiny. “Neither is it a crime to conduct foreign policy for partisan or personal advantage,” he writes, “a common political sin with no limiting principle capable of being applied in a neutral manner.” (While he never gives specifics, Dershowitz is clearly saying Trump should not be impeached for pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.) […] The question Dershowitz raises, then, is whether our reasonable and conscientious member of Congress should hesitate to vote against a president for conducting foreign policy for personal advantage because it requires making a judgment – because it necessitates acting on a standard that cannot be articulated in the mechanical way we would ideally want a legal rule to be. This is where Dershowitz gets in and twists and turns his legal argument every which way, not with the ideal of figuring out exactly what the Constitution says and how it should be applied, which is what any legitimate lawyer, let alone legal scholar would do. No, Dershowitz is looking, once again, to use the Constitution as fodder to go on Fox News and spin, for the sole purpose of exculpating Trump and keeping him in power. I recommend that you read both Dershowitz’ Wall Street Journal op/ed and the Bloomberg critique, both linked to herein, in their entirety. Then you will once again ask yourself the $64,000 question: How did a once reknowned and respected legal scholar degenerate to these depths and become the lackey of one such as Donald Trump? This is an issue that I have researched in depth and believe that I have the answer to and that is the substance of the rest of this piece. As time has passed, Dershowitz has joined a posse of Trump-serving advocates who have abandoned objective truth […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.