January 30, 2020 · 11:51 pm
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 4.
By the time you read this post, the impeachment proceedings against President Trump may have wound down to their inevitable conclusion. This was only the third such trial in our nation’s 230-year history, which renders such occasions as rare as Halley’s Comet. Like the Comet, they are worth careful observation.
Much of the debate has centered on the nature of impeachable offenses. Are such offenses limited to criminal conduct? Or may non-criminal conduct – such as abuse of power – qualify? Both sides have recognized that this issue affects not only President Trump but also future presidents.
Very little has been written or said, however, about another group of public officials affected by this question: federal judges.
We have all heard repeatedly that Article II, Section 4 provides for removal from office only after “Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” But we rarely hear the words preceding it: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States.” Federal judges are civil officers of the United States, so whatever precedents may be created by the trial of President Trump, they will apply to judges as well. Continue reading →
November 17, 2019 · 10:25 pm
I go to my favorite hot dog stand
And the dude says,
“You come here all the time! Here’s one for free”
I said, “Man! What I look like? A charity case?”
I took it and threw it on the ground!
I don’t need your handouts!
I’m an adult!
You can’t buy me hot dog, man!
The Lonely Island (“Threw it on the Ground”)
In his Threw It On the Ground video, Adam Samberg demonstrates to an energy drink salesman, a hot dog vendor, his girlfriend, and others, that he is not a man to be trifled with. Whether he is handed a free sample drink, a complimentary hot dog, or a cellphone on which his Dad is calling, he shows his fierce independence by throwing it on the ground.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not exactly throw President Donald Trump’s October 9, 2019 letter on the ground, but he was animated by the same defiant spirit when he visited the White House and returned the letter to its author.
In fairness to the Turkish President, President Trump’s letter could be viewed, much like the hot dog man’s gesture, as an attempt to buy him. The U.S. leader had written that in return for halting his invasion of Syria, Trump would help him “make a great deal.” Not only that, but also: “History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way.” He warned him not to be “a tough guy” or “a fool.”
According to early reports, Erdogan threw the letter, not on the ground, but in the garbage bin. Continue reading →
November 18, 2018 · 5:56 pm
“The day I had my colonoscopy was the best day of my life,” Everett Staley told me. Staley liked to shock. But he tended to tell the truth.
“I hated the prep of course. But the colonoscopy itself lingers in my memory like a comforting dream.” Even now, the thought evoked a sigh from Staley.
I should explain something. Everett Staley’s colonoscopy occurred toward the end of what he called his “Year of Pain.” He was in pain, more or less constantly, for more than twelve months. It had nothing to do with his colonoscopy. The colonoscopy was merely a foil to make the Year of Pain more understandable.
“Whenever I go in for a colonoscopy, I always ask them to go easy on the anesthetic so I can watch,” Staley said. “The inside of your intestines are up on a monitor, you know. If you’re not fully knocked out, you can watch the doctor’s progress. I like to watch and pose questions and offer advice. At least I think that’s what I’m doing. Maybe I’m just dreaming.” Staley paused and reconsidered. “The truth is, I asked them to go easy on the anesthetic this time so I’d be conscious enough to enjoy it.”
“Enjoy what?” I asked.
“The absence of pain.”
Continue reading →
March 17, 2016 · 12:38 pm
In light of President Obama’s nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, partisans on both sides of the political aisle are shocked – shocked – to discover that the other side is playing politics. But there is an important difference. The Democrats are playing smart. The Republicans are playing dumb.
That should not come as a surprise. After all, this is the year the Republicans have shown themselves hell-bent on ensuring that they lose the presidential election. While the Democrats proceed to nominate Hillary Clinton — a figure so shady that she is widely viewed by her own Party as untrustworthy — the Republicans are en route to nominate Donald Trump, their one candidate who consistently lags well behind Clinton in the polls. And for good measure, he lags even farther behind Bernie Sanders.
That is dumb politics. But the Republican Party position on the nomination of Judge Garland is, if possible, even dumber. Continue reading →