Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy was in rare form on Saturday and his NRO op-ed is worth reading in its entirety.
…The Constitution assumes that the different branches of government will protect their institutional turf. That is, the Framers calculated that, faced with a Democratic president who usurps legislative prerogatives, a Democratic congressman would see himself, first and foremost, as a congressman. Valuing the duties of his office over party loyalty, he would join with other legislators to rein in executive excess.
Today’s Democrats, however, are less members of a party than of the movement Left. Their objective, like Obama’s, is fundamental transformation of a society rooted in individual liberty and private property to one modeled on top-down, redistributionist statism. Since statism advances by concentrating governmental power, Democrats — regardless of what governmental branch they happen to inhabit — rally to whatever branch holds the greatest transformative potential. Right now, that is the presidency. Thus, congressional Democrats do not insist that the president must comply with congressional statutes. Laws, after all, must be consistent with the Constitution to be valid, and are thus apt to reflect the very constitutional values the Left is trying to supplant. Democrats want the president to use the enormous raw power vested in his office by Article II to achieve statist transformation. If he does so, they will support him. They’ll get back to obsessing over the “rule of law” if, by some misfortune, the Republicans someday win another presidential election.
…Impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. Thus the quasi-legal component — proving high crimes and misdemeanors — is the easy part. As a practical matter, fundamental transformation cannot occur without high crimes and misdemeanors being committed against the constitutional order that is being transformed. That’s the whole point.
So, as one would expect, President Obama is intentionally and sweepingly violating his oath of office. He is not faithfully executing federal law — he picks, chooses, “waives,” and generally makes up law as he goes along. He has willfully and materially misled the American people — his Obamacare and Benghazi lies being only the most notorious examples. He has been woefully derelict in his duty to protect and defend Americans overseas. His administration trumped up a shameful prosecution (under the guise of a “supervised release violation”) against a filmmaker in order to bolster the “Benghazi massacre was caused by an anti-Muslim video” charade…
…His administration has used the federal bureaucracy to usurp Congress’s legislative powers and to punish political enemies. Obama has presumed to make recess appointments when Congress was not in recess. His administration intentionally allowed firearms to be transferred to Mexican drug cartels, predictably resulting in numerous violent crimes, including the murder of a Border Patrol agent. His administration — and, in particular, the Justice Department — has routinely stonewalled lawmakers and frustrated their capacity to perform agency oversight, to the point that the attorney general has been held in contempt of Congress. The Obama Justice Department, moreover, has filed vexatious lawsuits against sovereign states over their attempts to vindicate their constitutional authorities (and, indeed, to enforce federal immigration laws), while the Justice Department itself adheres to racially discriminatory enforcement policies in violation of the Constitution and federal civil-rights laws.
This is not an exhaustive list of Obama abuses, but you get the idea. If the only issue were commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, the Constitution requires only one for impeachment — not the Obama pace, which is more like one per week.
But here is the important thing: High crimes and misdemeanors are a subordinate consideration. In an impeachment case, they are necessary but they are not close to being sufficient. Because impeachment is a political remedy, its most essential component is the popular political will to remove a president from power.
…As things now stand, the public is not convinced. There is no political will to remove the president…
…Absent the political will to remove the president, he will remain president no matter how many high crimes and misdemeanors he stacks up. And absent the removal of the president, the United States will be fundamentally transformed.
As the pro bloggers say, read the whole thing.
But if impeachment isn’t today an option, are there other alternatives?
Writing at The Black Sphere, J. Andrew Peak suggests that there are.
In the age of reality television, what better than a trial of a president?
The People vs. Barack Obama should be held in two phases… The first phase could be a televised, one hour, grand jury indictment for each matter: Obamacare fraud during passage, its ongoing rewriting and the disparate application thereof; Benghazi; Fast and Furious; IRS scandal; NSA scandal; corruption, etc., etc., etc. If a true bill was returned by the grand jury so impaneled, that single matter would be referred to trial and docketed for a later date. If not, the case on those individual counts would be dismissed.
At trial both sides could be given a finite and equal time, wherein they could enter facts into evidence, give short openings and brief summations and provide oral arguments. Perhaps each affirmative count returned by the grand jury could itself be a two hour television special, broadcast on the weekend, with a brief discovery of public knowledge beforehand and a vetting of facts “in chambers” prior to trial.
Each “trial” could be conducted in a combination of both “mock” and “moot” fashion where an impartial panel of jurors was seated, facts heard, issues presented, the jury appropriately charged and a single poll of the jury taken. A simple majority carries the issue.
…Admittedly, these trials would have no force of law. Nor would they be legally binding. But they would serve two very important functions.
First they would act as an explanation to, and education of, the people. They would serve to inform the populace as to the issues in question and wherein the abusive dangers lie.
Second, any “true bills”, “findings” or “convictions”, made by those impaneled, when splashed across the headlines, would serve to pressure the administration and their agents in Congress to answer, explain, dismiss and rationalize such judgments made by the people.
This alone is the preeminent function of the press – to make those in power answer.
This is a great idea: a reality show.
I suggest Mark Levin and Andrew C. McCarthy for the prosecution; perhaps Alan Dershowitz and Simon Lazarus for the defense.
This, my friends, would be a true ratings bonanza.
And POTUS is such a narcissist, I’d wager anything he’d be glued to the TV watching.
Hat tip: BadBlue Real-Time News. Related: Constitutional Crisis Comix.
Doug Ross @ Journal