As the days and weeks pass since the partisan vote on the Articles of Impeachment for “obstruction of Congress” and “abuse of power,” the impact of that vote by the House of Representatives on Dec. 18, 2019, still stands. Whether the articles actually make it to the Senate or not, the history-making, purely partisan vote by the House Democrats will live on. It has set a precedent of political partisanship that our Founding Fathers dreaded, yet predicted, would happen.
As Senator Mitch McConnell said in his Dec. 19 Senate Floor speech:
“The framers of our Constitution very specifically discussed whether the House should be able to impeach presidents just for “maladministration”— in other words, because the House simply thought the president had bad judgment or was doing a bad job. The written records of the founders’ debates show they specifically rejected this. They realized it would create total dysfunction to set the bar for impeachment that low. James Madison himself explained that allowing impeachment on that basis would mean the President serves at the pleasure of the Congress instead of the pleasure of the American people. It would make the President a creature of Congress, not the head of a separate and equal branch. So there were powerful reasons why Congress after Congress for 230 years required presidential impeachments to revolve around clear, recognizable crimes, even though that was not a strict limitation.
Powerful reasons why, for 230 years, no House opened the Pandora’s box of subjective, political impeachments.”
But the House Democrats ruined that 230-year run.
Precedent is important. It is what draws the line for future reference; what was done can be done again. The precedent of this partisan investigation – with Dem. Rep. Adam Schiff acting as prosecutor; the Republican minority cut out of the process; the president denied the same procedural rights offered to past presidents; and the president’s legal counsel unable to participate in the hearings, present evidence or cross-examine witnesses – gravely weakened the standard for impeachment investigations in the United States of America. As we move forward as a nation, we will have to live with that.
But we should not be surprised by this. This is not the first time the Democrats have created “cases” from rumors (hearsay), lies, emotions and zero evidence. The Kavanaugh hearing was just this - a “trial” of guilty until proven innocent, which is at odds with the fundamentals of the American justice system. Dem. Rep. Quigley stated in the Intelligence Committee Hearings that hearsay can be better than direct evidence. If this is the new standard of evidence to be considered in the pursuit of truth, then “law” and “order” will no longer live in this nation.
This investigation, how it was run and the actual “findings” have set a precedent for future impeachment inquiries. Now, whenever a political party is upset or frustrated or emotionally distraught, they can create a “case” to state why the president should be removed from office. This is dangerous.
Our very own representative in WI-03, Dem. Ron Kind voted for this case that lacked clear evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor. One would think that a former lawyer, like himself, would see the lack of evidence in the case and dismiss it. But, a partisan vote is a partisan vote. After voting in support of impeachment, Kind put out a statement, which included:
“My vote today was not about the President himself—more importantly, it was about defending the rule of law, our Constitution, and what signal we send future presidents of what is acceptable behavior.”
It may not have seemingly been about the President, but it is about precedent.
To quote Senator McConnell again from his Dec. 19 speech, “History matters. Precedent matters.”
A new line has been drawn for the standard of the impeachment of an American president. This decision will live in infamy, with the impacts haunting the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches. The real crime in this process is the lack of representation for the American people by representatives who are there to serve the citizens of their country, state and district… not their party.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jessi Ebben will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Representative from Wisconsin's 3rd District, currently held by Ron Kind.