The Hollowood farce that was the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump

Author: fauxlaw ,

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  • fauxlaw
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    On reflection, the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump ended as a farce worse than any Hollowood boxoffice bomb. Yet, it had its moments. Sidney Lumet, who I consider may have been the best screenwriter in Hollowood ever. However, even he may not have been capable of scripting this clown act. The plot featured a keystone cops' effort to determine adequate impeachable offenses from a Russian peddling scandal to a porn star's knickers, an Inspector Clouseau to a Ukrainian floor show. All this scripted by two clowns in two legs of a mother's bloomers who separately leaped together to the mic to present closing argument.
    Hollowood, you have a new, farcical comedy to present to the Academy. It has Oscar in it's sights, let alone in a cameo role. His solid gold silence may make a better prosecution than sending in the clowns.

  • Dr.Franklin
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    Russia to ukraine

    Now back to Russia!!!
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @fauxlaw
    I would suggest that actual impeachability is only relative to the ability of the system to impeach at a given time, irrespective of factuality.
    As such the real "farce" is the inherent corruptibility of the system, and it has to be said, that this is probably applicable to any democratic system.
    Isn't that sort of how democracy works?

    Of course, in this instance the central characters unavoidably lend themselves to farcical interpretation.

    For us ordinary working folk that live in a relatively free and fair society, politics and government and how they are portrayed in the media, tend to be regarded more as entertainment anyway, rather than something that constantly needs to be taken seriously. After all, our only really serious input into our respective nations politics is where we choose to stick a cross every four or five years or so.

  • fauxlaw
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    --> @zedvictor4
    Of course, in this instance the central characters unavoidably lend themselves to farcical interpretation.

    That was exactly my point. Individuals can make or break a monumental exercise. This one was adequately broken, after 5 months of theatrics [if you really think about it, it was 48 months - from the very hour of Trump's inauguration], by 30 seconds of keystone cops. Hollowood, all the way.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @fauxlaw
    Of course, it is inevitably a circus when impeachment is used by the Congress to counter the checks on the Congress from the Presidency. 

    Congress had zero constitutional authority to subpoena Trump, and the SCOTUS ruled as such after the impeachment. If the Congress would have waited for the SCOTUS ruling, there would have been no "Obstruction of Congress" impeachment. 

    The office of the President has a DUTY and constitutional Obligation to act as a check on Congress, even if you call it "obstruction"

    Andrew Johnson was impeached for essentially the exact same thing, and the law they tried to impeach Johnson over was essentially repealed by the SCOTUS.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Greyparrot
    I completely agree
  • dustryder
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    --> @Greyparrot
    What SCOTUS ruling was this and how does it address the US v Nixon ruling?
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @dustryder


    Chief Justice William Howard Taft, writing for the Court, noted that the Constitution does mention the appointment of officials, but is silent on their dismissal. An examination of the notes of the Constitutional Convention, however, showed that this silence was intentional: the Convention did discuss the dismissal of executive-branch staff and believed it was implicit in the Constitution that the President did hold the exclusive power to remove his staff, whose existence was an extension of the President's own authority.

    The Court, therefore, found that the statute was unconstitutional, for it violated the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. In reaching this decision, it also expressly found the Tenure of Office Act, which had imposed a similar requirement on other Presidential appointees and played a key role in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, to have been invalid; it had been repealed by Congress some years before this decision.

    Basically, the SCOTUS says the President can fire any executive branch appointee at whim.

    Trump is having a very similar case regarding the question of the separation of powers being heard by the SCOTUS at the moment and will most likely have a favorable ruling early this summer.

    The gist of the case can be gleaned from the introduction.

    This is a case of firsts. It is the first time that Congress has subpoenaed personal records of a sitting President. It is the first time that Congress has issued a subpoena, under the guise of its legislative powers, to investigate the President for illegal conduct. And, itis the first time a court has upheld any congressional subpoena for any sitting President’s records of any kind.

    Now, under the D.C. Circuit’s decision, Congress can subpoena any private records it wishes from the president on the mere assertion that it is considering legislation that might require presidents to disclose that same information. Given the obvious temptation to investigate the personal affairs of political rivals, subpoenas concerning the private lives of presidents will become routine in times of divided government. It is unsurprising, then, that the one thing the district court, the panel, and the dissenting judges all agreed upon is that this case raises important separation-of-powers issues. At its core, this controversy is about whether—and to what degree—Congress can exercise dominion and control over the Office of the President. The Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S.House of Representatives takes the view, supported by the D.C. Circuit, that every committee of Congress may subpoena the President’s personal records, that the Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to investigate the President’s wrongdoing so long as it also promises to consider remedial legislation, and that Congress can statutorily require presidents to disclose their personal finances.

    These are profoundly serious constitutional questions that the Court, not Congress should decide. But not only are these weighty constitutional issues, the D.C. Circuit incorrectly decided them. The Committee’s investigation of the President lacks a legitimate legislative purpose. It is a law-enforcement investigation about uncovering whether the President engaged in wrongdoing. Nor can the investigation possibly result in valid legislation.

    The Constitution—not Congress—created the Office of the President. Congress, accordingly, cannot require the President to disclose his finances or otherwise expand or alter the office's qualifications. Yet the D.C. Circuit never should have reached these issues because the Committee lacks express statutory authorization to subpoena the President.

    An express statement from the Court should be required given the separation-of-powers issues that are raised by unleashing every committee to subpoena every president for his personal records. This Court traditionally grants certiorari when the President has been subjected to novel legal process and seeks review. The Court has recognized that the President’s objections merit “respectful and deliberate consideration.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 689-90(1997). This approach is not out of concern for any“particular President,” but for the sake of “the Presidency itself.” Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392,2418 (2018). This case should be no exception.
  • dustryder
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    --> @Greyparrot
    What does that have to do with SCOTUS ruling that congress does not have the constitutional authority to subpoena the executive branch?
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @dustryder
    Greyparrot's explanation above clearly answers your question, but you must do more than skim the paragraphs, as most people today tend to "read." READ it. Read it again, if necessary. Yes, legal discussion is often enough to bore one to tears. Get over it. Read.
  • dustryder
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    --> @fauxlaw
    I disagree. Greyparrot made reference to the existence of a SCOTUS decision that indicates that congress has zero constitutional authority to subpoena Trump.

    Nowhere in his text do I find that decision.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @dustryder
    Didn't get it, yet. Read to the end. The very end.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @fauxlaw
    The case is pretty simple cut and dry. If you reverse the situation and ask yourself if the President has the constitutional authority to imprison a member of Congress, use a FISA warrant to get his FBI to investigate a member of Congress, get the IRS to target a member of Congress, or ask for sworn testimony, finances, or anything else he could ask in order to intimidate a sitting member of Congress. Clearly, the SCOTUS would say that it is a violation of the constitutional separation of powers in all of these cases.

    The case isn't about feelings or wrong or right. It's all about constitutional authority. No one branch should have special extra powers over the other branches.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @fauxlaw
    We just recently had a ranking member of Congress do something publicly along these lines. He publicly called out 2 SCOTUS judges by name in an attempt to intimidate the judges to vote his way. This is also clearly a violation of the separation of powers. There are some people who want to fundamentally change the government to resemble a parliamentary system like Britain has. Where mob rule IS the rule. They want the Consolidation of power and not the separation of power.

    This "6 ways from Sunday" method to run the government as Schumer famously said is not what the founders had in mind when they constructed the constitutional three branches of government.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Greyparrot
    I concur with both posts. Seems to me, Congress, in some respects, and as stated by some members, too many to mention, seem to believe this matter of oversight [a non-existent term in the Constitution, yet the concept surely has relevance] is an exclusive tool of Congress, ignoring that both other branches also have oversight of Congress. 
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @fauxlaw
    Wow. lol, I didn't know you literally wrote the book on this subject.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Greyparrot
    Actually, I have. Title: Faux Law, available on Amazon Books. It's a discussion of misinterpretation of constitutional language as committed by the Supreme Court, the president, Congress, and we, the people. I use the extended metaphor that we treat the Constitution like a cafeteria: chose this, change that, ignore the other.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @fauxlaw
    As a notable scholar, what are your thoughts about the SCOTUS rulings on the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3)?

    Specifically, what do you think the original intent was and where do you see the SCOTUS going with this clause based on recent interpretations?

  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Greyparrot
    Well, thanks for the compliment, but I'm just a student. Have been all my life.
    To your question, give me a small delay. I do the cooking for the family, and I don't do hot dogs. Tonight is shrimp scampi on angel hair pasta with a Sherry-based lobster cream sauce. If you can find me, welcome to the table!
  • ILikePie5
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    --> @Greyparrot
    The Constitution—not Congress—created the Office of the President. Congress, accordingly, cannot require the President to disclose his finances or otherwise expand or alter the office's qualifications. Yet the D.C. Circuit never should have reached these issues because the Committee lacks express statutory authorization to subpoena the President. 

    An express statement from the Court should be required given the separation-of-powers issues that are raised by unleashing every committee to subpoena every president for his personal records. This Court traditionally grants certiorari when the President has been subjected to novel legal process and seeks review. The Court has recognized that the President’s objections merit “respectful and deliberate consideration.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 689-90(1997). This approach is not out of concern for any“particular President,” but for the sake of “the Presidency itself.” Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392,2418 (2018). This case should be no exception.

    A freakin men.