My original RFD for "Resolved: The Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump ..."

Author: Puachu ,

Topic's posts

Posts in total: 1
  • Puachu
    Puachu avatar
    Debates: 3
    Forum posts: 10
    Puachu avatar
    I was forced to rewrite it since it exceeds the 5,000 character limit.  Here it is in full:

    Pro's first contention is that either Trump was President and the Chief Justice had to preside over the trial, or he was not President and therefore could not not be impeached. A catch-22 of sorts, and since the Chief Justice did not preside, the trial was invalid.

    Their second contention is an ad absurdum proof that Trump could not be impeached because he was no longer President, and their third are three historical proofs confirming that this viewpoint is in line with tradition up to the present day (well, up to 2009 at least).  I assume the following sentence contains a typo and should actually read "unconstitutional":

    "Belknap was acquitted because greater than one third of the senators believed that the trial was constitutional."

    Con opens by declaring the pursuit of an "originalist" interpretation of what constitutionality means.  I take this to mean he will show how his position aligns with what the Framers intended. As proof that the Framers understood impeachment to be applicable to former officials, they cite such an instance of a trial occuring in England while the Constitution was actually being written which the authors were aware of.

    Their second argument is that impeachment is not only to dethrone corrupt officials, but to present them from running for office again.

    Their third argument is also an ad absurdum of sorts; the fact that Pro's position implies a corrupt official could avoid being tried on a technicality, simply by having the preparations for the trial take longer than their remaining time in office.

    They list a couple more absurd implications of Pro's position; that a corrupt official cannot practically be impeached if they refrain from corruption until the tail-end of their term, and can avoid being prevented from running for office by merely resigning upon notice of an impending impeachment trial.

    I find their first attempt at interpreting the Constitution literally slightly amusing in light of how they previously emphasized that it can't necessarily be taken literally.

    Not sure what the significance of the distinction between impeachment and other sorts of trials is.

    I agree that the "high crimes and misdemeanours" line is pretty cringe.  President Ford - I mean Con - makes a good point.

    As Round 1 closes I find myself favoring Pro since Con's position seems to hinge largely on a single trial on a different continent over 2 centuries ago, although I acknowledge his reductio ad absurdums demand addressing.

    I am somewhat confused by Pro's first rebuttal, but their second is an atomic bomb that completely obliterates the primary pillar upholding Con's position so far.  Namely, the fact that impeachment in Great Britain applied to private citizens and therefore the comparison to our impeachment was a false analogy.

    The quote from Hamilton is a solid refutation of Con's claim regarding originalism.

    I do believe Pro has satisfactorily rebutted the point about escaping trial by resigning early in order to run for office again, and has accomplished this by pointing out how it didn't occur in any of the cited real-life examples.

    I find it funny how Pro makes an ad absurdum out of their opponent's own ad absurdum with the point about impeaching the dead George Washington.

    I was confused by the line "Private citizens cannot be impeached nor convicted" because I thought it was a direct quote from the Constitution and so a slam-dunk, but upon closer examination it does not appear to be anything more than their own brief interpretation of a passage.

    Regarding the 2 bananas and many apples I will have to scroll back up and remind myself of the context again.  Apparently the apples are the ill-defined "high crimes and misdemeanours" which Pro posits are not relevant to the debate.  I agree.

    I find Con's picking apart of the passage containing "Chief Justice shall preside..." cringeworthy, but they do go on to support their hypothesis with an ad absurdum showing how an overly-literal interpretation does imply the Chief Justice has complete power over whether the President could be impeached.

    Con's rebuttal regarding Contention II, arguing about Pro's ad absurdum being too absurd, seems to downplay their own ad absurdums as well.  This strategy seems self-defeating.

    Con ends Round 2 by putting Pro's 3 real-life examples 6 feet under as far as their relevance to the debate is concerned.  Actually, the one about Belknap seems to support Con's position.

    And I agree with Con regarding the meaning of the word "and".

    Round 4 begins with Pro defending their stance about the Chief Justice presiding and I admit I don't understand any of it.  The context is too far back in the past of the debate for me to remember.  However, the point that specifically "President" Trump is named in the articles of impeachment is serious ammunition that he has for some reason postponed until now.

    The idea that the Chief Justice should be impeached if they refuse to allow the impeachment process is comical, but I find it correct.

    I don't recall the meaning of the point about private versus public citizens, but with the point about "semantic" framework they seem to touch on what I already remarked upon regarding the self-defeating nature of Con's argument.  I agree that "President" meaning "current president" is the most straightforward intended meaning in absence of compelling evidence otherwise.

    Pro's defense of example A is essentially to point out how dismissing it because it involves a future trial which did not actually materialize, unfairly forces a catch-22 scenario where Pro cannot use this as evidence the trial should not take place because the trial did not take place.  At least, that is what I think Pro is saying.

    Honestly I thought example B was beyond hope of rescucitation, but Pro does a good job of reviving it by clarifying that the minority opinion was superior to that of the majority vote because the latter failed to gain the supermajority required to achieve their impeachment, and thus it is indeed the proof of checks and balances in action that Pro held it to be.

    Quoting an actual Founding Father literally agreeing with Pro's own position is a nice tactic, and again I wonder why such evidence was saved until now?

    They convincingly refute last round's accusation of mind-reading Reid by explaining how there's no other explanation for why the impeachment was not carried forward apart from the accused was no longer in office, and could be prevented from running by other means.

    Pro flips me back to their side on the definition of "and".

    Con hand-waves away the defenses of the examples as if they do not deserve any more attention, but I do not believe this is at all the case.

    His interpretation of the passage about removal from office  "singly" or also with disqualification seems incredibly strained.  I expected some elaboration but there was none.

    It is now Day 3 of me writing this reason for voting and in the interest of my own time I shall be more brief.

    For me, what the final tally comes down to is the examples, the meaning of the phrase containing "singly", and the Founding Father quotes, of which Pro had most explicitly supporting their own viewpoint.

    I do think Pro successfully defended their use of examples because Con's argument is essentially trying to define the standards such that they cannot use any example of a trial failing to materialize as precedent for why a trial should not materialize.

    Regarding the passage with "singly", I have not been swayed by Con's arguments to interpret it in a non-literal way.

    For these reasons I award argument points to Pro, and not because of the impending sense of doom they emanated by insinuating a vote for Con is a vote to extend the tentacles of Congress to our doorsteps.

    I additionally award source points to Pro because of their 3 examples.  I feel Con's single example was inferior if not in quality at least in quantity.

    Both sides were very well-written and conduct was equally professional.