Skepticism About (Another) Impeachment

A word on Ewing and Sumrall’s thoughtful essay. I think it’s powerful, well done, and agree with the general take on impeachment. But given that impeachment is, in essence, a political question, I think prudential judgments should be a large part of deciding whether to go forward with impeachment. Here I’m not so sure it’s worth the time and effort because I’m skeptical of the benefits. The failure to remove Trump last time around—an impeachment I supported—clearly emboldened him. Sure, he won’t be in office after Jan 20, but will a second failure to remove embolden others in the future? Part of your argument is that impeachment will instruct the public and office holders. But just what will it teach? Given that there’s no chance of removal, will this reveal the futility of Congressional checks rather than the power of Congress? The strongest part of the case, it seems to me, is your suggestion that Trump can be impeached and if 50 plus Senators go along, not removed (which requires 2/3s), but disqualified from holding office in the future. 

That is intriguing and may well reaffirm Congress’s constitutional standing. If, that is, a few Republicans go along. But could you actually get anyone other than Romney? If so, maybe having a Republican civil war, so to speak, could be a healthy first step to restoring a sensible center right party. Let the Republican Party divide into its constitutional and anti-constitutional factions. I’m not sure how that plays out. And I have two lingering concerns. First, disqualification with 51 plus votes, but not 2/3s, may well end up in the courts. Not sure that’s all that helpful or healthy going forward. Second, I worry that it may create an even worse environment for the incoming Biden administration, doing more harm than good. 

But I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and the thoughts of others. 

3 thoughts on “Skepticism About (Another) Impeachment

Leave a Reply