Legislative Oversight is Fine

Thanks to Greg Weiner for calling our attention to the recent provocative column by George Will on legislative oversight of the media ecosystem. I am a long time fan and a friend of George Will. The issues he raises here, and almost always, are worth taking very seriously. But there are two serious errors in this column. The first mistake is to stipulate in advance that there is no legislative oversight role for the problem of a polluted media ecosystem because it is hard to envision legislative solutions. Oversight hearings are useful precisely because they help the citizenry understand what … Continue reading Legislative Oversight is Fine

On Civic Education

Ben Kleinerman recently posted a link to an article about the Jack Miller Center, its programs, and its grants which include funding for this publication. The organization is a wonderful success story for American civic education and I am delighted to be affiliated with it and pleased that Ben has highlighted it. However, I don’t think that Ben does justice to the excellence of the Jack Miller Center effort or to our aspirations for this site. Ben’s description would likely resonate well with many affiliated with these efforts — so my criticism is not of Ben, personally, but of the … Continue reading On Civic Education

The Limits of Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell’s speech after the vote to acquit Donald Trump was astounding. It was so damning and unequivocal in endorsing the case that Trump had indeed abused his office by inciting an insurrection that many of us stared at the television in disbelief. How could a Senator vote to acquit if he was so prepared and persuaded to make an argument as compelling the House manager’s own closing speeches? The fact of McConnell’s speech will help render the historical meaning of this impeachment different from all prior presidential impeachments. Trump may have been acquitted. But he lost. He lost big. … Continue reading The Limits of Mitch McConnell

There is no intelligent first amendment defense to Trump’s impeachment

It is hard to believe that First Amendment protection for free speech would be a cornerstone of a president’s defense to incessant lies, mobilizing pressure on Congress to act unconstitutionally, inciting a mob to violence, and dereliction of duty as violence ensued — but Donald Trump’s lawyers are making such an argument. I was pleased to join a large group of constitutional scholars and lawyers pushing back. The obvious arguments are made in a letter and summarized in the New York Times piece today about it. Continue reading There is no intelligent first amendment defense to Trump’s impeachment

House Managers’ Case for the Impeachment Trial

Ben Kleinerman and I participated in an interesting roundtable/debate with John Yoo on the upcoming impeachment trial, sponsored by the Constitutional Studies program at Notre Dame and James Madison’s Montpelier in Virginia. It was recorded by Notre Dame and should be posted soon. John Yoo argued that the Article for inciting insurrection was crafted too narrowly and legalistically (read it yourself and you will see that it is a broad political charge of gross abuse of office beginning with events well before January 6, and I argue also bolstered by evidence of dereliction of duty on January 6) and Yoo … Continue reading House Managers’ Case for the Impeachment Trial

Yes, a Trial is Constitutional

One of the stunning developments in recent days is the rush to embrace the notion that because Donald Trump is no longer in office, he cannot be tried for abuse of office for which he was successfully impeached during his time in office. This idea has been attractive to GOP Senators who do not wish to confront the assault on the constitutional order directly for fear of offending their supporters — including many supporters who are just fine with insurrection and violence. The conservative constitutional scholar Keith Whittington has detailed why original intent, original meaning, and the structure and values … Continue reading Yes, a Trial is Constitutional

Dereliction of Duty

In The Bulwark, William Kristol and I argue that although dereliction of duty is not a separate Article of Impeachment voted by the House against Donald Trump nor is it explicitly mentioned in the Article on incitement to insurrection, evidence of dereliction of duty can and should be used at the Senate trial as part of a multi-faceted case for gross abuse of power that led to the insurrection at the Capitol. This piece continues a conversation initiated by Laura Field, here and here. Continue reading Dereliction of Duty