A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

As some of my colleagues here know, I was a bit frustrated throughout the second impeachment that there wasn’t more focus on Trump’s dereliction of duty on January 6. It seemed clear to me at the time that the dereliction charge would have been more intuitive than the incitement to violence charge, because everyone knew at the time that, in the very least, Trump failed to protect the Capitol when it mattered. It seemed to me that setting the bar low like this would have made conviction more likely. Jeffrey Tulis and Bill Kristol wrote about this in the lead-up … Continue reading A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

Sticky post

Some Links, re: The Claremont Institute

The Claremont Institute, home to the notorious “Flight 93 Election,” has published some bizarre essays lately, which, given what they’ve gotten up to in the past, is really saying something. I have in mind Charles Kesler’s non-apologia about Trump and January 6, which readers can find in the current edition of the Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton’s non-apologia about Trump and January 6 (same place), and Arthur Milikh’s recent announcement of Claremont’s new Center for “The American Way of Life.” There is a lot a person could say about this group. Many of its affiliates were supporters of Trump, … Continue reading Some Links, re: The Claremont Institute

Jeffrey Isaac On Political Asymmetries (and Evaluative Standards in Journalism)

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Isaac, who is a professor at Indiana University and friendly contributor to The Constitutionalist, wrote a great short analysis for Common Dreams, about the problem of false equivalencies in American politics. Isaac’s article discusses the media’s treatment of Marjorie Taylor Greene, referring back to a profile by Jonathan Chait (“Marjorie Taylor Greene Blamed Wildfires on Secret Jewish Space Lazers”), as well as an odd Axios piece (“The Mischief Makers”) that tried to identify the most troublesome members of the two parties. Isaac’s piece is valuable because he pushes further than most on the problem of false … Continue reading Jeffrey Isaac On Political Asymmetries (and Evaluative Standards in Journalism)

Sunstein, Vermeule, and Technocratic Despotism

This week the Chronicle of Higher Education published an excellent article about Cass Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule, and “Technocratic Despotism.” It is written by political scientist Jason Blakely, whose own work is about the political reverberations of the social sciences. Blakely’s article serves as a very good supplement to the recent essay on positive constitutionalism here at The Constitutionalist, and to the list of other relevant essays posted here. Whereas Barber, Macedo, and Fleming focus on the implications of Vermeule’s thought for legal and constitutional scholars, Blakely discusses Vermeule and Sunstein’s work (and their very odd colaboration) in the context of … Continue reading Sunstein, Vermeule, and Technocratic Despotism

Yes, Americans need a break from politics. But not for long.

I respect my colleague Greg Weiner’s work very much. I learn from it, and my disagreements with him are usually about things that are both complicated and matter a great deal. And on that note I must say that I disagree with elements of the argument he presented this week quite strongly. I will even go so far as to say that I take issue with it! In short: Greg thinks that we need less politics, and I think we need more. Of course, this depends on what we both mean by politics.  If we set the bar at how … Continue reading Yes, Americans need a break from politics. But not for long.

Additional reflections, and some recommended readings, on Adrian Vermeule

I really enjoyed the piece by Barber, Macedo, and Fleming this week, about Adrian Vermeule and positive constitutionalism. They describe positive constitutionalism as constitutional thinking that focuses “on positive ends (including the economic and cultural conditions that foster respect for some negative liberties).” If I’m perfectly frank, I think this is the only sensible way to think about constitutionalism: even negative liberties exist for the sake of other, positive ends (like freedom of conscience, peace, flourishing, etc).  I said my own bit about Vermeule’s Atlantic piece via two Twitter threads back in March, which I replicate down below. At the … Continue reading Additional reflections, and some recommended readings, on Adrian Vermeule

“Six Hours of Paralysis”

Update: I agree with Jeff (in comments below) that “paralysis” is an awful way to describe what was happening with Trump. Title should read “Six Hours of Seditious Paralysis” or something like that. Dereliction of duty gives the GOP the fig leaf they need for impeachment. Just read the opening of this story, as reported by Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker at the Post: Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, … Continue reading “Six Hours of Paralysis”

Extraconstitutional Limbo

I have an article up today with The Bulwark Online where I argue that we should be explicit about the fact that we are in a constitutional crisis, and that Trump’s legitimacy has been undermined to such a clear and obvious extent that other elected representatives have a clear and obvious duty to impeach and remove him in order to bring us back within the clear confines of the constitution. I try to make this argument in the least incendiary way possible, without focusing on specific questions about incitement or coordination. I emphasize what was plain for everyone to see … Continue reading Extraconstitutional Limbo