Review – The Case Against Impeaching Trump
Dershowitz pens a dispassionate, cogent, and compelling monograph that makes the legal case that the blather that suffuses through the media regarding the impeachment of President Trump is but manifestly political agitprop. He presents his thesis in the Queen’s English, instead of legalese, for the proletariat—it is easily readable and comprehensible, and decidedly politically neutral.
This is a small book, only 150 pages. The nugget of Dershowitz’s explication lies in the first seventy pages. The remaining eighty pages are primarily transcriptions of his television interviews that enhance his thesis. He explores the constitutional duties and protections that a sitting president has. The law must be applied equally to all our citizens. But, Dershowitz notes, some parts of the law are different for a sitting president. For example, a president cannot be subpoenaed in federal court, indicted, or convicted of a crime while in office. Impeachment is the only remedy for removing a president. Such a constructional legislative action must be rare and used only after a sitting president commits an obviously egregious “high” crime—murder, treason, etc.
Dershowitz assails the radical left with constitutional vigor for their irrational rhetoric regarding President Trump and their self-righteous hypocrisy. For example, he chides the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for its leftist bent. On page 100 he writes, “Unfortunately, however, over the last several years it has turned from being a neutral civil liberties organization to a left-wing, agenda-driven group that protects its contributors and constituents while ignoring the civil liberties of Americans with whom it disagrees.” He applies an equal reproach to the “civil libertarians” who have abandoned their neutrality and have embraced the leftist agenda.
Dershowitz is an unabashedly proud liberal. He tells his audience that he voted for Barack Obama twice and voted for Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election. He is an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University, a criminal defense attorney, and a noted civil libertarian. He is a man of courage and principle and a zealous advocate of applying the principles of our Constitution equally (my emphasis). The recurring theme in his monograph is “the shoe on the other foot test.” Will the accusation (or whatever) that is leveled against a person, race, religion, etc., be equally applied to that which is different, least favored, or the opposition? For example, “If a controversial president is denied constitutional protection, then any citizen can be denied constitutional protection.”
My favorite line is, “The Constitution is fragile and imperfect, as is democracy itself. Both require the legitimacy of the governed.”