Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial Begins | Biden Readies To Make His Mark On The Courts
February 9, 2021
HERE WE GO AGAIN|
The second impeachment trial of former PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP begins today. And although some expect the trial may be brief, it could have lasting repercussions on the Office of the President, the Republican Party, and American politics writ large. Trump is the only president to have been impeached twice, and he’s the only president to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. Lawyers representing Trump in the trial are expected to focus on two constitutional concerns: They’ll make a First Amendment defense of his speech that took place just before his supporters attacked the Capitol, and they’ll challenge the legality of putting a former president on trial.
TWISTING WORDS, BENDING THE TRUTH|
Nina Totenberg with NPR reports the work of constitutional law professor, BRIAN KALT, is cited “extensively” by Trump’s lawyers in their impeachment defense brief. There’s just one problem for DONALD TRUMP: Professor Kalt says his work is being misrepresented. Lawyers reference an article Kalt wrote on the impeachment of a former president, using his perspective to suggest the Senate doesn’t have the authority to try an ex-president. Unfortunately for them, the article’s conclusion contradicts that claim. Totenberg: “Trump’s lawyers argue that the Senate lacks jurisdiction because the president is already out of office, making an impeachment trial pointless. Kalt argues that impeachment is about more than removal; it’s about accountability and deterrence. ‘The framers worried about people abusing their power to keep themselves in office,’ he adds. ‘The point is the timing of the conduct, not the timing of the legal proceeding.'”
SO LONG, FAREWELL|
Harper Neidig with The Hill notes a record number of federal judges have announced their departures in recent weeks. There are currently 57 vacancies in the federal district and appellate courts and another 20 will become vacant in the coming months. The openings give the Biden administration a chance to move quickly in making the new president’s mark on the judiciary after PRESIDENT TRUMP had enormous success in filling the courts with conservative judges.
SCOTUS VIEWSLos Angeles Times
“The U.S. Supreme Court erred late Friday when it ordered California to reverse its ban on indoor faith services for counties in the state’s purple tier, which have extremely high rates of COVID-19 infection. The conservative majority concluded — wrongly, we believe — that the state has been unfairly harsh on houses of worship and thus violated the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion. That’s hogwash, and the tortured justification laid out in Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s opinion in a lawsuit brought by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista makes it clear that either the majority [of] justices don’t understand how congregational activities pose a unique threat of contagion or just don’t care.”The Atlantic
“Over the past few years, the Supreme Court has been sketching the outline of a broad compromise on LGBTQ rights. Civil-rights protections will shield people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. At the same time, religious objectors will have their own set of robust rights…Is this compromise stable? Supporters say yes: Religious objectors, they argue, are a negligible minority in a society growing ever more affirming of LGBTQ equality. Exempting them, the thinking goes, will not expand discrimination against same-sex couples. But critics worry that the Court’s religious exemptions normalize discrimination and thereby encourage it.”
OTHER NEWSThe National Law Journal
“More than 40 years ago, Merrick Garland walked the upper halls of the U.S. Supreme Court as a law clerk to the late liberal lion Justice William Brennan Jr. Years later as an appellate judge, Garland would join a small group of judges whose law clerks regularly go on to spend a year in the chambers of other justices.”