(TargetLiberty.org) – You’ve probably been hearing a lot of different theories regarding the constitutionality of the proceedings of last week’s impeachment trial. Due process of law has come up a lot lately. So what is due process, and does it apply to impeachment proceedings?
Due Process of Law
The concept of due process of law comes from the 14th Amendment. Basically, it means the state must respect its citizens’ rights and apply “fundamental fairness” in any legal proceedings. The state must play by the rules when seeking to deprive citizens of their freedoms or property.
Does Due Process Apply to Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial?
Due process is generally considered to only apply to judicial (legal) hearings and not political ones. The Supreme Court ruled in Nixon v. United States that Senate procedures, including trials, were political issues, not judicial ones. However, the debate continues to surround the matter, and some argue impeachment trials demand due process.
Kenneth Starr, a former judge for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and independent counsel, made a compelling case that Donald Trump is entitled to the protections afforded by due process of law. Of particular note is the fact Chief Justice John Roberts is not presiding over the hearing. That task has been given to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). As Starr pointed out, a fundamental aspect of American law is the right to a fair trial with a presiding officer who is neutral. Can Sen. Leahy be nonpartisan?
Gerald Ford once famously noted that impeachment is whatever the majority of legislators consider it to be at a particular point in time. He was referring to the House of Representatives at the time. But the rule applies equally to the Senate, with the Constitution being vague on the subject.
Trump’s impeachment trial concluded with his acquittal on February 13, as expected. It’s too bad the Democrats wanted to waste everyone’s time on a nonsensical trial.
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