Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Credit Where Credit Is Due

John Mikhail

In his post on Sunday, Sandy attributes the January 31 scholars' letter on impeachment to me, but in fact the credit for drafting and circulating it goes to Frank Bowman and Michael Gerhardt.  Together with Sandy and several other Balkinization contributors, however, I was pleased to sign the letter and consider it to be a worthy attempt to clarify three basic points about the historical meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that have been called into question in the current trial: (1) impeachable conduct need not be criminal, (2) grave abuses of power can be impeachable, and (3) a president may not abuse his powers to secure his own re-election merely because he believes it is in the public interest.  It is discouraging that such simple points need to be underscored at a time like this, but, as Charles Darwin once aptly remarked in a very different context, "Great is the power of steady misrepresentation."

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