Title

The Constitutionality of Convicting a Former President for High Crimes

Document Type

Op-Ed

Publication Date

2-13-2021

Publication Title

DemCast

Keywords

Trump, impeachment, high crimes, conviction, removal

Abstract

Even though a majority of the U.S. Senate concluded that they have jurisdiction to try a former president, some Republican senators continue to maintain that the Senate lacks that power and will acquit Donald Trump solely on that basis. They argue that a process for determining whether someone should be removed from office has been rendered moot because the person is already out of office.

Contrary to what some commentators consider to be prevailing wisdom, a Senate impeachment trial is actually not about determining whether an impeached president should be removed from office. The GOP senators erroneously conflate conviction with removal. Conviction and removal are two distinct, separate processes, and that makes all the difference in the world.

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