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Old 01-30-2020, 08:00 PM
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The Senate should not decide what is impeachable.


Resolved: That the Senate should not determine if an offense rises to the level of impeachment.

There is currently much disagreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans whether or not that which President Trump is accused of are actually impeachable offenses. In my opinion, this is not within the purview of the Senate. This is a trial. Jurors do not get to decide what is legal and what isnít. The Republicans, spurred on by Trumpís defense team, are basically making a coordinated effort at jury nullification. In an actual courtroom, no lawyer would dare to make such an argument. The sole purpose of the Senate trial should be to determine whether or not the President is guilty of the crimes presented in the articles of impeachment, not the significance of the crimes
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:08 PM
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The President has been impeached, so I don't know that they should be arguing about that. The question is whether 1) he did it, and 2) if so, that warrants conviction from the Senate. Perhaps they're arguing that "even if he did it, he shouldn't be removed [convicted]." That seems like a fair debate to have in the Senate. If I understand the OP, he's arguing that the sole questions should be "did he do it?" That would invite too much mischief I think. Andrew Johnson, if I recall correctly, "did it," but was not removed from office. Even Bill Clinton "did it." If you're going to allow the House to impeach for whatever they think justifies it, then the Senate should be able to weigh in too.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:49 PM
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The idea of coming up with a standard for conviction that isnít subject to some flavor of jury nullification is a fantasy. I canít think of any possible way to police this.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:58 PM
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The idea of coming up with a standard for conviction that isnít subject to some flavor of jury nullification is a fantasy. I canít think of any possible way to police this.
Not letting the lawyers argue it would be a good start. Thereís no practical way to enforce it but at least it would remove a Senatorís excuse of ďIMHO, murder isnít an impeachable offense.Ē
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
Resolved: That the Senate should not determine if an offense rises to the level of impeachment.

There is currently much disagreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans whether or not that which President Trump is accused of are actually impeachable offenses. In my opinion, this is not within the purview of the Senate. This is a trial. Jurors do not get to decide what is legal and what isnít. The Republicans, spurred on by Trumpís defense team, are basically making a coordinated effort at jury nullification. In an actual courtroom, no lawyer would dare to make such an argument. The sole purpose of the Senate trial should be to determine whether or not the President is guilty of the crimes presented in the articles of impeachment, not the significance of the crimes
The fact that the Senate ACTS like a jury has fooled you (and a great many other people) into thinking that the Senate IS a jury.

It isn't. There are far more points of dissimilarity between the Senate and a jury than there are points of similarity. Your argument is null and void because it is based on a false assumption.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
Resolved: That the Senate should not determine if an offense rises to the level of impeachment.
Are we talking about "in a perfect world" or "in accordance with the Constitution"?
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:38 PM
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Are we talking about "in a perfect world" or "in accordance with the Constitution"?
I would like to think both. The Constitution is silent on the matter. My preference would be to see the Chief Justice actually preside over the trial and run it accordingly.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:45 PM
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The Constitution is silent on the matter.
I can present cites to the contrary.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:10 PM
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I can present cites to the contrary.
Are you referring to ďthey each make the rules of their proceedings?Ē
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:16 PM
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I always thought that the US bi-carmel system was founded on the belief or faith that it would be peopled by (generally) honest, intelligent, earnest and (relatively) reasonable men doing their best for the country.

If you hold this as the chief principle - the impeachment / trial / removal becomes a relatively simple question to work through and decide.
a) did he do it?
b) does it warrant removal?

neither question is particularly difficult if you keep in mind the overarching purpose and the standards you should be able to hold "the best person" in the US to.

Of course - if the intent is to cheat, shield and protect, then there's fuck-all that can be done
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:04 PM
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Not letting the lawyers argue it would be a good start. Thereís no practical way to enforce it but at least it would remove a Senatorís excuse of ďIMHO, murder isnít an impeachable offense.Ē
This makes it sound like youíre more bothered by some arguing than by the final result, which under your proposal, would be equally assured as it is under current rules.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:52 AM
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Are you referring to ďthey each make the rules of their proceedings?Ē
I'm referring to that there is a description of impeachable offenses given in the Constitution. It's not verbose, but it is there.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:52 AM
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I want Trump to be convicted and sent to Hell as much as anyone, but some of the comments by his opponents are indefensible.

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Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
Resolved: That the Senate should not determine if an offense rises to the level of impeachment.
So who SHOULD decide? The House of Reps, with a 51% vote? That sounds good to me, in this case!

But it's the CONSTITUTION that says the Senate decides. If we start defying the Constitution, we'd have to let state government ban their citizens from owning 20-round magazines, howitzers and anti-aircraft missiles. Can you imagine an America like that?

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The sole purpose of the Senate trial should be to determine whether or not the President is guilty of the crimes presented in the articles of impeachment, not the significance of the crimes
Suppose the Article of Impeachment read "D.J. Trump was seen chewing bubble-gum and we think that's a high crime and/or misdemeanor." In your system, Senators would be obligated to remove Trump from office if the bubble-gum chewing was proved.

Last edited by septimus; 01-31-2020 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:26 AM
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I always thought that the US bi-carmel system was founded on the belief or faith that it would be peopled by (generally) honest, intelligent, earnest and (relatively) reasonable men doing their best for the country.
Um, or not.
It's more based on the idea that people will pursue what they believe is in their best interests and by setting competing institutions against each other it makes it harder for any particular viewpoint to long dominate.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:54 AM
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I enjoy this OP, because while the idea that the Senate should just decide the facts is obviously incorrect, it is not more incorrect than the similar arguments coming from the defense that also want to treat the trial exactly like any other trial. If they want to go there, then they should be prepared to go whole hog and only vote on the facts.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:22 AM
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I want Trump to be convicted and sent to Hell as much as anyone, but some of the comments by his opponents are indefensible.


So who SHOULD decide? The House of Reps, with a 51% vote? That sounds good to me, in this case!

But it's the CONSTITUTION that says the Senate decides. If we start defying the Constitution, we'd have to let state government ban their citizens from owning 20-round magazines, howitzers and anti-aircraft missiles. Can you imagine an America like that?
It's in the Constitution that the Senate tries the case. Not that it determines what is and what isn't an impeachable offense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus
Suppose the Article of Impeachment read "D.J. Trump was seen chewing bubble-gum and we think that's a high crime and/or misdemeanor." In your system, Senators would be obligated to remove Trump from office if the bubble-gum chewing was proved.
Yes. This is exactly what I'm saying. The Senate should be triers of fact, just like any other jury. This would have the extra benefit of having the House members be more cautious in their voting since they are not as shielded from their constituents as much as Senators are due to their shorter term of office.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:41 AM
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The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
OP, who do you envision is responsible for the Judgement here?
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:47 AM
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OP, who do you envision is responsible for the Judgement here?
I believe that the Senate is responsible for the Judgement of the facts, just like any other jury.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:24 AM
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According to the Constitution the House decides what is an impeachable offense and the Senate decides guilt or innocence.

I believe the Senate should change their rules to allow 2 votes - one of guilt or innocence and a second on removal from office.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:28 AM
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It is a political process. It can only be a political process. To argue that it should be treated like criminal proceeding is not productive. Itís like arguing that a duck should be a chicken.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:29 AM
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I believe that the Senate is responsible for the Judgement of the facts, just like any other jury.
Iím sure President Gore would agree.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:34 AM
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I can't possibly imagine what Trump would have to do and how public it would have to be before the Senate would vote to remove him from office. That alone indicates that there is something very wrong with the process.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:35 AM
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It is a political process. It can only be a political process. To argue that it should be treated like criminal proceeding is not productive. Itís like arguing that a duck should be a chicken.
Then they should dispense with citing legal precedents, debating burdens of proof, taking oaths of impartiality, etc.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:43 AM
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Then they should dispense with citing legal precedents, debating burdens of proof, taking oaths of impartiality, etc.
Why? It is whatever they want it to be. Or whatever they can get the majority of their peers to agree to. Because itís a political process.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:56 AM
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I believe that the Senate is responsible for the Judgement of the facts, just like any other jury.
Right. The House has already impeached him. The Senate should not be arguing that these are not impeachable offences, but rather, did it happen.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:03 AM
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The solution to your problem is to get a constitutional amendment passed that clearly defines the impeachment and conviction process the way you want it.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:06 AM
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Right. The House has already impeached him. The Senate should not be arguing that these are not impeachable offences, but rather, did it happen.
Did Clinton lie under oath?

This is not whataboutism. I didnít think Clinton should have been removed from office. But if you believe what you wrote then Clinton would have been removed from office. Do you think that was the best solution then?
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:08 AM
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The solution to your problem is to get a constitutional amendment passed that clearly defines the impeachment and conviction process the way you want it.
But, even if such an amendment contained an articulated standard -- let's say, there must be clear and convincing evidence of a crime or an abuse of power (just for example) -- then senators can always weasel out by saying that the case just didn't meet that threshold because.... reasons.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:11 AM
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But, even if such an amendment contained an articulated standard -- let's say, there must be clear and convincing evidence of a crime or an abuse of power (just for example) -- then senators can always weasel out by saying that the case just didn't meet that threshold because.... reasons.
Just like jury nullification in criminal trials. Yes thatís true. But at least it would clearly define the roles and focus what could and could not be discussed at trial.

Hey itís not me thatís proposing things should change itís not up to me to fix it.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:12 PM
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I think the OP is wrong. The Constitution says that a President can be impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". There is no definition given for what constitutes a high crime and misdemeanor. So the intent seems to be that Congress would define these terms for itself. I think it would be a violation of the Constitution for some outside body to declare, for example, that murder is an impeachable offense but stealing a car is not.

One thing that has surprised me about Trump's impeachment is that nobody seems to be invoking the b-word (unless I've missed it) in the arguments about whether Trump has committed an impeachable offense. As I noted above, the Constitution explicitly lists two crimes that are impeachable offenses. And while I feel the original authors were thinking of politicians receiving bribes, I think it's clear that Trump was offering a bribe to Zelensky. Why aren't people using this to get past the issue of whether Trump's crime was an impeachable offense? Why charge him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and open this can of worms?
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:56 PM
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I think the OP is wrong. The Constitution says that a President can be impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". There is no definition given for what constitutes a high crime and misdemeanor. So the intent seems to be that Congress would define these terms for itself. I think it would be a violation of the Constitution for some outside body to declare, for example, that murder is an impeachable offense but stealing a car is not.
I donít think that it would be unconstitutional for the House to decide and have the Senate abide by it.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:32 PM
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I can't possibly imagine what Trump would have to do and how public it would have to be before the Senate would vote to remove him from office. That alone indicates that there is something very wrong with the process.
Or perhaps with your imagination.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:47 PM
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I donít think that it would be unconstitutional for the House to decide and have the Senate abide by it.
I disagree. I feel that the authors of the Constitution wanted the two halves of Congress to act as a check on each other in impeachments. The House cannot remove anyone from office because the Senate decision. And the Senate cannot remove anyone from office because it cannot initiate an impeachment. It takes an agreement by both halves in order to act.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:51 PM
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I can't possibly imagine what Trump would have to do and how public it would have to be before the Senate would vote to remove him from office. That alone indicates that there is something very wrong with the process.
It would have to be something bad enough that the Senators would be endangering their own careers if they did not remove him.

We'll find out in November if Trump met that standard and the Republican Senators misread the situation.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:23 AM
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Yes. This is exactly what I'm saying. The Senate should be triers of fact, just like any other jury. This would have the extra benefit of having the House members be more cautious in their voting since they are not as shielded from their constituents as much as Senators are due to their shorter term of office.
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I believe that the Senate is responsible for the Judgement of the facts, just like any other jury.
It has been explained to you by multiple people (including myself) that you are wrong in viewing the Senate as a regular jury.

You are wrong; dead wrong; wrong in so many different ways; wrong in so many different dimensions; a thousand times wrong.

Would you please explain just why you persist in this delusion?
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:12 AM
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It has been explained to you by multiple people (including myself) that you are wrong in viewing the Senate as a regular jury.

You are wrong; dead wrong; wrong in so many different ways; wrong in so many different dimensions; a thousand times wrong.

Would you please explain just why you persist in this delusion?
Will you explain how the Senate is not acting as a jury?
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:55 AM
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Will you explain how the Senate is not acting as a jury?
The senate is not a part of the judiciary.

There are some similarities between impeachment and a judicial proceeding, but those analogies are descriptive, nor prescriptive.
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