Echoing concerns from across the legal establishment, former Independent Counsel Ken Starr said Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “constitutionally wrong” to withhold articles of impeachment instead of sending them across to the Senate. In an interview with Fox & Friends, Starr said that lawyers such as Noah Feldman, who say that Trump hasn’t actually been impeached until Pelosi sends it over to the upper chamber, are “making a really good point.”
“It’s an impeachment with a footnote or with an asterisk,” Starr said. “By the way, it never went over to the Senate, which I think means that it’s a bit of a phony impeachment. She appears to be intruding into the power of the Senate which is ironic in the extreme, isn’t it? So, I think there is an abuse of House power in the way that this process unfolded in the House and riding rough-shod over minority rights and, ultimately, the rights of the president. Now she’s trying to essentially tell the Senate how to do its business, and it’s just wrong constitutionally.”
Seems to us that it not only represents an abuse of power and not only reeks of a backwards political strategy, Pelosi’s move also fundamentally weakens the strength of impeachment. Put another way, what differentiates impeachment from the dozens, if not hundreds, of party-line bills the Democrats passed this year that never had any shot of passing a Republican-controlled Senate, much less attracting President Trump’s signature?
What makes impeachment different than the “For The People Act,” which aimed to throw America’s elections into disarray under the guise of shoring up election security? What makes it different from The Equality Act, a loathsome piece of legislation aimed at punishing Christians and making them bow before the gay/lesbian/trans agenda? How is it different from The American Dream and Promise Act, which attempted to make citizens out of Obama’s Dreamers (without giving an inch on the border wall, of course)? These are just a handful of the Democrat-only bills that the House passed this year.
Actually, there are a few differences. One, some of these bills attracted at least a handful of Republican votes. Two, Pelosi actually sent these bills to the Senate for consideration. So by any logical measure, we should actually take these go-nowhere bills more seriously than we should take impeachment, which was 100% along party lines (well, except for the Democrat defectors!).
By handling impeachment in this way, Pelosi gives us a glimpse into a dismal future where every single president who is unlucky enough to have an opposition party in control of the House will face the same fate. Eventually, impeachment will become so routine and boring that it will attract the approximate level of coverage as…well, as one of those bills we mentioned above.