SCOPE NY

Bills of Attainder and Other Unconstitutional Acts

02/08/2021 8:43 PM | Anonymous

The 2nd Amendment only lasts as long as the Constitution exists, in its original meaning.  The Constitution sets out strict limits on the government, not on citizens and it protects our rights against government intrusion.  Those that would attack 2A know that weakening any part of the Constitution weakens it all.  “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance” and that means protecting all of our beloved Constitution.

Whether or not you like Donald Trump, the current impeachment effort is an attempt to undermine the Constitution.  What is being used against him can be used against others. The goal is to take the presidential ballot away from citizens by making a specific citizen ineligible - for political reasons.  It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious.

Article 1 Section 3 of the United States’ Constitution says, “When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice will preside”.  Chief Justice Roberts lobbed a grenade when he decided not to preside over the impeachment of Donald Trump, who is currently a private citizen. 

Is it legal to have a presidential impeachment trial without the Chief Justice?  The Constitution requires the Chief Justice to preside over a Presidential impeachment.  By passing, Roberts is, in effect, agreeing that the President is not on trial; a private citizen is on trial. 

Private citizens cannot be tried by the Senate under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution which says, “No Bill of Attainder…shall be passed”. (A Bill of Attainder is an act of a legislature declaring a person or a group of persons guilty of a crime.)  It is outlawed because it deprives the person of the safeguards connected with a trial by jury, which is guaranteed by several parts of the “The Bill of Rights”.  (The founding fathers had this “thing” about rights when they wrote both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.)   

Bills of Attainder are also outlawed because the judicial system is supposed to be impartial but the Senate is a political body with no pretext of impartiality.  The Chief Justice was supposed to preside to create some fairness.  If a trial does happen without the Chief Justice, shouldn’t the President of the Senate preside?  That happens to be Vice President Kamala Harris.  Even the Democrats saw that as a conflict of interest and kicked the job down to the President pro-tempore of the Senate; that’s Patrick Leahy, the 46 years-in-office, Democrat Senator from Vermont. 

When a presiding judge has a “conflict of interest” he is expected to withdraw.  Before he was named to preside, on January 13th Leahy said,

President Trump has not simply failed to uphold his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, which itself would be sufficient to warrant his impeachment and removal. He has emerged as the greatest threat to the Constitution and to American democracy in a generation.” 

“He sparked the flames of sedition and has fanned them relentlessly. For months he has lied about the election in an effort to undermine Americans’ faith in our democracy. He has promoted division, disruption, and violence. He has attempted to thwart our nation’s unbroken history of a constitutional and peaceful transfer of power. And he has incited and promoted a riot that laid siege to our Capitol building — the very heart of our democracy. Insurrectionists chanting his name… President Trump bears responsibility for this attack...The fact that he has disavowed any responsibility for the violent assault on our democracy makes clear that he is unworthy of public trust, unworthy of the office he holds, and must be removed.”

Any prejudging, unfairness or bias in that statement?  And I love the part of “insurrectionists chanting his name”.  Is it a crime to have someone else chant your name?    

Whether you like Trump or not, what matters are principles, the Constitution, and the rule-of-law.  The unconstitutionality of this should set heads spinning.  You recently heard about the peaceful transfer of power on January 20th but we look like a banana republic, when a new government puts the old government on trial.  Doubt that?  Have you noticed that our capital city, Washington D.C. is now a military occupation zone?

As was pointed out Monday, it doesn’t seem to bother today’s politicians - once they have power - that an impeachment trial would violate several parts of the Constitution; that’s just another constitutional complication to be ignored.

Think of the interesting possibilities.  Open this door and the next question is, does an ex-president have to be alive to be impeached?  Could Tom Jefferson be impeached for being a slave holder – even though it was legal then?  Franklin Roosevelt definitely qualified for impeachment for putting the Japanese in internment camps (which was aided and abetted by future Chief Justice Earl Warren; doesn’t that raise interesting possibilities.)  Could Obama be impeached for lying about Obamacare?  There is a precedent for this in English history; two years after his death, after political power changed hands, Oliver Cromwell’s body was dug up, hung in chains and then beheaded.

Forget pandemics, the economy and unemployment, there is “virtue signaling” to be had.  Congress does have its priorities and none seem to align with the citizens’ priorities.

On the other hand, if they are busy with impeachment, the Senate can’t take time to attack the 2nd Amendment.  If the only issue were 2A and not pandemics, the economy, etc., we would hope to keep the Senate busy with a two years long trial.

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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