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This is one for the Supreme Court, no doubt.
Although the House Democrats voted to impeach president Trump on December 18, Nancy Pelosi has refused to make it official by presenting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial. Does that mean Trump is yet under no impeachment restrictions?
In the past, the House has always presented the paperwork to the Senate promptly, and until the trial has ended with an acquittal, the president has not been allowed to sign anything into law nor to appoint anyone to political or judicial positions.
But what happens when the Speaker of the House refuses to follow through and to make the impeachment official?
Speaker Pelosi’s stated motive is that she wants first to see the rules for the impending trial that Senate leader, Mitch McConnel, will establish. What? Is she trying to negotiate with the Senate to make rules that favor her own interests? What if McConnell had done this last summer when the House made up its own rules for the investigation?
Would not that be classed as interference? What gives the Speaker of the House any authority to influence what the Senate does?
McConnell does not seem to be in any mood to cave to Pelosi’s interference. In fact, it seems likely that the Senate does not even need to be given those Articles of impeachment to hold a trial. If that is the case, Pelosi has no power to delay that trial.
Since this is unprecedented in US history, it seems likely that this question will have to be decided by the Supreme Court, along with the very legality and constitutionality of the House’s impeachment itself. In other words, by refusing to allow Trump’s witnesses and lawyers to defend him or to question his accusers, as was always allowed in the past, did the House violate his constitutional rights?
If this goes to the Supreme Court, they may nullify the impeachment altogether.
The point is, there has been a lot of prophecy in the past saying, “Trump will never be impeached.” I have questioned this statement, because it calls into question the definition of impeachment. Do these prophecies apply to the House impeaching Trump, or to the Senate convicting him?
Pelosi has brought up a third scenario by her unprecedented political antics. It might be that even though the House votes for impeachment, it will never become official, either because the paperwork will never be given to the Senate, or because the Supreme Court will nullify it.
It may be, too, that Pelosi is trying to make it impossible for Trump to appoint a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is said to be in serious ill health. She does not want to retire, because her replacement would no doubt have a different legal philosophy. The Supreme Court could be turned “conservative” for a generation.