So, Just Who Are the Academic 'Experts' House Judiciary Dems Called?

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Posted: Dec 02, 2019 11:15 PM
So, Just Who Are the Academic 'Experts' House Judiciary Dems Called?

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Monday announced their witness list for their hearing on Wednesday, which is being billed as a "Constitutional discussion" about the grounds for impeaching President Donald Trump.

But what do we really know about these individuals?

Noah Feldman
Noah Feldman is a law professor at Harvard University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. 

A quick scroll through his Bloomberg columns reveal that he is just as anti-Trump and progressive as we would think.

He also did a recent interview with PBS about the "impeachment inquiry and the abuse of power."

According to Feldman, Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "an abuse of power."

"To me, the abuse of power is the thing that the constitution says that the president should be impeached for. And you define abuse of power by the idea that the president’s doing something that’s within his constitutional authority, within his power, like putting pressure on a foreign government," Feldman explained. "But he’s doing it not to serve the interests of the United States but to serve his personal interest and the interest of getting re-elected, and that’s to my mind, very clearly what’s going on in the call, regardless of whether you think there’s a quid pro quo or not. To me, that’s almost a side show. What matters is that the president is overtly saying to Ukraine, do these investigations. And the only party who can benefit from those investigations is Donald Trump."

Pamela Karlan
Pamela Karlan is a law school professor at Stanford and is currently serving as chair of the board of directors for the left-leaning American Constitution Society. She previously served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Voting Rights in the United States Department of Justice Civil Division from during the Obama administration. Karlan also worked for the California Fair Political Practices Commission in the early 2000s to enforce campaign finance, lobbying and conflict of interest laws. After her clerkship she worked as an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in the late 1980s.

When Supreme Court Justice David Souter retired in 2009, Kaplan's name was floated as potential replacement. 

Karlan hasn't been very vocal about the Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump, with no known columns or interviews about what's taking place in Washington.

Michael Gerhardt
Michael Gerhardt is a law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He has previously testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Back in July he testified about how to handle "presidential misconduct," specifically relating to the White House defying Congressional subpoenas. 

"Legitimate purposes for congressional hearings and investigations are remarkably broad, as broad as the powers of Congress. They may be exercised, by a Committee and its Chair pursuant to the House rules, singularly or in combinations to authorize subpoenas and conduct investigations in the course of performing its duties," he said during his testimony. "The rules of this House authorize what the chairman or this committee may do in exploring or suggesting appropriate remedies for executive-branch officials, including the President, who refuse to comply with lawful subpoenas."

As recently as last month he wrote an opinion piece in The Atlantic, arguing that the impeachment process is "fully legitimate."

If you add up the nonsense that the president’s defenders have proliferated and his protestation that the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants, their proposed result is disturbing: an executive who can shut down an impeachment inquiry and protect from disclosure anything done by anyone in the executive branch, and who is immune to criminal investigation and allowed to defy subpoenas.

This is not the president our Constitution established. He would be a king, in spite of the fact that the Founders’ generation rebelled against one. They set out to create a presidency that was accountable to Congress if the occupant abused power and breached the public’s trust. Donald Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry destroy their vision.

Gerhardt has even touted how CNN used him as an "impeachment expert" during President Clinton's Impeachment proceedings and are doing so again with Trump.

Jonathan Turley
Turley is a George Washington Law School Professor. He made headlines back in 2014 when he was the lead counsel for then-Speaker Boehner's challenge to the Affordable Care Act. He also appears to be the most middle-of-the-road of the entire witness list and a true legal scholar.

In a USA Today column from a few days ago, Turley explained why Democrats are rushing to jam impeachment through and how they've failed to prove quid pro quo actually took place. 

If Democrats continue with their plan to impeach Trump by the end of December, they would be presenting the thinnest record and fastest impeachment investigation in history. Democrats assert that the record is more than 2,670 pages long. In comparison, the report by Kenneth Starr to Congress summarizing the evidence in the Clinton impeachment was 445 pages, with more than 8,000 pages of supporting documents just on the part dealing with the Monica Lewinsky allegations. The grand jury record and other documents from the investigation were even larger.

Basing an impeachment on such an undeveloped record would relieve senators of the need to seriously consider the underlying alleged acts. They could vote to acquit on the basis of an incomplete record. In other words, Democrats are not just making it easy on themselves but easy on their Republican counterparts by rushing a House vote. None of this means that a case cannot be made, but it has to be proven. You cannot blame partisan voting in the Senate if you submit a record that omits key witnesses while inviting conjecture over poorly defined criminal acts.

In a column for The Hill, Turley argued Democrats are "designed to fail with an incomplete and conflicted record."

Democrats are seriously wondering why Republicans aren't taking this impeachment inquiry seriously? The House Judiciary Republicans summed it up perfectly:

Hearing from a bunch of progressive professors about the merits of impeachment – and essentially bringing in a group of people who agree with your position – doesn't do anything. It doesn't prove that you have a case. It means you just found fellow partisan idiots who agree with your very flawed view.