(USA Features) Noted constitutional law attorney Jonathan Turley observed Sunday that a recent federal appeals court ruling fully vindicated President Donald Trump on impeachment, while also revealing Democratic “abuses” of the process.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit involved former White House lawyer Don McGahn, who had been issued a subpoena by House Democrats to provide testimony during their impeachment inquiry.
McGahn was instructed by the White House to ignore the subpoena, so Democrats went to court to force him to testify.
But in a 2-1 decision that overturned a lower federal court’s ruling, the appeals panel said that McGahn did not have to respond to the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena because the Judicial Branch was in no constitutional position to decide a dispute between the other two branches, the Legislative and the Executive.
“We cannot decide this case without declaring the actions of one [branch of government] or the other unconstitutional,” Appellate Judge Thomas Griffith wrote.
“If federal courts were to swoop in to rescue Congress whenever its constitutional tools failed, it would not just supplement the political process; it would replace that process with one in which unelected judges become the perpetual “overseer[s]” of our elected officials. That is not the role of judges in our democracy, and that is why Article III compels us to dismiss this case,” he explained.
For his part Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor, said the ruling “vindicated” the president and the White House in regard to the second article of impeachment, “obstruction of Congress.”
“The White House is vindicated in showing that it had valid constitutional arguments to make — arguments ridiculed at the Senate trial,” Turley explained.
“I do not agree with the court’s analysis but I felt that Trump had a right to seek judicial review. Now that judicial review has shown that the court agrees with his constitutional position. It reaffirms the historic blunder of the House in rushing this impeachment,” he said.
Turley added that the second article of impeachment was “a case of prosecutorial excess, if not abuse.”
Other constitutional experts noted that neither impeachment article — the first was for ‘abuse of power’ — amounted to legitimate impeachable offenses because neither involved a “high crime or misdemeanor,” the Constitution’s standard.