Dershowitz suggests that President Trump could appeal to the courts to overturn an impeachment conviction. This argument is not just wrong—it’s dangerous.
Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He teaches and writes about American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. He is the author most recently of "Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech."
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Where his predecessors since Watergate have been gradually reacquiring power for the White House, President Trump might find himself giving power back.
Advocates of impeachment would be well advised to tailor their arguments toward constructing a justification for impeachment that would stand even if conviction and removal were not likely to follow.
There is a tendency to think of impeachable offenses as like landmines: If the president steps on one, then it explodes and he suffers the consequences. This is the wrong way to think about impeachments.
Although senators might be called upon to vote on one charge at a time, they have a responsibility to consider the totality of circumstances when casting that vote.
Seeking a subpoena to force the president to testify would set up a constitutional showdown over the scope of judicial authority over a sitting president—a showdown that neither Mueller nor the courts should wish for.