By Colleen O'Connor
The media has frequently misjudged House Speaker Pelosi’s impeachment strategy, complaining erroneously that she was too slow.
They are misjudging her again. This time asserting that the inquiry is moving too fast.
More witnesses, hearings, and court findings must be added to the Articles of Impeachment, some argue.
Too few or too many. To early or too late. Once again, they are missing Pelosi’s “Goldilocks path” of keeping her options open.
Like the famous Revolutionary War command, Pelosi told her troops, to hold their fire until they “could see the whites of their eyes” and inflict lasting damage on the Republicans. So the Democrats held their fire until the Ukraine scandal.
Pelosi has been careful not to be locked into any fixed Articles of impeachment. The House, she declares, will continue to “investigate, govern, and litigate” while simultaneously impeaching President Trump.
There may be two articles in the first round of impeachment. However, nothing stops there being a second or third run at the White House for additional lawless acts.
Pelosi knows full well that the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is. Hence the rush to get Brett Kavanaugh appointed to the bench to tip the Court 5-4 towards Republicans.
It also explains why Trump appeals all of his losing lower-court decisions. The slow motion appeals process will delay any damaging outcomes until after his re-election battle.
And, if Trump’s re-elected, the pardons for his now convicted advisors and friends—many sitting in prison or awaiting sentencing—could gush forth. There might possibly be a self-pardon.
What is Pelosi to do? Enter the Goldilocks path, with a clear view of the finish line: defeating Trump. It’s about keeping all options alive, all the time.
“Ah, just right,” as Goldilocks says in the 19th century British children’s tale.
It’s just right because there are two clear interpretations of our founding document. One favored by “strict constructionists” (read conservatives) and another favored by “loose constructionists” (read liberals).
This is easily understood if you drive a car. If you approach an intersection, and there is a sign saying “No U-turn,” everyone understands what isn’t allowed.
But if there is no such sign, a U-turn is assumed to be allowed.
So it is with the Constitution. For the strict constructionists, no sign means you cannot make a U-turn. “If it doesn’t say you can—then you cannot.”
For the loose constructionists, no sign means you can make a U-turn. “If it doesn’t say you cannot—then you can.”
It’s safe to say that most American drivers would follow the liberal interpretation. Similarly, Pelosi can do what she deems necessary.
So she can adopt an original set of Articles of Impeachment, completed before the House adjourns for the Christmas break. Then she can return for more.
There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly forbids the House from impeaching the President in a second or even third set of Articles—should new civil or criminal infractions of be discovered.
For example, Trump’s personal financial issues might inflict even more legal damage on the White House than the Ukraine call, and could lead to the Goldilocks solution of superseding the first Articles of Impeachment.
“Ah, just right.”
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