Letter to the Editor for Feb. 6
I am replying to Mr. Meehan’s comments regarding my letter of Jan. 16, Impeachment trial procedures.
He seems to take great stock in Federalist Paper 65 and is mistaken; I have read Federalist 65.
In his construct he incorrectly calls the matter before the Senate a hearing instead of a trial.
He differentiates between senators and jurors. By definition a jury is a group selected to apply the law to the facts of a case and render a decision. The senators are the ones who render a decision; they are a jury, a large one.
He has quoted, out of context, a portion of one paragraph in the Federalist 65 making incorrect assumptions. The paragraph addresses why the entire Supreme Court was not included in the trial body along with the Senate. The paragraph is referring to Supreme Court judges as a body, not judges in general or total. The Chief Justice’s presiding authority is in no way restricted.
In the paper it declares, “… there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real determinations of innocence or guilt.” The last sentence of Mr. Meehan’s quote, “The awful discretion which a court of impeachments must necessarily have, … forbids the commitment of the trust to a small number of persons.” The Senate majority is significantly smaller that the entire body of the Senate. Determining procedures by the Senate majority is precisely what Alexander Hamilton warned about in Federalist 65.
Meehan said that it had been shown that the impeachment is political in nature. In the Federalist 65 Hamilton states, “…violation of some public trust … are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL (sic).”
It appears as though Meehan did not read the entire Federalist 65 or at least forgot much of it.
Meehan seems to take issue with my suggestion to consider our existing judicial concepts as a guide to what is fair and just. Does he feel our judicial concepts are not fair and just? It is noted that I did not say the concepts should be followed to the letter but suggested they be used as a guide.
He alleges that by my rationale, the “indictment” or impeachment articles passed in the House are flawed. I made absolutely no mention of the articles.
Hamilton opined that, “… the power of originating the inquiry … in the hands of one branch … strongly plead for an admission of the other branch of that body to a share of the inquiry.” This flies in the face of the idea that that the House is the only body with a responsibility to investigate.
As for the opinions of me personally, Hamilton said, “… it ought not be forgotten that the demon of faction will, at certain seasons, extend his sceptre over all numerous bodies of men.”