Tag Archive for constitution

Fighting Back: “Senate Republicans should serve the American people, not their party’s political leader.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland urging his Republican colleagues to serve the American people not their party’s political leader.

(Senator Van Hollen delivers the Weekly Democratic Address on the importance of holding a fair and honest bipartisan impeachment trial in the Senate while also getting work done for the American people.)

“In both previous impeachment trials, the Senate had witnesses testify. In the upcoming trial of President Trump, Democrats have proposed that the Senate hear from four witnesses with knowledge of President Trump’s actions. We are also asking the Senate to request key documents that the President has refused to provide. So far, Senator McConnell has rejected these reasonable requests for witnesses and documents, despite the fact that just this week new information has come to light showing that these witnesses and documents are directly relevant to the impeachment trial.

“Senator McConnell has not only blocked consideration of [the 300 bills sent from the House of Representatives, including critical bipartisan legislation], he has bragged about his obstruction, nicknaming himself the “Grim Reaper.” So let’s not fall for his claim that he suddenly wants to get to work on these initiatives that are important to the American people. To date, he has made no commitment to take up any of these bills whether or not there is an impeachment trial.

“As the Senate discharges its Constitutional duties – whether by conducting an impeachment trial or passing legislation – it should never be an instrument of a president, regardless of party. We should never outsource our judgement and our votes to any White House. We serve the American people, and must render justice fairly and honorably at this critical time in our history.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Preserving and Protecting: “This is a question of duty – we will honor our oath of office and defend the Constitution”

December 10, 2019 – The House of Representatives releases Articles of Impeachment.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters and Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney.

Chairman Schiff has the last word:

Chairman Adam Schiff: The Framers of the Constitution recognized that someday, a president might come to office who would abuse that office, betray the public trust and undermine national security to secure foreign help in his re-election and who would seek to abrogate of the power of Congress to hold him accountable. They recognize this danger and they prescribed a remedy and that remedy is impeachment.

It is an extraordinary remedy and one that I have been reluctant to recommend until the actions of President Trump gave Congress no alternative. We stand here today because the President’s continuing abuse of power left us no choice. To do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the President’s abuse of his high office, the public trust, and our national security.

The President’s misconduct is as simple and as terrible as this: President Trump solicited a foreign nation, Ukraine, to publicly announce investigations into his opponent and a baseless theory promoted by Russia, to help his re-election campaign. President Trump abused the power of his office by conditioning two official acts to get Ukraine to help his re-election: the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that nation desperately needed and a White House meeting with an ally trying to fend off Russian aggression. […]

The argument, ‘Why don’t you just wait?’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time? That is what that argument amounts to. […]

Ben Franklin said we have a republic, if we can keep it. The President and his men say you can’t keep it and Americans should just get over it. Americans don’t get to decide American elections any more, not by themselves, not without foreign help.

For the Members of Congress, this is not a question of fact because the facts are not seriously contested; it is rather a question of duty. The President’s oath of office appears to mean very little to him, but the articles put forward today give us a chance to show that we will defend the Constitution, and that our oath means something to us.

Bolding added. Full transcript below.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Maybe It’s Time to Believe ‘Em 6/4/19

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Personhood restrictions, exclusion of women and “Indians”…it’s all right there.

I think we all realize at this point that the phrase, “This is not who we are!” is more a statement of wishful thinking than objective reality. It’s a statement of privilege for those who have never had to confront oppression before; it’s a statement of disappointment for those who have been taught and believed in American exceptionalism; it’s even occasionally a statement of defiance from activists who are fighting for change. For the longest time, I would hear or see this phrase and react with a cynical, “It’s precisely who we are!” But time has shown me that, more often than not, the utterance of that phrase is also a turning point for an individual; it’s the point where a good many folks turn from a simplistic, disengaged understanding of issues to an attempt to understand; to change; and to engage. It’s also the point where a fair number start to recognize the truth in Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We’ve had lots of first times in this country; maybe it’s time to believe ’em.

Speaker Pelosi: “Working together, we will redeem the promise of the American Dream.”

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Article I checks and balances, restored – #ForThePeople.

(Speaker Pelosi: “The Floor of this House must be America’s Town Hall: where the people will see our debates, and where their voices will be heard and affect our decisions.”)

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi:

We enter this new Congress with a sense of great hope and confidence for the future, and deep humility and prayerfulness in the face of the challenges ahead.

Our nation is at an historic moment. Two months ago, the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn.

They called upon the beauty of our Constitution: our system of checks and balances that protects our democracy, remembering that the legislative branch is Article I: the first branch of government, co-equal to the presidency and judiciary.

They want a Congress that delivers results for the people, opening up opportunity and lifting up their lives.

[Sound of child crying]

We are hearing the voice of the future there. Beautiful.

When our new Members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed, and our democracy will be strengthened by their optimism, idealism and patriotism of this transformative Freshman class. Congratulations to all of you in the Freshman class.

Working together, we will redeem the promise of the American Dream for every family, advancing progress for every community.

In the past two years, the American people have spoken. Tens of thousands of public events were held. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out. Millions of calls were made. Countless families – even sick little children, our Little Lobbyists, our Little Lobbyists – bravely came forward to tell their stories. And they made a big difference.

Now, the Floor of this House must be America’s Town Hall: where the people will see our debates, and where their voices will be heard and affect our decisions. Transparency will be the order of the day.

And as Mr. [Hakeem] Jeffries, our distinguished Chairman, said, we will follow our mandate, For The People!

You can’t change the rules just because you realize you are losing

It is bitter irony that the week in which President Obama talked about the “yawning gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics” and addressed the nation about the hyperpartisan state of American politics, would end in a political argument over whether a sitting president has the right to nominate anyone for a Supreme Court vacancy.

No sooner had the news hit the wires that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died, than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the president needed to leave it up to the people and wait for the next election to fill the vacancy. Followed a few hours later by Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, saying that no president had ever nominated a Supreme Court justice during an election year.

Wrong and wrong.

The people have already voted for who they want to nominate Supreme Court justices for vacancies occurring from January 2013 through January 2017 – it was called “The Election of 2012”. President Barack Obama won (you can google it). And there were dozens of times when a president nominated a justice who was confirmed in an election year, the latest one was in 1988 when Republican Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy in 1987. He was later confirmed by a 97 to 0 vote in the Democratically controlled Senate in February of 1988, an election year and the last year of Reagan’s presidency.