Opinion

CALABRESI: House Democrats Violate The 6th Amendment By Denying Trump A Public Trial

Steve Calabresi Contributor

The nation is transfixed by the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump for purportedly using U.S. military aid to Ukraine to prompt that country to reopen a corruption into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. What no one is focusing on is the fact that the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is violating the president’s constitutional rights. The House majority is thus itself acting unconstitutionally and is seriously abusing its power.

Impeachment is a legal proceeding, and just as criminal defendants have constitutional rights in criminal trials so too does Trump have constitutional rights, which House Democrats are denying him. For example, the Sixth Amendment gives criminal defendants the right to “a speedy and public trial.” House Democrats are trying Trump in secret and are denying him the right to a public proceeding.

The Sixth Amendment also guarantees criminal defendants the right to be “informed” of the charges against them. House Democrats are not informing Trump of the charges against him and are leaking salacious information to the press. This, too, violates Trumps rights under the federal Bill of Rights. (RELATED: Calabresi: Democrats Are Violating Trump’s Rights — And Charging Him With A Fake ‘Crime’)

Moreover, the Sixth Amendment guarantees Trump the right “to confront the witnesses against him”, which right House Democrats are denying to Trump. The president has a right under current Supreme Court case law to have a public face-to-face confrontation with the witnesses against and to testify in his own defense. House Democrats are denying the president that very basic constitutional right.

The fact of the matter is that even if the president abused his powers in urging the president of Ukraine to reopen the investigation in that country into illegal activity by the firm that employed Hunter Biden, House Democrats are abusing their power of impeachment by denying Trump his basic rights as a defendant in the case against him under the Sixth Amendment. Impeaching a president and overturning the results of the 2016 presidential election is a really big deal.

For House Democrats to conduct an impeachment investigation while violating multiple rights that Trump enjoys under the Sixth Amendment is a gross abuse of power, which is at least as serious as any abuses of power committed by Trump. The leaders of this unconstitutionally conducted and Kafkaesque “trial” should be expelled from the house for their unconstitutional behavior thus far, and the voters should “punish” House Democrats in the 2020 elections by electing a Republican House majority. (RELATED: Democrats Are Scrambling To Find A Backup Plan After Impeachment Hearings)

Violations of President Trump’s Sixth Amendment rights by House Democrats are lawless, unconstitutional, and suggest that the whole impeachment matter should be dropped. If Democrats in the House believe in the sanctity of the Constitution they should abandon their unconstitutional impeachment inquiry immediately.

Steven G. Calabresi is co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Federalist Society, co-author of “The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush,” and the Clayton J. & Henry R. Barber Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.