Made up Memos, Rules, and Traditions
To begin with, the Constitution makes no allowance for the arrest of a lawless current or former President. If that presidential exception existed, a sitting president could stand on Fifth Ave and shoot someone; Oh, wait! Despite the mountain of evidence, Donald Trump is not in jail for inciting a riot and obstructing Congress. The Department of Justice may be secretly investigating the former President; still, the outward appearance of no action encourages the resistance of people like Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, and Peter Navarro. The DOJ is relying on an opinion memo by the Office of Legal Counsel ( OLC), which states: ‘The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.’ Along with that, America’s long tradition of not criminally prosecuting former President(s)
Republicans, who ignore the Ninth Amendment and progress with its Supreme Court nominees, would be perfectly ok with asserting the made-up OLC memo for a Republican President. Although the Constitution does not enumerate protection against indictment, the GOP absolutists would happily set aside the Constitution. The appointment of Neal Gorsuch as an Associate Judge to the Supreme Court is an example of made-up rules. Then Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, blocked even a conversation with Mr. Obama’s nominee and current Attorney General Merrick Garland, citing the ‘Biden Rule.’
On June 25, 1992, Joe Biden spoke to the Senate with no nomination or vacancy in the Court. After noting that two of the previous seven nominees were rejected due to political rancor, he spoke to the political climate:
“Given the unusual rancor that prevailed in the (Clarence) Thomas nomination, the need for some serious reevaluation of the nomination and confirmation process, and the overall level of bitterness that sadly infects our political system and this presidential campaign already, it is my view that the prospects for anything but conflagration with respect to a Supreme Court nomination this year are remote at best,” said then-Senator Biden.
Those words from now-President Joe Biden, whom Republicans want us to believe is a doddering fool, were used by Mitch McConnell to supersede the Constitutional mandate to “advise and consent” on a Supreme Court nominee put forth by a sitting President. When convenient, Republicans either skirt or undress the Constitution to win; à la Justice Amy Comey Barrett. Made-up memos and rules pale compared to what America has always relied on from the executive branch—Tradition. The peaceful transition of power and former Presidents disappearing into the ether, adhering to the rule of one President at a time. Out of respect for the office, former presidents become children again—only speaking when spoken to.
The Trump administration has taught us that we can no longer expect made-up memos, rules, tradition, and respect for the office to keep a President honest. The Trump administration was such a corrupt regime; unfavorable comparisons were made to Richard Nixon. What we did not learn from the Nixon administration is that a president should face the wrath of a nation for criminality. When Gerald Ford pardoned Mr. Nixon, it laid the predicate for the Chief executive to break laws, hide evidence and retire in comfort.
Continue to Vote for Change.