No First Amendment protection for Trump in impeachment fight

Law professor Ilya Somin in Reason, January 8, 2020, counters the argument that President Donald Trump can’t be impeached for inciting an insurrection because he was exercising his rights under the First Amendment. Somin concedes that it would be wrong to punish Trump with civil or criminal penalties but constitutionally valid to remove him from office for poor job performance.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero says his organization agrees with Somin that free speech claims would not protect Trump from impeachment. The ACLU board determined that Trump’s comments were part of an effort to overturn the election. “If a president’s repeated lies, illegal political pressure, and the stoking of a mob to subvert the democratic process are not an abuse of power warranting impeachment,” writes Romero, “it is difficult to know what would be.” (American Civil Liberties Union, January 11, 2020)

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