Jackie Speier

Jackie Speier

Justice isn’t only about conviction — it’s about holding those responsible to account, doing the right thing when everyone is looking, and bringing the United States back to reality. On the eve of the impeachment trial, 144 constitutional scholars — including the co-founder and other members of the conservative Federalist Society legal group — have resoundingly rejected the ex-president’s defense claims that he can’t be convicted after he has left office and that his remarks that incited the Jan. 6 insurrection are protected speech under the First Amendment.

Case precedence provides several examples of impeachment after an individual has left office. In 1797, 10 years after the Constitution was written, the Senate conducted an impeachment trial after Sen. William Blount no longer held office. In 1876, the majority in the Senate voted that they had the jurisdictional authority to try Secretary of War William Belknap, a former Grant administration official, for impeachment after he left office amid a major scandal. To suggest that our Founding Fathers somehow thought it was OK for a president to commit illegal, contemptible high crimes and misdemeanors in the final weeks of holding office is laughable. And those claiming that Trump was out of office are misstating the facts: He was impeached Jan. 13.

As Dean Erwin Chemerinsky wrote in his opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Supreme Court held in 1919 that speech could be punished as incitement if it posed a “clear and present danger” of harm. SCOTUS ruled again in 1969 that speech could be punished if it was likely to cause imminent illegal activity and if the speech was directed at causing imminent illegal activity.

If a president telling an enraged, armed mob that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness” and “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” isn’t a clear and present danger, nothing is. If promising for two months beforehand in public remarks and tweets that the march to “Save America” will be “wild” wasn’t likely to cause imminent illegal activity or directed at causing imminent illegal activity, nothing is. If remaining silent as your followers use metal pipes, poles, fire extinguishers and more to storm the Capitol, murdering a U.S. Capitol Police officer and injuring 140 other officers, isn’t sending a clear signal that you are part of the coup, nothing is. If tweeting afterward, ‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously ripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” isn’t claiming victory for that attempted coup, nothing is.

The political divide that has eroded the very foundation of our government won’t magically disappear if we just move on — that would encourage more attacks. Congress must do its duty to uphold the Constitution and seek truth and justice. We must do our jobs now to protect against future assaults on our democracy.

Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, represents District 14 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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(17) comments

Dirk van Ulden

Taffy - exactly what has she done for our County? I can't think of anything that has made my life easier and affordable. We really ought to dump her the next time it comes up and get someone in there either a Democrat or a Republican to represent us instead of the morons in her party. She has been a disgrace since her dally with Rep Ryan and now proclaims herself to be a constitutional scholar? I think the next Recology driver who picks up our cans has more sense and honesty. She is a true member of the swamp.

Ray Fowler

The Honorable Jacqueline Speier

Thank you for serving the constituents of California's 14th Congressional District.

We are on new ground with the discussion of Donald Trump's Jan. 13 impeachment... but is it solid ground? The 222 year old case against Tennessee senator William Blount may not be instructive with regard to the present situation involving Donald Trump. The Senate expelled Blount, and when he later failed to appear to answer impeachment charges, the Senate ultimately dismissed the case. Now, if Donald Trump does not appear before the current Senate will the case against him be dismissed? No. However, the question of proper jurisdiction is one for 100 senators to answer... not 144 constitutional scholars.

William Belknap... a 145 year old case. He was held to answer for charges of impeachment after he resigned. Why is it always a "William"? He was acquitted by the Senate even though he was no longer in office. Like today... politics and acrimony were in great abundance at Belknap's 1876 trial... from the left side of the political aisle.

I understand the concept of legal precedence but do Blount and Belknap's situations apply? I don't know. To me, it just appears we are on shaky ground.

Another "William... " While you were serving in California's state senate, William Jefferson Clinton was tried by the US Senate for perjury at an impeachment trial. It's pretty clear President Clinton was untruthful in the grand jury testimony that led to his impeachment. Even so, President Clinton's acquittal took us off shaky ground more than two decades ago. It was a lesson that the executive branch cannot be expected to look over its shoulder just because a president's party does not enjoy a majority in Congress.

While it can be argued that there is a case against Donald Trump in 2021, can the same be said about 2019? And if Republicans gain control of the House in 2022, can we expect payback in the form of impeachment charges against the current administration? I hope not. I am hoping for more vaccinations and I am hoping for more unity...

Cindy Cornell

Congresswoman Speier is a true gift to her District. She could well have been killed on January 6th by men who hold beliefs like some of the commenters in this paper.

Terence Y

Sorry, Ms. Cornell, but I don’t believe Antifa goons targeted Ms. Speier, since Ms. Speier appears to be one of their enablers.

Patrick Henry

Cindy- you do realize that Jim Jones got all his support from Willie Brown, Harvey Milk and George Moscone in San Francisco in the 70's right. I wouldn't be so hard on the liberal Democrats who contribute so faithfully to this comment section.

Dirk van Ulden

Cindy - I thought you were more intelligent than what you just spouted. None was in danger and AOC faked her anxiety although she was a mile away. Is that what you consider acceptable or normal? Come on! the most dangerous folks in this country are members of the BLM and Antifa; they were the ones that wrecked and looted our cities last summer. Never heard a peep from you then.

Tommy Tee

Dirk--clean off your glasses and watch the videos. There was danger everywhere. While you're at it, this "whataboutism" is getting old.

Dirk van Ulden

Yes Tommy - you and your ilk just don't like to be reminded of your failures to comment on what happened last summer. While I don't sanction violence, don't you realize that some of the actions taken at the Capitol were a reaction to the ho-hum attitude by the Democrats? So what, kill a few in those cities and burn them down. BTW, all of the persons who died that day were Trump supporters, including the Capitol PO who actually died a day after the riot.

Terence Y

Blah, blah, blah, yet another Trump bad, Trump supporters bad letter from a TDS-infected politician repeating the same Dum party lies. It’s too bad Ms. Speier memory-holes the death and destruction wrought by the idiot BLM and Antifa goons and the storming of the Capitol during the Kavanaugh hearings. But don’t worry, Ms. Speier, when Republicans regain the house, we’re going to impeach Biden, Treasonous Obama, Carter, Clinton, and even yourself and other Democrat senators and representatives. You reap what you sow.

Tommy Tee

Great letter, Mrs. Speier--you are spot on.

Patrick Henry

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Why doesn't Jackie just save all the phony words and just come out and admit she hates Trump and has hated Trump ever since he beat her friend Hillary in 2016. What has Jackie done for the people she represents on the peninsula in Congress other than to go after Trump. Zero respect for Jackie as she knows he will never be convicted and Democrats are just wasting more money and time on this fiasco. Give it a rest Jackie and retire so that someone new can take your place, you have been filled with hate since Trump was elected and many of your constituents think you are a worthless partisan politician.

Tafhdyd

Patrick,

And your list of accomplishments for the people of the peninsula is? Other than spew your hatred of all things NIMBY and anyone that is not a Trump sycophant what have you done. It is good that you continue to write your petulant prose so the readers can enjoy a good laugh now and then.

Terence Y

Taffy - and your list of accomplishments for the people of the peninsula are? Other than spewing TDS-hatred, propagating fake news and outright lies? It is good you continue commenting so readers can enjoy a good eye roll, pretty much, all the time.

Tafhdyd

Terence,

Why don't you quit your childish drivel and take time to read the comments. PH was complaining about Representative Speier and what she has done. I asked him the same. No where did I say I had any accomplishments, even though I do, so your question is a bit misdirected. BTW, thanks for using my line so the readers can laugh at your comments also.

Terence Y

Taffy, you’re complaining about what PH has done. I’m asking you the same. Fair is fair. Feel free to list some accomplishments, instead of just saying you have accomplishments. Else, you’re just causing more eyes to roll.

Tafhdyd

Sorry Terence,

I would list the accomplishments but they are classified. BTW, I am not complaining about PH, I am asking what he has done. He was the one complaining.

Terence Y

Taffy, next time you may first want to look up the definition of “complaining” before you use it. And regarding your accomplishments, you mean classified as in misdemeanor vs. felony? As in UCMJ to be summary, special or general? Inquiring minds want to know.

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