If you can only read one book about impeachment, this is the one

Commentary

Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump

by Neal Katyal

I urge anyone interested in the future of our country, in the future of our democracy, in the future of the American “experiment,” to read Neal Katyal’s new book, “Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.”

Katyal is a lawyer who, as he writes, “has argued more United States Supreme Court cases than just about anyone,” convincing “everyone from Justice Scalia to Justice Ginsburg to side with his clients.” Currently a law professor at Georgetown University, he is a former acting U.S. Solicitor General of the United States. As you can guess from the book’s title, he is most definitely in favor of the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump. 

But Katyal is also a self-described “extremist centralist,” meaning, in his words, “I try to find wisdom in all sorts of places and don’t disagree with Republicans on everything—not even with President Trump.” Katyal even formally introduced Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Senate at his confirmation hearings. “Gorsuch wasn’t my friend, but I had seen him in court many times and knew he would continue to be a real judge.” Frustrated by Republican votes against the confirmation of the eminently qualified Elena Kagan, Katyal writes, “I wanted Democrats to apply the same yardstick to Justice Gorsuch that I felt Republicans should have applied to Justice Kagan.”

Katyal employs what he calls the “Yardstick Rule” because “the only way to preserve the rule of law is to apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of whether or not you agree with their views.”

“Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump” is the most contemporaneous book on our current impeachment debate that you can read. Published on Tuesday, November 26, it covers events and testimony as recent as last week. And yes, as I said earlier, Katyal is firmly for impeachment and removal. But he writes, “I don’t want you to simply take my word on whether the president has committed a high crime.” (Katyal describes as clearly as anyone I’ve ever read, the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the context of impeachment.) His goal is “to provide you (the reader) with the information you need to decide for yourself.”

And in making that decision, all he asks of readers is to use the “Yardstick Rule:” “…apply the same yardstick to President Trump that you would to President Obama.”

One last thing: Katyal writes about a Congressman who said in 2008, “This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interest ahead of public service.” That congressman: none other than Mike Pence, now Vice-President of the United States. Katyal call this the “Pence Standard” and uses it to test Congress’ “obligation to hold accountable a president who abuses the power of his office.” And asks you, the reader, to use that standard as well as you read through the facts.

Katyal provides those facts so the reader can “make a determination—not only about President Trump and Ukraine but about the history of impeachment: about why it was included in our Constitution, how it has been enforced throughout our history, and where all that leaves us today.”

By the way, for those who are reading averse or who don’t want to get bogged down in lawyer-speaking legalese, this book is not that but, in fact, a very informative, quick read.

Let me reiterate, I urge anyone who is interested in the future of our country, in the future of our democracy, in the future of the American “experiment,” to read this book. And that means anyone on either side of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, I fear that in our highly polarized, hysterically dug-in America, that’s not going to happen.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

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