“No crime needs to be committed, but 218 members of the House [House of Representatives] must support impeachment to send it on to the Senate,” Karen Thalacker, Wartburg pre-law advisor and a judicial magistrate, said at Wartburg College’s Constitution Day event on Sept. 26. “As of this morning, they have hit the magic number.”
KAYLA MARTHALER, STAFF WRITER
The Constitution Day event was created to educate students on the U.S. Constitution, as well as other aspects of the U.S. Government, and featured a panel of experts.
The panel spoke on the formal impeachment inquiry involving President Donald J. Trump that stemmed from a recent whistleblower complaint about a phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, which was provided by Joseph Maguige, the acting director of national intelligence, according to the New York Times.
A student at the Constitution Day event asked about an “impending impeachment,” however Dr. Fred Waldstein, a professor of political science, clarified that “there is no official impeachment,” it is an inquiry at this time. Waldstein compared the current political climate to that of the Bill Clinton era. Nixon’s resignation was also brought up as an analogous situation to that of Trump’s presidency.
There are 220 Democrats and one Independent from the House that have publicly vowed support of an impeachment inquiry by the time of publication, according to the New York Times. If the President is impeached, two-thirds of the U.S. Senate would need to agree on removing the President from office in order for it to go to trial, according to Thalacker.
Currently, Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives while Republicans control the U.S. Senate. An impeachment inquiry is likely going to pass through the House with Democrats as the majority, although the stock markets are predicting that removal from office is going to pass in the Senate with a Republican majority, according to CNN. “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” said Thalacker, who quoted Benjamin Franklin, who wrote after the development of the U.S. Constitution.
The panel provided examples of why there is a need for Constitution Days as panelists explained that the U.S. Constitution is often confused with the Declaration of Independence. The U.S. Constitution does not mention democracy or God, according to Thalacker. Framers of the country wrote the U.S Constitution and founders created the Declaration of Independence during the
“Most people believe that the Supreme Court plays a part in impacting their lives, while 52% of surveyed individuals are unable to name a single justice,” Thalacker said and shared statistics about a lack of knowledge that many people hold about the U.S. government and U.S. Constitution. “Everyone benefits from protection of individual rights,” Judge Peter Newell, a district associate judge, said at the Constitution Day panel.
Judge Newell spoke about situations that he has dealt with as a district judge where an individuals rights were protected despite the fact that broke the law or did something wrong.. As a judge, Newell said at times he has to throw out evidence due to a search warrant issue, or a problem with the investigation. This is required because the rights of every U.S. citizen are protected by the U.S. Constitution.
For more information on the history of the Constitution, go to history.house.gov/ Institution/.