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William & Mary Law Review
The Trump Impeachments: Lessons for the Constitution, Presidents, Congress, Justice, Lawyers, and the Public
The conventional wisdom is that the two impeachments of Donald Trump demonstrated the ineffectiveness of impeachment as a remedy for serious presidential misconduct. Meeting the constitutional threshold for conviction and removal requiring at least two-thirds approval of the Senate is practically impossible so long as the members of the President’s party in Congress control at least a third of the seats in the Senate and are united in opposition to his impeachment and conviction. This Article challenges this conventional wisdom and argues instead that the two Trump impeachments have enduring effects on Trump’s political future and legacy, especially in light of the fact that the vast majority of senators condemned his actions in his second trial and the voluminous records of his misconduct serving as the basis for his first impeachment. The Article also assesses the lessons the trials have taught about the effectiveness of various safeguards against the misconduct of presidents and the lawyers who enable their corruption.
Repository CitationMichael J. Gerhardt, The Trump Impeachments: Lessons for the Constitution, Presidents, Congress, Justice, Lawyers, and the Public, 64 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1309 (2023), https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmlr/vol64/iss5/2
64 William & Mary Law Review 1309-1344 (2023)
This article is based on the 2022 James Gould Cutler Lecture given at William & Mary Law School.