A grand jury in Manhattan voted to indict former President Donald Trump.Certain state felony charges and reports new york times“remains a mystery” but relates to Trump’s investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney for paying hush money to a porn star just before the 2016 presidential election.
It is the first time that a US president or former president has been indicted.
At the same time, Trump is expected to continue his campaign for the presidency in 2024, aiming to regain the position he lost to Joe Biden in 2020.
Possible indictments and trials against his campaign, and what will be the outcome of his future presidency if his efforts are successful?
Article 2 of the US Constitution provides very specific qualifications for the President. The president, he is 35 years old, has lived in the United States for 14 years and must be a natural citizen.
Where similar qualifications are concerned with members of Congress, the Supreme Court has held that such qualifications form a “constitutional cap” and prohibits the imposition of additional qualifications by any means.
Therefore, since the Constitution does not require a president to be free from indictment, conviction, or prison, a person indicted or in prison can run for president, and even serve.
This is a common legal standard that applies to former President Trump. The facts of his indictment and potential trial are irrelevant to his entitlement under the Constitution.
Nonetheless, there seems little doubt that an indictment, conviction, or both, let alone a prison sentence, would seriously undermine a president’s ability to do his job. And the Constitution offers no easy answers to the questions posed by such compromised chief executives.
Rule from prison?
A presidential candidate can be indicted, indicted, and convicted by state or federal authorities. State criminal prosecutions may not seem as important as federal prosecutions by the Justice Department.
Ultimately, however, the spectacle of criminal trials in state or federal courts will have a dramatic impact on the presidential campaign and, if elected, the credibility of the president.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the event of conviction, imprisonment in state or federal prison entails restrictions on liberties that significantly undermine the president’s leadership.
This point that it is difficult to serve as president while indicted or after being convicted was made clear in a 2000 memo written by the Justice Department. The memo reflects his 1973 Office of Legal Counsel memo “Submissiveness of Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Other Officials to Federal Criminal Prosecution While in Office,” produced during the Watergate scandal. doing. The background to the 1973 memo was that President Richard Nixon was under investigation for his role in the Watergate robbery and that Vice President Spiro Agnew was under a grand jury investigation for tax evasion.
These two memos dealt with whether a sitting president could be indicted while in office under the Constitution. They concluded he couldn’t. But what about a president who was indicted, convicted, or both before taking office, as was the case with Trump?
The 1973 and 2000 memos outlined the impact of pending indictments on the president’s functioning in office when assessing whether a sitting president could be indicted or imprisoned while in office. was Earlier memos used strong language.[t]The spectacle of an indicted president still trying to serve as CEO is unimaginable. “
Furthermore, the memo states that criminal prosecution of a sitting president could “result in physical interference in the performance of his official duties, leading to his incapacity.”
The memo here refers to the inconvenience of criminal trials that seriously undermine the president’s time commitment to his demanding duties.
But it’s also the words of a lawyer that describe a more direct impediment to a president’s ability to govern. He could be in jail.
Core functionality affected
According to a 1973 memo, “The president plays an unparalleled role in enforcing the law, conducting diplomatic relations, and defending the nation.”
Since these core functions require meetings, liaisons, or consultations with military, foreign leaders, and government officials in the United States and abroad in ways that cannot be performed while incarcerated, the 1973 As constitutional scholar Alexander Bickel put it: prison. “
Modern presidents are itinerant. He regularly travels nationally and internationally to meet with other national leaders and global organizations. They obviously cannot do any of these things while in prison. I couldn’t talk to the group, or at least meet them in person.
Additionally, the president needs access to classified information and briefings. But imprisonment apparently also undermines the president’s ability to access such information. Information must often be stored and viewed in secure rooms protected from all types of espionage, including radio wave blocking.
As a result of the various duties and duties of the President, the memo concluded:[t]The physical imprisonment of the Chief Executive on a valid conviction would undoubtedly prevent the executive branch from carrying out its constitutionally assigned functions. “
原文: The president couldn’t do his job.
execution from prison
But what if citizens elect a president who has actually been indicted or imprisoned?
This is not out of the question. At least one of his imprisoned presidential candidates, Eugene Debs, received nearly one million votes out of a total of 26.2 million cast in the 1920 election.
One possible remedy is the 25th Amendment, which allows the president’s cabinet to declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
However, two Justice Department memos point out that the originators of the 25th Amendment never considered or referred to imprisonment as a ground for failing to discharge the office’s powers and duties. . They wrote that replacing the president under the 25th Amendment would not “give enough weight to the choices people consider about who they want to serve as chief executive.”
All of this brings to mind Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ admonition regarding the role of the Supreme Court. that’s my job. “
Holmes’ statement was in a letter reflecting the Sherman Antitrust Act, which he thought was a stupid law. Holmes, however, was ready to accept the will of the masses expressed through democracy and self-determination.
Perhaps the same considerations apply here. If people elect a president who is dragged down by criminal sanctions, that is also a kind of self-determination. And what the Constitution does not have an immediate solution.
Stefanie Lindquist is a Foundation Professor of Law and Political Science at Arizona State University.
This article is reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.