Conservative Case Western Reserve jurist Jonathan Adler publicly calls for Trump impeachment inquiry

Cleveland 2 months ago

WASHINGTON, D. C. - Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler strongly supports many of President Donald Trump’s policy positions and judicial picks. But the conservative jurist also believes the House of Representatives should vote on impeaching Trump.

As co-founder of a year-old group of prominent conservative and libertarian lawyers called “Checks and Balances,” Adler on Thursday joined the group in releasing a statement that declared Trump’s requests for China and the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden amount to “a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation, vote in the House of Representatives and potential trial in the Senate.”

"We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ ” said the statement Adler released with group members including George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

In a Friday interview, Adler said Checks & Balances was founded because he and the rest of its members felt "there was a lot of pressure to subordinate views about the law and legal principles to partisan or tribal considerations.

“Concern for the rule of law should not be a partisan concern,” said Adler.

Adler is a regular contributor to the conservative National Review. He has publicly supported Trump’s judicial nominees, played a role in federal court cases that aimed to overturn provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and has provided testimony before Congress on the Affordable Care Act and environmental and regulatory matters.

He says he and other members of the “Checks and Balances” group are pleased with some of the Trump administration’s deregulatory efforts and judicial nominees, but don’t believe those positive actions excuse inappropriate conduct by Trump.

He backed Bill Clinton’s impeachment for committing “perjury for political advantage." Until Trump came along, he felt Clinton had been the only president in his adult lifetime who had crossed the line.

“The same reasons why Clinton’s conduct was unacceptable for a president should lead one to reach similar conclusions about the current president,” said Adler.

Adler says he’s spoken to plenty of other Republicans and conservatives who are uncomfortable with many things Trump has said and done, and many things said on done on Trump’s behalf, but who aren’t yet willing to speak out about them. As an academic, he says it’s easier for him to speak out than it might be for a legislator who has to maintain relationships with the executive branch and within the Republican party.

“Politics are so tribal right now," said Adler. “There is so much pressure to feel you have to pick a side and be on your side, come hell or high water. But there are certain enduring principles that are integral to what our country is about and the framework our Constitution set up and the way our government operates needs to transcend those tribal impulses. If they don’t, that’s a problem. This is a period where that’s being tested.”

He said his group hopes to do some events in the near future where there will be “substantive debate and discussion of why these principles are important,” and he’d like to have one in Cleveland.

Feedback on the group’s call for impeachment has “generally been positive,” he said.

“I think people recognize that our statements and our actions are based on principle and not on partisan or political advantage," said Adler. “We regularly hear from people who are relieved that they’re not the only ones that have these concerns among conservatives and libertarians and people that would consider themselves on the political right. We have certainly received lots of positive feedback from people who aren’t willing to say these things publicly, whether because of clients or employers or the reality that the current political environment is a vindictive one.”

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