From The Nation
More than two centuries ago, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, George Mason posed the question that framed the founders' understanding of the presidency they had established. "Shall any man be above justice?" he asked. "Above all, shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?"
Mason answered his own question: "No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued." His view carried the day and extends to our time. Impeachment has remained the tool for ensuring that no president may serve as an "elected despot." This was not a radical construct. It was a solemn commitment, made in the summer of 1787 by veterans of a struggle against an imperialist monarchy.
Raskin brought to last week's deliberations a sense of history and mission. And he asked his House colleagues to do the same. "I urge members to study the overwhelming evidence of both these high crimes, as well as the strong pattern of corruption within which they took place, and then to vote their conscience when the articles come to the House floor," declared Raskin, who well understands that the job of Judiciary Committee members at this point is to make the case for the impeachment of a president who has abandoned his oath to respect the dictates of the Constitution.
Our constitutional crisis finally will be addressed with a constitutional cure, and the wisest members of the House will recognize a duty to give it scope and meaning. There is some truth in Politico's observation that "the three-day Judiciary Committee proceedings [preceding the impeachment vote] were largely an exercise in grandstanding, speechifying and at times monotonous repetition -- an endurance exercise in which each side appeared to be baiting the other to trip over their arguments or commit procedural offenses that could resonate outside Washington."