Alan Dershowitz says calls for the impeachment of Joe Biden are “wrong.” He claims in his most recent op-ed at the D.C. establishment’s favorite Republican rag, The Hill: “Whatever one may think of what Biden did or failed to do, it does not constitute an impeachable offense under the text of the Constitution.” With all due respect, Dershowitz is full of crap.
“The Framers,” Dershowitz writes, “insisted that a president could not be impeached unless he committed criminal-type conduct akin to treason and bribery.” If this is true, then why did President Thomas Jefferson call for the impeachment of a federal district judge on the grounds that he was “a man of loose morals and intemperate habits?” Jefferson was a prominent founder, who greatly influenced the framers of the Constitution.
Judge John Pickering, a U.S. district court judge, was impeached on March 2, 1803. The articles of impeachment accused Pickering “of drunkenness, blasphemy on the bench, and refusing to follow legal precedent.” He was convicted a year later, on March 12, 1804.
Now Dershowitz and others would likely argue that this was an abuse of impeachment. Dershowitz asserts, “to use the impeachment power on partisan grounds, damages the Constitution and creates a dangerous precedent.” But the impeachment of Biden is not partisan. It is American, it is justified, and it is required.
Impeachment is not defined in the Constitution as “criminal-type conduct akin to treason and bribery,” as Dershowitz claims. It is defined as “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The entire reason “other high Crimes and misdemeanors” was added was that George Mason—a framer—wanted grounds for impeachment to include attempts to subvert the Constitution.