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I was one of eight Republicans who voted against my colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene’s resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Here’s why.
As secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has carried out the Biden administration’s open-borders policy and deliberately produced the worst illegal mass migration in history. Since he took office, he has released 3 million illegal immigrants directly into the country, a population the size of Arkansas. And while the Border Patrol has been occupied changing diapers and taking names, an additional 1.7 million known “gotaways” have entered the country as well — an additional illegal population the size of Hawaii.
The impact on schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, working families’ wages, social programs, law enforcement, and national security has been catastrophic.
In response, many are demanding Mayorkas’ impeachment for “failing to maintain operational control of the border,” as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) resolution puts it.
He is certainly guilty of that and more: maladministration, malfeasance, and neglect of duties on a truly historic scale.
But these are not impeachable offenses. We know this because the American Founders specifically rejected these terms at the Constitutional Convention. As James Madison explained, the Constitution’s framers feared that such imprecise grounds could be twisted into a weapon for political grievances and turned against the executive branch whenever Congress saw fit. This would make the president a mere minister of Congress, utterly destroying the separation of powers at the heart of the Constitution.
We must never allow the left to become our teachers. Theirs is a world of strictly situational ethics antithetical to our Constitution and the rule of law.
They chose, instead, very specific and limited charges of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” True, many politicians through the centuries have tried to pervert the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” into a similarly vague definition. But the Founders would not have substituted one vague term for another.
Thus, we are left with the plain meaning of the phrase: clearly defined crimes related to the duties of the office.
If Greene is successful in redefining impeachment, then the next time Democrats have the majority, we can expect this new definition to be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court and any future Republican administration.
And there would be nobody to stop them, because Republicans will have signed off on this new and unconstitutional abuse of power.
We must never allow the left to become our teachers. Theirs is a world of strictly situational ethics antithetical to our Constitution and the rule of law. I vigorously opposed the sham impeachments of Donald Trump for exactly the same reason.
What is the practical effect of impeaching Mayorkas, other than assuring that Republicans will have no defense when a future Democrat majority turns this new definition against them?
Even in the delusional fantasy where two-thirds of the senators remove him, the same policies will remain in place as long as the Biden-Harris administration holds office. This crisis was set in motion by voters who elected them and can only be fixed by voters replacing them with a president determined to secure the border, as Donald Trump did.
Elections have consequences — sometimes terrible consequences — and this is one of them.
The only Cabinet secretary ever impeached was Ulysses Grant’s secretary of war, for running a family bribery scheme. The House Oversight Committee is painstakingly assembling evidence that suggests the Bidens may have been doing exactly that for decades. Such a serious inquiry can only have legitimacy and credibility if the rule of law is respected and the constitutional guardrails are observed.
By taking the Mayorkas impeachment directly to a vote without abiding by the requirements of due process or respecting constitutional constraints, Greene is tainting this serious impeachment inquiry with a shoot-from-the-hip stunt that is reckless, partisan, and unserious.
In Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons,” William Roper vows to “cut down every law in England” to get at the Devil.
Sir Thomas More replies, “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
And that’s why I voted against Greene’s resolution.
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U.S. Representative Tom McClintock is a Republican serving California’s 5th Congressional District.