No, Whitmer Should Not Be Impeached

I have been highly critical of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her misrepresentation of a state supreme court ruling that she violated the state constitution in her pandemic orders, a false account echoed by NBC’s Chuck Todd. However, the move today to impeach Whitmer is wrong for many of the same reasons raised in my testimony against the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Whitmer did violate the Constitution, as have other public officials in other states. However, this was a legal dispute on the scope of her discretion that was resolved by the state courts.  We cannot have impeachment as a type of “no confidence” vote on chief executives.

Article 12 of the Michigan Constitution parallels the language of the federal constitution with a slight difference:

The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching civil officers for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes or misdemeanors; but a majority of the members elected shall be necessary to direct an impeachment.

It does not use “high crime or misdemeanors.” Also treason is not a state offense so the identical standard of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes or Misdemeanors” would not work on the state level. Yet, it is clear that the language is meant to establish a high standard of proven wrongdoing and not mere disagreements with policies and priorities.  The Michigan standard references “corrupt conduct” or “crimes or misdemeanors” — allegations that encompass serious and objective misconduct. Every modern president has lost constitutional cases in federal courts as have many governors. We have a court system to address such controversies, but a ruling against a president or governor is not instantly grounds for removal from office.

Three Republican members in the Michigan House of Representatives introduced a resolution for impeachment against Whitmer for failing to respect the separation of powers by exercising power granted to the legislative branch, violating the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issuing executive orders against the interests of the people and state, and using state resources to reward political allies.”  Those are all valid political objections, but they fail short of constitutional grounds for impeachment in my view.

As I previously wrote in relation to the Trump impeachment:

Parliamentary systems, like Great Britain’s, allow for “no confidence” motions to remove prime ministers. Parliament can pass a resolution stating “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.” But that’s not our system, and it’s doubtful that the members of Congress calling for Trump’s impeachment would relish a parliamentary approach: When such a vote succeeds, the prime minister isn’t necessarily the only politician to go. If the existing members of parliament can’t form a new government in 14 days, the entire legislative body is dissolved pending a general election…

The Constitution’s framers were certainly familiar with votes of no confidence, but despite their general aim to limit the authority of the presidency, they opted for a different course. They saw a danger in presidents being impeached due to shifts in political support and insulated presidents from removal by limiting the basis for impeachment and demanding a high vote threshold for removal. There would be no impulse-buy removals under the Constitution.

The same holds for true for governors, including Whitmer.


33 thoughts on “No, Whitmer Should Not Be Impeached”

  1. The opinion that Whitmer should not be impeached won’t prevent her from being impeached. The House should not have voted to impeach Trump…….but they did. If a vote to impeach Whitmer is as one-sided as the vote to impeach Trump it will be just as bogus.

  2. Why not ?

    We impeached Trump for asking for investigations into the Bidens when there absolutely was a valid basis to investigate.

    Are you still today clinging to the nonsense that if the House had explored further they might have had a stronger cause against Trump ?

    The house did not want to explore further – anything short of a show trial would subject the Bidens and other democrats to scrutiny.

    Regardless, there are far too many of us who sympathize with the wing nuts who plotted to kidnap Whitmer.

    After all if Madonna, Johnny Depp, and DeNiro can fantasize about killing the president what is wrong with Whitmer kidnapping fantasy porn ?

  3. She’s horrific. The solution for a horrific governor is to make sure that she loses her re-election. Impeachment is not the cure for disagreement, even to a horrific level.

  4. I think this is up to the people of Michigan, though if I lived there I would want her head on a platter. Forget the lockdown, I’d do it based only on the facts that she gave the big middle finger to the police and the White House alone Would think a person that insists on upholding the rule of law and writes a certain legal blog might feel similarly, the TDS is seeping through again. I think she deserves, and those like her deserve, everything coming to them. She has very intentionally impeded progress on many fronts in the name of partisanship, and though that may not be treason, it’s good enough to kick her skinny butt to the curb. The behavior of some of these folks is despicable. Period. And I suspect folks like the professor would feel differently if they had to live in those states (I live in one.Governor is a tyrant of the highest order).

  5. Am I wrong?

    If memory serves, it was Whitmer who staged a photograph with 8645 prominently displayed in the background.

    I would strongly condemn anyone who would take a photograph with 8649 prominently featured.

  6. Usurping a function of the legislature ought to be treated as an impeachable crime. Wrong again, Jonathan Turley!

    1. “Usurping a function of the legislature ought to be treated as an impeachable crime. Wrong again, Jonathan Turley!” What proof do you have that Jonathan is wrong, David?

  7. What percentage of people who refuse to wear masks in public are dumb smokers?
    What percentage of dumb smokers won’t wear masks in public?
    It may be a redundancy to call a smoker a dumb smokers. It may be that a dumb smokers is an oxymoron.

  8. Re: Chuck Todd. When that media boondoggle was going on about Ferguson, Missouri the Chuck Todd guy said: “Ferguson us a ghetto!”
    He had just mentioned that it was 60 percent african american population. He concluded it was “a ghetto” because of that. Boycott that channel called CNN when Chuck is on the screen. “CNN” means Chuck Nutcase News.

  9. Governor Whitmer presumably wants what is best for Michigan during a difficult pandemic. Turley demonstrates consistency and impartiality here.

    Presumptive President-elect Biden is concerned about GSA-approved access of his team to the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 PPE stockpile and vaccine distribution response system. He wants to ensure an adequate response and a smooth transition in these areas especially:

    Maybe Biden should ask Governor Whitmer or Governor Cuomo to serve on his COVID-19 Pandemic Advisory Board. In addition, Biden and/or Harris could be allowed to sit in on the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 Governors Briefings. They appear comprehensive and up-to-date:

    Governor Whitmer will hold a Coronavirus News Conference at 3:15 PM EST and the White House will hold a Coronavirus Task Force News Conference at 4 PM EST today.

    1. The ongoing Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious crime in American political history.

      The co-conspirators are:

      Kevin Clinesmith, Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

      James Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic,

      Sally Yates, James Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell,

      Sir Richard Dearlove, Christopher Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud,

      Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary,

      Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch,

      Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,

      Joe Biden, James E. Boasberg et al.

  10. One thing for certain the GOP better learn how to play the game (rough). For 4 years the Democrats have done everything they could to disrupt and resist an election of the American people. They have taken our election process into the likes of a third world. Each Democrat run state has made a mockery of the election process. Although I know it won’t happen but this Presidential election should be tossed and one with integrity should be initiated. Vote in person, with verifiable ID, absentee ballots only.

    The greatness of this nation is about to fall flat on its ass because of a Marxist influence presented by one political party. As for this woman I’ll leave that up to the people of Michigan. All Americans Republican, Democrat and Independents alike are going to feel the pain if this election stands. Just because you voted for a Democrat will not shield you from what’s coming.

  11. JT: “[T]he move today to impeach Whitmer is wrong . . .”

    I disagree.

    The moral-political justification for removing her is stated very clearly in the Declaration of Independence:

    “[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government . . .”

    Whitmer’s “long train of abuses” puts her in the rogues gallery of tyrants.

  12. We cannot have impeachment as a type of “no confidence” vote on chief executives.

    Cannot? Think parchment barrier and then dismiss the idea of cannot. 2020 has proven to be the year of the slogan, Yes We Can!

    1. The Court has said she violated the Constitution and overstepped her authority by miles. Plus, she did follow her own rules. That is enough to impeach her. Oh, and she has been way too smug about her lockdowns.

  13. Why not impeach her? They impeached Trump on less, actually for things that Biden did. It is up to the legislature of the state.

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