Developing a Law School Course on Presidential Impeachment
72 SMU L. Rev. F. 41 (2019) DOI:10.25172/slrf.72.1.4
SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 446
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2019 Last revised: 13 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 3, 2019
This short essay discusses my motivation for and the process that I went through over the past two years developing a law school course on presidential impeachment and related topics. I recommend that those law school faculty members who may have only a modest constitutional law background, but who feel as I do that more sustained discussion of the questions that would be presented by an attempt to remove President Trump from office through impeachment is called for, consider also developing and offering such a course.
I found that through reading a few accessible books and supervising a handful of student individual research papers, one can fairly quickly develop sufficient command of the material to offer a valuable elective course on presidential impeachment and other non-electoral presidential removal procedures. But the proper scope of coverage of such a class in the current environment is a rapidly moving target, and the course that I will teach this fall semester will have to be substantially restructured from my prior spring semester offering to reflect the damning findings of the Mueller Report, the Trump Administration’s mischaracterization of that Report and subsequent stonewalling response to congressional oversight and testimony requests, the damning whistleblower complaint and revealed Administration cover-up efforts and subsequent near-universal embrace of impeachment by House Democrats, and the implications of the continued and ever more fervent and cult-like partisan embrace of President Trump by Senate Republicans even after the Mueller Report and the whistleblower complaint.
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