Donald Trump was impeached yesterday. I dedicated most of yesterday’s newsletter to my endorsement of impeachment, and I won’t repeat those arguments today (and the readers sigh in relief). The next phases are predictable. Democrats will cry foul on process just as Republicans did in the House—to the point where side questions about process will sometimes overwhelm any real debate on substance—but Republicans control the chamber, so they’ll conduct the trial according to the rules they set and acquit the president. And if Wednesday’s House debate is any indication, most of the GOP senators will do so without raising a single peep of objection about the president’s underlying conduct, even if they know it was wrong.
The only real questions regard the political and historical impact of impeachment, and that depends a great deal on the outcome of the 2020 election. There is a huge difference between a narrative that reads, “corrupt, impeached, defeated” and one that reads, “persecuted, impeached, triumphed.” One is a cautionary tale, the other is a heroic journey.
But more happened yesterday than impeachment. The judiciary never sleeps (well, it does sleep—and it golfs—but it was alert Wednesday), and two things happened that have significant implications for American constitutional law and American electoral politics. They’re the subject of today’s French Press:
The 5th Circuit hangs the Sword of Damocles over Obamacare.