Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
As a programmer, two very powerful clauses when invoking logic are the "and" and the "or". When "and" is invoked, all conditions must be satisfied. When the "or" is invoked, only one of the conditions must be satisfied.
Historically, every individual word stated in the Constitution of the United States of America has been treated as having been entered with the full intention of its authors. Because of this, in the above statement, the first section carries a significant amount of weight due to its usage of the word "and".
"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States"
This creates a quandary. Based upon the use of the word "and" in the above, two conditions must be satisfied in order to successfully impeach a President of the United States of America.
- The President must be removed from Office.
- The President must be disqualified from holding any Office.
If Congress proceeds with its attempt to impeach Donald J. Trump under the presumption that Donald J. Trump has left the Office of the President of the United States and is now a civilian, then the impeachment must fail because condition 1 cannot be satisfied.
While this is open to the interpretation of the Supreme Court of the United States, and because we have never before been in a situation where an impeachment has been attempted after a new President has been sworn into office, the language is clear. The only way condition 1 can be satisfied are if one of the following scenarios are true:
- Donald J. Trump is still technically the President of the United States of America, and the other two branches of government are cognizant of this.
- Joe Biden is the President who will be impeached.
If scenario 1 is true, we currently have a situation where for the first time in US history we have two Presidents in power at the same time. If scenario 2 is true, well...I think that may be wishful thinking on my part, because I do not see a way that an impeachment that was originally designated for President Donald J. Trump could reach the Senate and then switch defendants; it seems unlikely that this would ever be the case, or if it were the case, it would be immediately dismissed.
In any event, this is some food for thought, and it bears maintaining close attention to the proceedings of the second impeachment trial for Donald J. Trump, if only for the fact that history is being made.
More will be revealed my friends.