Prominent House Democrat Proposes Constitutional Amendment Against Presidential Immunity

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In the wake of a striking Supreme Court ruling granting sweeping immunity for sitting presidents, a prominent House Democrat is gearing up to steer forward a constitutional amendment — an audacious endeavor aimed at counteracting the court decision and solidifying the principle that no president should be beyond the reach of the law.

Representative Joseph Morelle of New York, one of the commanding figures in the Democratic contingent, being the top-ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, has initiated what could be a demanding legislative journey. He has circulated a letter among his congressional peers, indicating his intent to propose the resolution — the requisite preliminary step in the labyrinthine amendment procedure.

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In a pointed message to the media, Morelle admonished, “This amendment will do what SCOTUS failed to do — prioritize our democracy.” He further elaborated that former President Donald Trump should be held answerable for his choices. Encouraging his colleagues to rally behind his proposed amendment, Morelle took on a forthright stance, pledging to defend democracy.

Morelle’s reaction constitutes the most extensive legislative countermeasure to date against a court ruling that delivered a jolt to Washington. A consortium of conservative justices swayed the court’s decision, a move that stirred the ire of their liberal counterparts who issued stark warnings about potential threats to democratic governance — particularly pertinent as Trump flirts with a possible re-emergence on the political stage. Realistically, however, Morelle’s initiative is unlikely to gain traction in the present Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts, authoring the majority opinion, expounded that the office of the president affords substantial immunity from criminal prosecution for actions undertaken within official capacity. This verdict casts a shadow of uncertainty over ongoing Justice Department cases against Trump, particularly in relation to his attempted reversal of the 2020 election outcome.

Trump, surrounded by a coterie of allies, celebrated the court’s ruling. The victory is sweeter with the reminder that three of the justices owe their positions to Trump’s tenure as president. Quick to leverage this advantage, Trump’s legal machinery sprang into action, successfully postponing the sentencing of an unrelated New York state felony conviction.

While this ruling alters the legal landscape significantly, it also introduces an element of delay. The upcoming November elections may offer Trump a rerun against President Joe Biden, and it is highly unlikely that the federal cases against Trump will reach their conclusion before then.

While it is true that the path to amending the constitution is a long and bruising one — and may never come to fruition at all — proponents of Morelle’s resolution remain steadfast. They contend that a constitutional amendment stands as the most potent tool to affirm the principle that presidents are not immune to repercussions for their actions.

“This amendment will guarantee that no public officer of the United States — including the president — is able to evade the accountability that any other American would face for violating our laws,” Morelle encapsulated in his letter to his colleagues.

Unswerving in his dedication, Morelle referenced the poignant words of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, leader of the dissenting voices, and of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, “Presidents are citizens, not tyrants.”

In a daring move, fellow Democrat, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared plans to lodge articles of impeachment against the justices — a charge she accused of being “an assault on American democracy.”

The next steps are laden with complex challenges. Congress needs a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to pass such a resolution — a tall order given the current political chasm. However, Morelle’s ardent commitment to launch the constitutional amendment process and send it to the states for ratification serves as a symbol of his dedication to the defense of the nation’s democracy.

Throughout the course of history, a total of 27 amendments have been made to the U.S. Constitution, perhaps adding a certain precedent of success to Morelle’s audacious campaign.