To fill their top spot on the House Judiciary Committee, Democrats had a choice between experts in two critical policy arenas: a constitutional law ace with firsthand experience battling President Trump, and an architect of sweeping immigration legislation.
By a wide margin, they chose the constitutional law expert. Why? To ready themselves for a battle with Trump that could end with impeachment proceedings.
The selection of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) as the ranking member on Judiciary was the clearest sign yet of how seriously House Democrats consider the possibility of a full-blown constitutional showdown with Trump.
You wouldn’t know it from how many of them talk. When it comes to the I-word, most Democrats have walked a tightrope — with even Nadler hesitant to mention impeachment in interviews before votes were cast Wednesday.
Leaders have cautioned the rank and file not to push for impeachment because the public might view it as an overreach. The House’s few remaining moderate Democrats from swing districts have regularly warned the party’s liberal flank against making the 2018 midterm elections about Trump or the investigations into his presidential campaign.
Luckily, those swing district moderates were outvoted. With Nadler in, the game is on.
Nadler won a secret ballot 118 to 72, demonstrating that this caucus wants to be ready to clash with Trump if it vaults into the majority after next year’s midterm elections.
“There is nobody better prepared, if the president messes around with the Constitution, to handle it than Jerry Nadler,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said after the vote.
Nadler's oppoenent in the race was California's Zoe Lofgren, who argued that immigration should be the Dems' top focus in 2018 heading into the midterms, and not Trump. It's a nice thought and if the Dems had control of Congress and the White House, that would be a solid argument.
But right now we need to be on a war footing. Trump must be removed from office. It's good to see the Dems get serious about this.