The Trump impeachment episode: Party wars and the Constitution

newspaper headline "acquitted" with picture of Donald Trump

The Trump impeachment episode: Party wars and the Constitution

Claire Finkelstein, Jonathan Turley, Sidney Milkis (moderator)

Monday, February 24, 2020
11:00AM - 12:15PM (EST)
Event Details

The House impeachment and Senate trial of President Trump—only the third episode of its kind in American history—raise a number of fascinating and troubling questions about American democracy.

Did the Trump administration’s actions warrant Congress’ use of this rarely invoked constitutional authority? Did the hope of many scholars and pundits that impeachment would educate the American people about the dangers of executive power disintegrate into partisan theater? How did the Trump impeachment compare with the impeachment investigations of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton? How will the impeachment and acquittal of Trump affect his and future presidents' exercise of executive power? How will the Trump impeachment—the first to charge a president running for reelection—affect the 2020 election?  

These and other questions probing the relationship between the president and the Constitution will be addressed by two distinguished scholars of legal history: Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and Jonathan Turley, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law of George Washington Law School. The panel will be moderated by Sidney M. Milkis, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Monday, February 24, 2020
11:00AM - 12:15PM (EST)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Claire Finkelstein headshot

Claire Finkelstein

Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, is an expert in national security law, the law of armed conflict and military ethics. In 2012, Finkelstein founded Penn Law’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), a non-partisan interdisciplinary institute that preserves and promotes the rule of law in modern day national security, U.S. governance and warfare. She is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and has briefed Pentagon officials, Special Ops forces, congressional staff and JAG Corps members on various issues in national security law and practice.

Finkelstein is a co-editor (with Jens David Ohlin) of The Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security, and the Rule of Law, and a volume editor of its four titles thus far. Her prior scholarly work focused on criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy, jurisprudence, and rational choice theory.

Jonathan Turley headshot

Jonathan Turley

Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

In addition to his extensive publications, Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, and members of Congress. He is a frequent witness before Congress and his testimony includes the confirmation hearings of attorney general nominees Loretta Lynch and William Barr as well as Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. He is one of only two academics to testify at both the Clinton and Trump impeachment hearings.

Sid Milkis headshot

Sidney Milkis (moderator)

Sidney M. Milkis is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Governance and Foreign Affairs, Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professor, and professor of politics. His research focuses on the American presidency, political parties and elections, social movements, and American political development. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, he regularly gives public lectures on American politics and participates in programs for international scholars and high school teachers that probe the deep historical roots of contemporary developments in the United States. His many books include the recently published Rivalry and Reform: Presidents, Social Movements, and the Transformation of American Politics.