Who remembers the 1957 science fiction movie, “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” about a man who gradually shrinks to an undetectable size and is all but forgotten by his family? The shrinking process began when he was aboard a boat that was encircled by a mysterious fog.
I was reminded of this movie as I reflected on Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton’s vote to impeach President Trump last December 18. Defending her vote, Mrs. Wexton wrote in a letter to me, “on both articles of impeachment, the facts are uncontested and the truth is inescapable.” If readers were watching the recently concluded Senate trial, they now should understand that the facts indeed were contested as was the alleged “truth” constructed by the President’s political opponents.
During her stint as a prosecutor, I wonder if Jennifer Wexton recognized and defended the right of the accused to due process, a respected legal protection dating back to the Magna Carta in 1215? Her vote for impeachment denied due process to the President of the United States, as well as Constitutional rigors and her own Chamber’s rules for impeachment. Her vote betrayed her oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Due process protections Jennifer Wexton denied to the President were: the right to representation by counsel, the right to pursue cross-examination and the right to present evidence.
Legal scholars with a deep understanding of and appreciation for the rule of law and due process protections stand on the shoulders of legal giants who forged those protections over centuries of courtroom contests. People like Jennifer Wexton who wear the mantle of a jurist but dispense with basic due process protections, shrink in stature most notably when trading legal responsibility for cheap political gain.
And so Jennifer Wexton has begun her incredible shrinking process. In her first term of office, she was enveloped by the Pelosi-Schiff-Nadler fog of confusion, hearsay, lawlessness and sheer mendacity that descended upon the House of Representatives (not to mention her disgraceful, mean-girl behavior during the State of the Union). Rather than stand up for the rule of law and defend the precious and basic right of every American (including the President) to due process, Wexton swept aside legal precedent and plunged headlong into murky waters for tawdry political advantage.
A majority of the Senate saw through the impeachment sham, characterized by secret hearings, selectively leaked information, defiance of legal procedure and a stunning refusal to grant due process to the President of the United States.
Virginia’s 10th Congressional District deserves better than Jennifer Wexton. We may not always agree on policy matters, but we should be able to agree on basic legal protections derived from due process and the rule of law. Without those protections, no one is safe from tyrants.
Sic Semper Tyrannis.