Typewriter

Is the president above the law?

I understand the U.S. Constitution explains how a president can be removed from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors” by Congress using the impeachment process. This “removes” the president from office, but what if the president has committed a crime?

From research, I understand that the current Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted dates back to the days of Watergate, the resignation of President Nixon and the subsequent pardon by President Ford. But the Constitution is silent on whether a president can face criminal prosecution in court, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not directly addressed the question. President Nixon, after he left office, stated in an interview that, “Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” President Theodore Rooevelt, in his third annual address to Congress in 1903, said: “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.”

So the belief “no one is above the law,” is no longer correct because of a Justice Department policy? It is long overdue that this question should be taken to the courts for an interpretation of whether it is constitutional. It was important to President Roosevelt in 1903, why is it not important in 2019?

Gary L. Ford

Washington