On Monday, the Jan. 6 House committee voted to refer former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department for criminal investigation and possible prosecution. However, Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz has reported that this referral violates the U.S. Constitution.
At the Jan. 6 committee’s final hearing, the panel voted unanimously on four criminal referrals against Trump, including one that would prevent him from holding office again. The charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, making a false statement to the federal government, and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.
The United States law states that “whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under his title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
In explaining the panel’s reasoning for the referrals, panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, “Our criminal referrals were based on the gravity of the offense, the centrality of the actors, and the evidence we had available to us. There were undoubtedly other people involved, but we were stymied by virtue of a lot o people refusing to come and testify, refusing to give us the information they had, or taking the Fifth Amendment. So, we chose to advance the names of people where we felt certain that there was abundant evidence that they had participated in crimes.”
Dershowitz shared his thoughts on this referral with Just the News, saying, “In my view, it’s clearly unconstitutional. Article One limits the power of Congress through legislative actions. This is not a legislative action, naming a specific individual and referring them to the Justice Department. It’s not legislative and it tramples on the authority of the executive branch.”
“The 14th Amendment provides one specific time when Congress may in fact act against an individual,” continued Dershowitz. “That is if the person was engaged in an insurrection or rebellion, like in the Civil War, and they didn’t act under that provision.”
It is the opinion of Dershowitz that the Department of Justice will accept the referrals but likely ignore them. He said, “I think the Justice Department will be polite and accept them, and then go on with its own investigation.”
“Remember, they now have a special counsel,” said the Harvard law professor. “They have the ability to investigate. They have a much higher standard of prosecution than Congress does. So they will politely ignore what Congress has said.”
Dershowitz also expressed his frustration with the law becoming increasingly weaponized by the government. He insisted that “the American public has to be protected against the weaponization of our legal system for partisan purposes.”