The Pledge to Safeguard the Constitution
As allegations regarding President Trump’s election improprieties have evolved from the initial activities in the Ukraine incident which led to his impeachment; to his questioning the very process and validity of the November 2020 election with an unwillingness to commit to abide by its results or to a peaceful transition of power; and as the President concurrently has used military force against peaceful protesters and sent armed federal agents into cities across America in a campaign of enforcing "law and order", and has incited insurrectionists who have invaded, ransacked and occupied the Capitol of the United States itself, perhaps with the intent of kidnapping and/or executing some of its members: we the undersigned pledge to safeguard the Constitution of the United States of America by urging Congress to enact a consolidated grouping of legislative proposals to restrict certain authorities attributed to any President under the unitary executive interpretation of Article II of the Constitution.
As former White House Counsel John Dean has explained, "In its most extreme form, unitary executive theory can mean that neither Congress nor the federal courts can tell the President what to do or how to do it." President Trump has asserted, "When somebody's President of the United States, the authority is total ... [I can] do anything I want."
We as citizens and/or as candidates for political office commit to support and call on Congress to enact legislation around the framework of the following four affiliated proposals:
1 - We pledge to support a congressional resolution and legislation (and ultimately, if required, a Constitutional Amendment) reaffirming the legal obligation of all members of BOTH the executive and legislative branches of the federal government (including the President of the United States) to abide by whatever rulings the courts adjudicate (even under what might be defined as a "national emergency"); and assert that that failure to obey a Supreme Court order would trigger appropriate legal remedy, up to and including an impeachment investigation if absolutely necessary.
We concurrently commit to abide by the judicial process in order to determine the final outcome of all elections (even ones challenged for improprieties); will apply this standard to all offices, including to that for President of the United States; reaffirm not just that it is inappropriate - but ILLEGAL - for ANYBODY to elicit or accept illicit foreign interference or assistance in American elections; pledge not do so ourselves as candidates; and support stricter monitoring of and restrictions on campaign activities dangerous to our democratic processes.
In order to prevent anybody from illegitimately interfering with the procedures or results of the 2020 election, we commit to bring #1 of this set of proposals before the present session of Congress (before the election and/or afterwards if necessary) in order to ensure a legally valid election and a peaceful transition of power in accordance with traditional electoral procedures and constitutional principles.
However, the President's response to the Mueller investigation and his conduct in office under the justification of the unitary executive theory have also resulted in the misuse of the Department of Justice, of presidential emergency powers and of the ability of law enforcement and government watchdogs to rein them in; as well as in other abuses.
Therefore, in order to be sure that the above election standards are sustained; to hold anybody who violates them accountable; as well as to prevent further misuse of presidential powers:
2 - We pledge to support legislation both in this and future sessions of Congress to bring necessary institutions and officials of the federal government of the United States such as the Department of Justice and the Inspectors General of crucial departments under more balanced and shared joint congressional and executive branch oversight so as to ensure that independent investigations will be made without obstruction from the subjects who are themselves being investigated.
It is vital that the executive and legislative branches have the ability to monitor EACH OTHER, as well as to investigate any relevant law enforcement agency; that any disputes between them be adjudicated in a timely manner by the judicial system; and that the Justice Department itself must become a "neutral zone" in the words of former Attorney General Griffin Bell.
3 - We further pledge to insist that Congress revisit the 1976 National Emergencies Act so that presidential emergency powers will be subject to closer congressional oversight and easier override; will be more clearly and narrowly defined; will automatically expire after shorter durations which have to be proactively affirmed and subsequently renewed by Congress; and that funding for any emergency not actively reaffirmed by Congress would automatically be defunded by default.
Instead of emergency powers automatically flowing towards the executive, all emergency powers EXCEPT those delegated to the President by the Constitution or by specific congressional legislation shall be reserved for the Congress and States in a way that would parallel the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.
4 - We furthermore pledge to support legislation to rein in other presidential powers as appropriate to prevent covering up abuses in the above areas, and also to guard the integrity of our democratic institutions by making the executive branch more transparent and subject to greater scrutiny. The most important of these reforms are ones which effect freedom of speech and information because these involve the most potentially irreversible threats to our constitutional system (and could lead to the closure of the windows from which other assaults on freedom could even be viewed, let alone countered).
Some examples of these are libel lawsuits intended to intimidate and/or bankrupt media entities; politicization of the Voice of America; abuse of the national security classification process; and the refusal to honor Freedom of Information Act requests.
We encourage these proposals to be advanced in INSTITUTIONAL versus political terms by both major parties, by third parties (such as the Libertarians or Greens or the People's Convention and others) and by activists and organizations from outside of government in order to persuade elected officials to support The Pledge on a multipartisan basis.
As citizens, we pledge to advance these propositions.
As candidates for President of the United States, the House of Representatives and Senate, we swear to use our legislative authority to implement the above proposals; and we expect to be held appropriately accountable by the people for our success or failure in so doing.
© 2020 Alex Crisafulli. All rights reserved.