PENNSYLVANIA — The Republican impeachment managers responded last week in Commonwealth Court to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s petition to stop the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate before it begins.
House impeachment managers Reps. Craig Williams (R-Delaware/Chester), who chairs the impeachment trial, and Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler), through their attorneys at Saxton & Stump, LLC, filed substantive responses to Krasner’s petition after filing preliminary objections to dismiss the petition earlier in the week.
It is Williams’ and Bonner’s position that this matter is not properly before the Commonwealth Court, and that Krasner should be making his arguments in the context of the approaching impeachment trial in the Senate. Krasner has not suffered any harm that is redressable in the courts, and he raises matters that are in the province of the General Assembly or not ripe for judicial review.
As described in the Republican impeachment managers’ filings:
- It is a procedural matter for the General Assembly, not the courts, whether impeachment proceedings can continue from one General Assembly to the next, and the House rules specifically permit such continuation. In fact, prior impeachment proceedings in Pennsylvania have carried over from one General Assembly to the next.
- Whether Krasner is a “civil officer” subject to impeachment is a matter to be adjudicated in the Senate and not ripe for judicial review. Further, the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution and legal precedent support the conclusion that Krasner is a civil officer.
- Whether the conduct for which Krasner has been impeached constitutes “misbehavior in office” is similarly inappropriate for the Commonwealth Court to review. It is for the Senate to determine whether to impeach and convict a district attorney; this provides a critical check on a district attorney’s authority.
“Krasner’s lawsuit is illustrative of how he conducts himself in office,” Williams said. “He argues he cannot be impeached by the General Assembly. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, that is patently false. He argues he cannot be impeached in one General Assembly and tried in the next. That is contrary to law and is patently false. He argues he has committed no misbehavior in office. Yet, he and his office have lied to a grand jury, the courts and victims. So, that claim is also patently false.”
“The articles of impeachment outline Krasner’s misbehavior in office,” Bonner said. “He and his office have lied to courts and to a grand jury. He has been held in contempt by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of House members for refusing to respond to a House committee’s subpoenas. This is not about politics or the outcome of an election, but rather his unethical and unlawful behavior.”
Lawrence F. Stengel, of the law firm Saxton &Stump, will handle oral arguments before the Commonwealth Court in late December on behalf of Impeachment Chairman Williams and Impeachment Manager Bonner.
“It is our privilege to represent the House managers,” Stengel said. “We are grateful to the Commonwealth Court for setting promptly an argument date.”
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