The Intricacies of a Peaceful Transition of Power

By Jasmine Jonas

February 2021

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Berkeley Law School, and Justice Brian M. Hoffstadt of the Second District, Division Two California Courts of Appeal gave their expert opinions on the intricacies of a peaceful transition of power in a webinar moderated by Judge Serena R. Murrillo of the L.A. Superior Court. They addressed many prevalent matters such as the trial of Donald Trump’s impeachment, the extent of the president’s power to pardon, and the recent insurrection in D.C. The essence of the discussion on Donald Trump’s impeachment trial was that no one is above the law, not even the president. Meaning former President Trump and other presidents are unable to pardon themselves from all liability because their pardon power is limited to federal crimes. However, this is an unprecedented set of affairs due to the fact that Trump no longer holds office. Per Chemerinsky, the integrity of the impeachment is questionable because it raises the inquiry: Is Congress just doing this to make a statement? Personally, I believe that the impeachment is necessary as it could prevent Trump from holding any elected office ever again and it is also imperative to make clear that inciting violence of this sort is wholly unacceptable. He will likely be arraigned by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol. On January 6th, 2021, civil virtue was entirely tossed into the garbage. We, as a nation, need to make sure this never happens again, heal from this together, and make certain we have a leader who will keep our country united.

Jasmine Jonas is a junior at Mira Costa High School.