House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) at a House Judiciary Committee markup vote on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in Washington, on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee voted over Republican objections to advance two articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

Georgia law professors sign letter encouraging Congress to impeach President Trump

More than 20 legal scholars affiliated with Georgia law schools signed an open letter encouraging Congress to impeach President Donald Trump.

They are among 854 law professors and counting who have signed the missive, sponsored by government watchdog group Protect Democracy and posted on the website Medium. The essay says there is clear evidence Trump violated his oath of office.

“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,” the letter states. “His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.”

Each of Georgia’s five law schools have at least one current or former instructor who signed the letter. Other colleagues told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they decided against participating or did not agree with its contents.

The dispatch was posted on Dec. 6, the day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats were drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.

This morning, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to bring two charges to the House floor next week. The professors’ letter makes no recommendation for what punishment, if any, they believe Trump should face.

E. Ann Puckett, professor of law emerita at the University of Georgia, said she believes the House has a duty to impeach the president even if the Republican-controlled Senate does not vote to convict and remove him from office.

“President Trump’s behavior threatens the foundation of our democratic republic,” Puckett said.

Other scholars affiliated with UGA, Georgia State University, Emory University, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Mercer University also signed on. But most faculty members at these schools have not.

Mercer University law professor Dave Oedel said his views are similar to Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert who testified during a Judiciary Committee hearing against impeachment.

“Neither of us voted for Trump but believe in essence that this is an inappropriate partisan use of impeachment,” Oedel said. “The standard is set too low. If there really were a case of bribery, it should have been charged.”

The Georgia legal scholars who names appear on the pro-impeachment letter:

  • Suparna Malempati, John Marshall 
  • Alexander "Sasha" Volokh, Emory 
  • Martha Albertson, Fineman Emory 
  • Michael Perry, Emory 
  • Barbara Woodhouse, Emory  
  • Mary Dudziak, Emory  
  • Paul Zwier, Emory 
  • William A. Edmundson, Georgia State 
  • Jack Sammons, Mercer 
  • Richard W. Creswell, Mercer 
  • David Ritchie, Mercer 
  • Donal Wells, Mercer 
  • Ted Blumoff, Mercer 
  • Stephen Johnson, Mercer 
  • Sarah Gerwig-Moore, Mercer 
  • Patrick Longan, Mercer 
  • Suzianne Painter-Thorne, Mercer
  • Gary Simson, Mercer 
  • E. Ann Puckett, UGA 
  • Thomas Eaton, UGA 
  • Paul Kurtz, UGA

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About the Author

Tia Mitchell
Tia Mitchell
Tia Mitchell is the AJC’s Washington correspondent.