Immigration Attorney Donusia L. Lipinski, of Myrtle Beach, SC, had an interesting suggestion today: Every candidate for public office -- especially federal offices like Congressman, Senator and President -- should be required to take, and pass, the same test administered to prospective U.S. citizens.
The test has 100 questions, but applicants are given 10 selected at random. To pass, they must answer at least six correctly. I took the first 20 and scored 100 percent. It's an interesting exercise, just click here to begin.
"We should require all candidates take the citizenship test," Lipinski told me in an interview. "We should be pushing for that -- everyone. You shouldn't be allowed to run for office unless you pass."
Well, clearly some of our current politicians could benefit from taking the test, because to pass, they would probably have to practice and might just learn something -- let's say about separation of powers, for one small example.
Following the report by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, talk of possible impeachment of President Trump began to heat up. A number of Democrats believe it's a no-brainer, saying the report on Russia's influence on the 2016 election and the attendant investigations shows that the president was guilty of several instances of obstruction of justice, which would be grounds for impeachment.
But the reality is that even if the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, the Senate is controlled by Republicans and there is little doubt they would refuse to convict. That would leave Trump in office, feeling emboldened, and likely to whine even more about being victimized by those hateful Democrats.
Trump's response to all of this clearly shows that he does not understand our system of government -- even though he's supposed to be in charge.
In a tweet April 24, Trump wrote: “The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The Supreme Court has nothing to do with the impeachment process. The Constitution clearly states that the House "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment" and the Senate "shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments." The Constitution says impeachments can be brought for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Even Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in 2009: "If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available. No single prosecutor, judge, or jury should be able to accomplish what the Constitution assigns to the Congress."
Essentially, Trump either believes the Executive branch of the government is superior to the Legislative and Judicial branches, or he intends to make it that way. Of course, he's getting a lot of help from his "great" attorney general, William P. Barr, who has ruled that even if Trump were guilty of a crime -- obstruction of justice, for example -- he can't be prosecuted because he's the president.
One of Congress' important roles is to conduct oversight investigations and hold hearings into matters of national importance. House Democratic committee chairs have sought to compel Trump administration officials to testify, but the president has forbidden their testimony. "Up yours," he has said, in effect, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
And in the Senate, his chief protector, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is protecting Trump at all costs and at every opportunity, to the detriment of the nation.
When immigrants -- those same people Trump loves to hate -- study for their citizenship test, they learn about the roles of the three branches of government. They learn about the importance of separation of powers. Our public officials, including Trump, would do well to bone up on those civics lessons.
But of course, to do that, Trump would have to read.