Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives responsible for conducting Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s impeachment are arguing Krasner can’t resort to the courts to avoid the state Senate trial.
Earlier this month, the far-left prosecutor asked the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to preempt the proceedings initiated by Republican lawmakers in November. He cited three reasons: First, a new General Assembly has taken office; second, he contends that the state Constitution doesn’t authorize a city district attorney’s impeachment; and third, he disputes that “misbehavior in office” is seriously alleged.
House impeachment managers Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) and Tim Bonner (R-Grove City) submitted a response to the court on Friday addressing these contentions. In a statement on Monday, they insisted none of Krasner’s points have merit. They believe the court cannot redress any of the harm the prosecutor insists his legislative critics have done him and should stay out of the matter, allowing state senators to decide the merits of the House managers’ case.
They characterized the transition from one General Assembly to another to be “a procedural matter” that legislators can decide on their own. They noted that impeachment proceedings have taken place in the past through the end of one General Assembly and into the next. They also noted that while the state Constitution does not explicitly permit a Philadelphia prosecutor’s impeachment, it does provide for the potential removal of “all civil officers.”
Bonner and Williams finally explained that their colleagues in the Senate are the proper arbiters about whether Krasner has misbehaved in office. They and other Republican officials argue that the district attorney has not only willfully refused to adequately enforce laws against illegal firearms possession and violent crime but that he was dishonest in a grand-jury report he completed in an attempt to secure a murder conviction of former Police Officer Ryan Pownall. Even Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty was forceful in his opinion that Krasner mischaracterized the law concerning the proper police use of deadly force in that report.
“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.”
Krasner’s attorneys have characterized his impeachment as “a majority political party’s attempts to weaponize the General Assembly’s impeachment powers against elected local officials from a different party to reverse the outcome of a local election.”
The district attorney’s opponents will need two-thirds of the Senate to convict him and remove him from office. Republicans received no Democratic support for impeachment in the House and their numbers fall short of the required number of votes in the Senate where they hold only 28 seats out of 50.
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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Larry Krasner” by DA Larry Krasner. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Karen Neoh. CC BY 2.0.