• Video
  • December 02, 2019

“High Crimes and Misdemeanors”: What the Constitution Says About Impeachment

Top constitutional scholars discuss the process of impeachment, the procedural steps the Constitution requires, and the state of the current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. This group includes: Michael Gerhardt, the Center’s scholar-in-residence and CNN impeachment expert, Keith Whittington, professor of politics at Princeton University, Kimberly Wehele, professor of law at the University of Baltimore and legal analyst for CBS, and John Malcolm, vice president for the Institute for Constitutional Government at the Heritage Foundation.

Additionally, current and former members of Congress, including Representatives Dwight Evans and Mary Gay Scanlon, as well as former Congressman Charles Dent and Ryan Costello, offer insight into how the Trump impeachment inquiry may play out and explore its potential impact.

This event was generously sponsored by the Rodel Foundation.





  • Panel One

    • Michael Gerhardt is the Scholar-in-Residence at the National Constitution Center, the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina Law School, and the Richard Beeman Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In addition to these posts, Gerhard frequently appears on CNN as an expert and commentator on the impeachment process. He is the author several books including: The Federal Impeachment Process The Forgotten Presidents, and Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know. Gerhardt's has also written more than a hundred law review articles and dozens of op eds in the nation’s leading news publications, including SCOTUSblog, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
    • Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He writes about American constitutional law, politics and history and American political thought. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law and is a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin and completed his Ph.D. in political science at Yale University. His most recent books include Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech and Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present. He is currently completing two books, Constitutional Crises, Real and Imagined and The Idea of Democracy in America, from the American Revolution to the Gilded Age.

    • Kimberly Wehle  is an author, lawyer, law professor at the University of Balitomore Law School, and on-air and off-air legal expert, analyst and commentator for CBS News. She has also appeared on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, NPR, and PBS. In addition, Wehle is a contributor for BBC World News, and a contributor for The Bulwark and The Hill. She has also written for the Baltimore Sun and LA Times. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney, Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation, and author of, How to Read The Constitution—and Why. Her forthcoming books included What You Need to Know about the Right to Vote—and Why to be published by in July 2020, and The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy

    • John Malcolm is the Vice President of the Institute for Constitutional Government and Director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Malcolm has clerked for federal judges in the Northern District of Georgia and on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and worked  at the Department of Justice in multiple positions. From 2004 through 2009, he served as an Executive Vice President and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations for the Motion Picture Association.  Malcolm then served as a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Pepperdine Law School.  From 2010 to 2012, John was the General Counsel at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Malcolm has also been actively involved in many charitable and civic organizations, and was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans.

  • Panel Two

    • Congressman Dwight Evans represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South and Center City Philadelphia. He was first elected in a special election in November 2016. Before that, he served as a state representative in Pennsylvania General Assembly for thirty-six years. Evans currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and as vice chair of the House Small Business Committee. He is also an at-large member of the executive committee of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    • Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon an education and human rights advocate, currently represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. She was first sworn into U.S. House of Representatives on November 13, 2018. Congresswoman Scanlon previously served as national pro bono counsel at a major U.S. law firm, where she directed and supervised over 600 lawyers in 15 offices in providing more than 50,000 hours of pro bono legal services annually to low-income clients and non-profit organizations. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, on the House Rules Committee, and on the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. 

    • Congressman Charlie Dent currently serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to DLA Piper where he provides strategic advice and counsel to clients on the federal, state and local levels on issues ranging from appropriations, healthcare, defense and veterans, homeland security, infrastructure and energy to international investment, trade and commerce.  In addition to his role with DLA Piper, Congressman Dent is a political analyst for CNN, a visiting fellow for the University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House, and a distinguished advisor for Pew Charitable Trusts. Prior to those positions, Congressman Dent served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.

    • Congressman Ryan Costello is the founder of Ryan Costello Strategies. He previously spent 16 years in public service and private law practice. As a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019, he represented a portion of the Philadelphia suburbs. Costello was a bridge-builder who led on diverse and often complex issues, including those in emerging growth industries like clean energy, telehealth, drones, cannabis, data security and privacy, orphan and specialty drugs, medical technology and the life sciences, 5G and spectrum issues, IoT, EV, and driverless car technology. A member of the Republican Whip team, Costello worked with House Leadership to help build consensus, craft messaging, and advance legislative priorities, while also maintaining focus on the local needs of a highly-competitive congressional district


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