Dem witness on presidential power: Trump can name his son "Barron" but he can't make him a baron; Update: Karlan apologizes

Dem witness on presidential power: Trump can name his son "Barron" but he can't make him a baron; Update: Karlan apologizes

Isn’t the true offense of this line how corny it is despite the fact that law prof Pam Karlan obviously prepared it and practiced it in advance?

She used to be touted as a Supreme Court shortlister, for cripes sake. No doubt she’s using today’s hearing as a tryout in case a Democrat wins next year, even though she’s probably aged out of the pool of viable candidates by now. This is her A-material for a SCOTUS audition?

It’s a dig at the president that references his son, not a dig at his son, but it’s poor form either way since it personalizes what’s supposed to be a quasi-objective inquiry about constitutional law. If I were Nadler, I’d want my witnesses to come off as strictly by-the-book, almost algebraic — “the Founders said X, the law says Y, ergo this is an impeachable offense.” Name-checking Trump’s 13-year-old kid to put a cutesy bow on her point about absolute executive power makes Professor Resistance here look like she’s out for soundbites, not a serious clinical assessment of the legal issues implicated in the Ukraine matter.

Trump’s press secretary, always on patrol for breaches of decorum, took Karlan to task:

So did Kayleigh McEnany, spokesman for the Trump campaign:

“Only in the minds of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old child into the impeachment nonsense. Pamela Karlan thought she was being clever and going for laughs, but she instead reinforced for all Americans that Democrats have no boundaries when it comes to their hatred of everything related to President Trump. Hunter Biden is supposedly off-limits according to liberals, but a 13-year-old boy is fair game. Disgusting.

“Every Democrat in Congress should immediately repudiate Pamela Karlan and call on her to personally apologize to the President and the First Lady for mocking their son on national TV.”

And … so did the First Lady:

The irony of Karlan doing this today is that there was a kerfuffle in political media just yesterday over an NBC reporter objecting in bad faith to a Republican who referenced an opponent’s child in a political dispute. That was Jeb Bush, who called out Elizabeth Warren in a tweet for loudly proclaiming her love of public schools despite having sent her own son mostly to private schools. “It used to be that polticians drew the line at attacking each other’s children,” sniffed NBC hack Jonathan Allen, “But we live in different times.” Bush wasn’t attacking Warren’s kid, though. He was attacking Warren for being a hypocrite, just as Karlan is attacking Trump for supposedly harboring monarchical ambitions that extend even to his choice of family names.

In any case, Jeb’s dig is standard politics, practiced by a politician engaged in partisan combat. Karlan’s dig was delivered as part of expert testimony ostensibly aimed at providing Congress with legal guidance about what is and isn’t proper under the impeachment clause. I … dare say her professional opinions might be influenced by animus towards the president, which probably long predates the Ukraine matter:

Give her this, though: She understands that today’s hearing is essentially just fan service for both sides and her dumb joke was aimed at that. She’s there to give the Resistance some applause material just like Doug Collins and the GOP members of the panel are there to provide material for the montage at the start of tonight’s “Hannity.” Why even make a pretense of dispassion? When’s the next time she’s going to be on national TV?

I’ll leave you with Matt Gaetz calling out Karlan. This will definitely make the montage.

Update: So, there we are.

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