Matrix On Point: The Trump Impeachment

Panel Discussion | November 5 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 820 Barrows Hall

 Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Berkeley Law; Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy

 Social Science Matrix

On September 24th, the House of Representatives began formal impeachment inquiry proceedings against President Donald J. Trump. After the failure of the Mueller report to conclusively demonstrate Trump’s involvement in Russian interference during the 2016 election, the emergence of a whistleblower report, which described the president using of his office to pressure a foreign power to investigate a political rival, ultimately persuaded Democrats to pursue impeachment.

Concerned with keeping her caucus unified in an important election year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been cautious of the backlash democrats could face if the impeachment inquiry fails to prove presidential misconduct. Continuing the defiant strategy that informed Trump’s response to Robert Muller’s investigation, Trump and his team are refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, lambasting and belittling his accusers and critics.

With the 2020 general elections looming, the nominee for the Democratic Party undetermined, and a defiant and volatile president at the helm, the impeachment inquiry is sure to heat up in the weeks ahead. At stake in this topsy-turvy political theater are our democratic institutions, which may be forever altered.

This Matrix On Point features two prominent scholars:

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School. He is the author of eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are, We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (Picador Macmillan) published in November 2018, and two books published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable and Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman). He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, Carmel P. Friesen Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President-Elect Obama’s transition advisory board. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, Aftershock, and Beyond Outrage. Professor Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His commentaries can be heard weekly on public radio’s Marketplace. In 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

About Matrix On Point

Matrix On Point is a new “brown bag” series promoting focused, cross-disciplinary conversations on today’s most pressing contemporary issues—topics such as Brexit, climate change, voting rights, and food security. Offering opportunities for scholarly exchange and interaction, each Matrix On Point will feature the perspectives of leading scholars and specialists from different disciplines, followed by an open conversation. These thought-provoking events are free and open to the public.

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 Berkeley, CA 94720, ckapelke@berkeley.edu