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An open letter to Representative Elise Stefanik:

I write this with great sadness, and deep fear for our nation. I have been a Republican my entire adult life, and have never before felt so embarrassed and angry at my party’s leadership.

I spent three decades of my career as a judge, standing for the Rule of Law as a force for solving the great, small, but often bitter conflicts that our society faces. The Rule of Law is the single most powerful tool in our national character, distinguishing us from most of the world, by allowing society to resolve our differences peacefully and define the limits of acceptable behavior.

When Republicans responded to the charges against President Trump by ignoring legal precedents — by allowing a blanket stonewalling of Congress’s legitimate requests for the witnesses and documents necessary for their oversight as a co-equal branch of government — they willfully chose the suppression of evidence. They chose lawlessness. However one views the legitimacy of the president’s pursuit of foreign political assistance, we have just witnessed the destruction of congressional oversight of presidential power. In every previous instance of congressional oversight, Congress has expected — and received — evidence from the executive. No instance is more significant and needful of a full hearing than an impeachment. Congress has failed, and that failure is disastrous.

Our party has stood steadfastly for the conservation of our most important values as a society — that is what it means to be a Conservative. You have lost your way, Representative Stefanik. You have been a key player in these events, which are so devastating of our norms, laws, and Constitutional checks and balances. You will enter history as one who fought against the Rule of Law. You must not be re-elected; your choices undermining the rules that keep us free are disqualifying.

S. PETER FELDSTEIN

(Hamilton County judge, ret.)

Northville