An abusive, unlawful practice of the English courts from the 15th to 17th centuries was so rampant and unfair that protections against it were written into our U.S. Constitution.
This hated and feared practice took place in the Star Chamber.
The creators of the Star Chamber described it as a tool to stamp out corruption and seek justice for those in English society who were so powerful that no ordinary court would ever find them guilty.
In practice, it was used to punish political enemies without the constraints of the law or the prying eyes of the public.
Our Founding Fathers were keenly aware of the abuses of the English government. They valued the rights of the individual so highly that they included a Bill of Rights – our first 10 amendments – to protect them.
One of the most important, the 5th Amendment, states that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The principles of due process and fairness towards the accused are not only enshrined into our Constitution but the very nature of our Republic. These are values held deeply by all Americans.
Unfortunately, in today’s House of Representatives, the Star Chamber is alive and well.
For weeks, secret impeachment proceedings held by Democrats in the basement of the Capitol have deprived President Trump of his due process rights.
Adam Schiff and his cabal of Democrats have monopolized the Intelligence Committee’s power, withholding facts, denying the President the right to participate, and extending the Republican Minority party little more than token rights.
The few Republicans allowed to participate are prohibited by Schiff’s arbitrary rules from detailing to their fellow Republican members – or the Americans they represent – what is going on behind closed doors.
Of course, Schiff and his Democrat staffers have shown no restraint breaking their own rules by leaking cherry-picked, misleading bits of testimony or outright lies.
I’ve had enough of this Star Chamber, and I chose to fight back.
Recently, my colleagues and I walked into the basement room of the Capitol where Schiff is holding his secret hearings. We demanded to watch the proceedings.
Schiff immediately shut them down, even though we only wanted to observe—a right required by House rules and normally extended to all Members of Congress.
We may not have gotten to see the hearings, but the American people are beginning to see what’s going on. They are making clear they do not approve. And Democrats have been feeling the heat back home.
Last week, Democrats introduced a resolution supposedly to move forward with formal impeachment proceedings in the public eye. In reality, this resolution validates the Star Chamber proceedings we’ve seen so far and even instructs them to continue!
This resolution was nothing but a political cover for Democrats. All Republicans in the House saw through Nancy Pelosi’s resolution and voted against it.
Importantly, two Democrats rejected this deeply flawed process by voting with Republicans.
Yet, Democrats continue taking a phony moral high ground. They insist Republicans only support the President because of a “personality cult for Donald Trump.”
Anyone looking at the facts, including the Democrats who voted against the joke impeachment resolution, know this is absurd.
Just watch five minutes of national mainstream news to see the “anti-Trump personality cult.” Trump Derangement Syndrome is an epidemic. For those who suffer from it, no step is too far, no rule too sacred, to eliminate President Trump. For them, the ends justify the means.
This Star Chamber fundamentally violates the principles of fairness and due process Americans value so dearly. It should never be used against Democrats or Republicans.
This scheme is flat-out un-American, and I won’t stop fighting against it and defending our values.
Bradley Byrne is a U.S. Congressman in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District and 2020 candidate for U.S. Senator.