Marc A. Thiessen’s Nov. 6 Wednesday Opinion column, “Why don’t Democrats just censure Trump?,” presented a can of historical worms that he never got around to opening. President Andrew Jackson’s immediate response to this action can be profitably examined in his “Protest,” which makes for fascinating reading and has high importance in the development of the understanding of the American presidency. But it seems important to point out that Jackson vehemently denied that Congress had the constitutional power to censure a president.

Be that as it may, he was most certainly censured by the Senate in 1834 and most certainly uncensored in 1837, when the censure was officially expunged. To use Mr. Thiessen’s terms, he was once reprimanded, and then unreprimanded. So the exact status of Jackson’s “censorhood” is something that is not easy to describe or resolve; it is the sort of ontological puzzle some of us remember encountering in college metaphysics classes.

In a practical sense, perhaps we all can understand a good reason to eschew censure: It can be and has been expunged; impeachment and removal cannot be.

John Dougherty, Edgewater

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