When lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin introduced Stacey Plaskett at the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump, he highlighted the historic role she is playing as part of the prosecution.
“This is a moment of special pride for me,” said the Democratic congressman from Maryland, noting that Plaskett is “the first delegate ever to be on a team of impeachment managers in American history.”
Plaskett, who has been in the spotlight during the impeachment trial as one of the House managers outlining the case against the former President, is in her fourth term representing the US Virgin Islands’ at-large congressional district, according to her House webpage.
Plaskett is a delegate because she represents a US territory rather than a state, so she is not able to cast votes on the House floor. That means she couldn’t vote to impeach Trump when the full House took that step in January. But Plaskett is now acting as a prosecutor against the former President during the Senate trial, where House impeachment managers have argued that Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol and are urging the Senate to convict.
She is one of nine impeachment managers — all House Democrats — who have been tasked with presenting the House’s case to senators, who are acting as jurors during the trial.
Plaskett has prior prosecutorial experience. Before her election to Congress, she served as assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and as senior counsel at the US Department of Justice. She was also general counsel for the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority.
She spoke a bit about her personal and professional trajectory Wednesday before launching into her arguments at the trial.
“I’ve learned throughout my life that preparation and truth can carry you far, can allow you to speak truth to power. I’ve learned that as a young Black girl growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, a housing community on St. Croix, sent to the most unlikeliest of settings and now as an adult woman representing an island territory speaking to the US Senate,” Plaskett said.
Plaskett isn’t the only delegate in the House. DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is perhaps the best-known. According to the website for the House of Representatives, “Currently, there are five delegates representing the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A resident commissioner represents Puerto Rico. The delegates and resident commissioner possess the same powers as other members of the House, except that they may not vote when the House is meeting as the House of Representatives.”
Delegates have been members of the House of Representatives for centuries. A report from the Congressional Research Service notes that “delegates, representing territories that had not yet achieved statehood, have served in the House since the late 1700s. In the 20th century, the concept of delegate grew to include representation of territories where the United States exercises some degree of control but were not expected to become states.”
In addition to her history-making role as a delegate on the impeachment team, Plaskett is a former student of Raskin’s, who was a constitutional law professor before being elected to Congress.
Raskin said on Wednesday as he introduced Plaskett that she was “also my law student at American University’s Washington College of Law.”
He added, “I hope I’m not violating any federal educational records, laws, when I say she was an A student then and she’s an A+ student now.”