House Impeaches President Trump | All Eyes On Chief Justice John Roberts
December 19, 2019
Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to impeach PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, making him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors and face removal by the Senate. A Senate trial will be presided over by CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, putting at the center of the proceedings the man who barked back at the president’s characterization of “Obama judges” and “Trump judges” just last year.
WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE|
“MITCH MCCONNELL is a nihilist who is impossible to hold to account. But John Roberts may yet be swayed.” That’s the sub-head on a new piece from Dahlia Lithwick in Slate in which she explores the role CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS could play in the upcoming Senate trial of PRESIDENT TRUMP. She writes, “Roberts has every reason to keep his head down and let McConnell do whatever he wants; it would keep both himself and the high court above the ugliness that is sure to come…It is also true, as my friend Sonja West has urged, that the chief justice of the United States has a constitutional duty to behave as more than just a ‘potted plant in a fancy robe’ in this process. The Framers installed the chief justice as the person to preside over the Senate impeachment process because, despite McConnell’s claims, impeachment is not a mere partisan political effort.”
WE'RE FAR FROM THE SHALLOW NOW|
“Roberts, a longtime establishment Republican who has at times found himself at odds with the president, has broad discretion to shape the proceedings under longstanding Senate rules. But it’s likely that Roberts, who has sought to limit the appearance of partisanship in the federal judiciary, will seek to minimize his role.” That’s Tucker Higgins with CNBC noting that CHIEF JUSTIE JOHN ROBERTS could play a starring role in the Senate trial, particularly because past impeachment rules have dictated that the chief justice “may rule on all questions of evidence.”
WHILE NO ONE IS WATCHING|
Ariane de Vogue, Ted Barrett and Dan Berman with CNN report that while the House voted to impeach DONALD TRUMP, MITCH MCCONNELL pushed through a deal with Democrats to expedite 11 federal district judge nominations.
Also yesterday, the Supreme Court announced it will hear a pair of cases concerning the “ministerial exemption” to employment discrimination laws. Justices will consider just how broadly federal employment discrimination laws apply to schools run by churches. The new cases were brought by Catholic school teachers in California who sued their employers for job discrimination. The schools responded that the teachers were covered by a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws established by the Supreme Court.
THE BIG ONE|
Linda Greenhouse with The New York Times opines on what she’s calling the final test for SCOTUS — the results of which will tell us everything we need to know about the Supreme Court’s relationship with the Trump presidency. That test is, of course, how the high court will handle the cases regarding DONALD TRUMP’S financial records. “With the court in the full glare of an election-year spotlight, we will learn beyond any doubt what kind of Supreme Court we have — and whether its evolution into partnership with a president who acts as if he owns it is now complete. Those of us who have been warning about this evolution are well aware that it’s a contested claim, subject to ready dismissal as overstatement or ideologically driven fearmongering. So I want to make the case here that for the justices to do anything other than affirm the three decisions at issue by two Courts of Appeals would be to vindicate both the warnings and the president’s disturbing assumption.”
OTHER NEWS & VIEWSCNN
“After a long-awaited ruling from a US appeals court on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, this much is clear: the wait will only be longer, and uncertainty over the future of the law that provided new coverage for millions of Americans will only linger. The New Orleans-based court ruled unconstitutional the individual insurance mandate — which the federal government was no longer enforcing — yet refused to resolve the most pressing issue: does that mean the rest of the law is also unconstitutional? By a 2-1 vote, the appeals panel returned the case to a US district court judge for the start of another round of rulings.”Slate
“But if one cares about free and fair elections, the status of our campaign finance system is deeply troubling. And thanks to Congress’ inaction on updating disclosure rules, much of this influence will happen in secret. The decade of Citizens United has been a bad one for democracy, but the next decade could be far worse as a new, more radical Supreme Court prepares to blow up the final limits on money going to candidates for election.”