WASHINGTON (AP) — The Structure says the chief justice is to preside on the impeachment trial of a president. However what about an ex-president?
Like a lot else concerning the Structure, the reply is topic to interpretation.
If President Donald Trump’s trial begins after Jan. 20, it’s not clear whether or not Chief Justice John Roberts would make his technique to the Senate chamber as he did final 12 months for Trump’s first trial.
Impeachment students, regulation professors and political scientists supply differing views.
The alternatives look like Roberts, Kamala Harris, who by then shall be vice chairman, or Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who would be the Senate’s president professional tem as soon as the Democrats achieve management of the Senate.
The difficulty is “unsettled, fully with out precedent, and unspecific in current Senate guidelines and precedents,” Princeton College political scientist Keith Whittington wrote in an e-mail.
One cause that the Structure specifies the chief justice to run the president’s trial is that the one that in any other case presides over the Senate is the vice chairman — the very one that would assume the presidency if the chief govt is convicted. That’s a bit unseemly.
But when the stakes are modified and the sitting vice chairman now not stands to get the highest job, why not have Harris, who by then can have taken over for Mike Pence, preside?
Whittington stated he thinks that would occur, “as with the impeachment of any officer aside from the president.” However he stated he “can think about that the Senate may go the opposite means and deal with a former president the identical as a sitting president.”
College of Texas regulation professor Steven Vladeck stated the chief justice is the higher selection. The Home on Wednesday impeached the president, not the previous president, Vladeck wrote on Twitter.
“Certainly, if Trump resigned (or his time period ended) mid-trial, it will be greater than slightly odd for the Chief Justice to present technique to the Vice President. The query ought to be whether or not the impeached officer was President on the time of impeachment. Right here, he was, so Roberts presides,” Vladeck wrote.
One other consider favor of Roberts is that “a trial of a President (even a former President) is a momentous occasion and having the Chief Justice preside appears extra congruent with, or extra becoming of, the event,” Georgia State College regulation professor Neil Kinkopf wrote in an e-mail.
If it’s not Roberts or Harris, who might want to keep away from the looks of a battle that presiding over Trump’s trial may inflame, the subsequent selection could be Leahy, the senior Democrat within the Senate, Norm Eisen stated on CNN. Eisen was a authorized adviser to Democrats throughout Trump’s first impeachment.