Law professor: Absence of Chief Justice Roberts answers impeachment constitutionality question

Law professor Gregory Mark said in an op-ed for The Hill that the absence of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts from the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump should tell people everything they need to know about its constitutionality. 

Mark was a prosecutor during the Iran-Contra affair and former law dean at DePaul University where he still teaches. He is also a Public Voices Fellow through The Op-Ed Project. His area of specialty is constitutional history.

When Mark was in law school at the University of Chicago, he remembers telling a classmate that a hypothetical final exam question involving an impeachment trial of a president where the chief justice did not preside was “so absurd and implausible that it would never happen.”

Now, Mark said, it is happening, but in his view, it is still absurd. Mark said of the situation that “by stepping aside, Roberts not only is failing to meet his duty, but his actions bring an air of illegitimacy to the trial.”

Non-partisan trial under Leahy impossible

It simply isn’t possible to have a non-partisan trial when a senator rather than a justice presides over it, Mark contends. In this case, the senator is Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who voted to impeach Trump the first time and will get to vote this time, too, even though he is presiding.

No matter what happens in the trial under Leahy’s leadership, Mark points out, Trump is going to be able to say it’s unconstitutional and partisan because Roberts didn’t preside. Rather than barring Trump from holding further office if he is convicted, Congress will open itself up to ongoing legal action by having Leahy preside.

If Trump wanted to, he could drag out the question of whether he could run for future office for years, and there’s every chance the court could decide for him in the end.

Does the country really need to be put through that? I don’t think so.

“Most momentous act”

“The trial of a president is the most momentous act the Senate can be called on to perform,” Mark wrote. “If convicted, Trump would be the only native-born American over age 35 to be prohibited from holding the presidency (aside from former two-term presidents disqualified by the 22nd Amendment).”

“The Founders wanted the entire government involved in a decision of that order,” he continued. “The gravity of the trial demands the chief’s presence. The dignity of the process requires it.”

It comes down to this: Mark characterizes Roberts’ action as cowardly–he just didn’t want to deal with another trial and the political fallout from it.

“Chief Justice Roberts is doing what he said he would never do: making his own rules,” Mark said disappointedly. And the country will not be better off for it.

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26 Responses

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  2. I hope the Clan of the Democraps fall flat on their face on this idiocy, especially the erstwhile PEWLOSI, crybaby SCHUMER, A (the sky is falling!) OC, and the rest of those contemptible fools. All they want here is an ill-gotten guarantee that they won’t run into PRESIDENT TRUMP ever again. C’mon let’s Go, DUE PROCESS !

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  4. In essence, Roberts is saying that it is unconstitutional, but he should say it in court, not by just not presiding! This whole impeachment crap should be thrown out, and the democrats responsible for even trying to legitimize it should be held responsible!

  5. The very next IMPEACHMENT TRIAL SHOULD INVOLVE FLOPPY EARS OBAMA, and his administration, to include Biden for his collusion with CHINA and UKRAINE while VP, also HUNTER BIDENS involvement with Ukraine energy company being dotted as a member and taking in $50,000, for just being Daddy’s Little CRACK Head son, this is what should have investigated and Impeachment charges for Obama’s involvement and allowing these acts against the US

    1. Yeah, aren’t they trying to add girls to the Boy Scouts these days ? What has this country come to ?

      UGETUBE.com and “The Epoch Times”

  6. That guy Mark didn’t figure in whether the sham was Constitutional or not. Since it isn’t, why should Roberts preside? Or another I think stupid question, why should Trump speak? Biden has done quite a few impeachable acts and ignorance is no defense. I’m still amazed that ANYBODY would allow a criminal into the oval office, nevermind two.

  7. I don’t agree with your comment referring to the boy scout leadership having moral principles, but I do think Roberts has turned into a coward and a politician as opposed to a person who is supposed to follow the law and the constitution. God help us all through this BS.

  8. Roberts is a chemical waste if you have not noticed by now. First off he got where he is as a Conservative Constitutionalist Judge and has proven to be a more Liberal Judge than any Liberal Judge ever. Judge Roberts is the one that needs to be Impeached for Cowardice and Failure to uphold the Constitution.

  9. There are no required marked fields on my comment so publish the comment and I want tell you what we think of your garbage of editing and deleting our rights of Freedom of Speech.

  10. Everybody Everywhere KNOWS that this so called “IMPEACHMENT” is nothing but a smear campaign devised and constituted by the Liberal Democrats and RINOs because they HATE President Trump, PERIOD !!! THEY HAVE ADMITTED IT, PELOSI AND SCHUMER ARE VILE DISGUSTING EXCUSES FOR HUMAN BEINGS THAT ARE SCARED TO DEATH THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE EXPOSED AS THE CRIMINALS THAT THEY ACTUALLY ARE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP, AND EVENTUALLY THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL, NO MATTER WHAT !!! History will not show the democrat criminals in a good light and WILL expose their trechery and treasonist ways, I just hope they don’t die of old age before they can be convicted and imprisoned for their wrngdoings !!!

  11. You are so right! I truly believe this also! I also believe that the Clintons,Obamas and Soros are also involved!

  12. Total McCarthyism on full view. If this isn’t enough for those who voted for Biden to leave the party, and for Republicans never to vote again for any of the sell outs, I don’t know what is.

  13. We are so ticked off at what Pelosi and Schummer are doing to President Trump. I tell you right now they’ve been scheming since Trump won how they were going after him. Poor poor Hilary didn’t win. Tough for you. You don’t destroy people’s lives because you didn’t win. You move on. NO. That’s not what the dems. do. They go after you and anyone connected to you. They will destroy you and the family. They are horrid horrid politician animals who thrive on their way or no way. I say to them, GO TO HELL. You are not true Americans. No true American would want to do to OUR COUNTRY OR OUR PRESIDENT OR THE PEOPLE THE WAY YOU DID WITH YOUR BUDDIES THE DAMNED MEDIA. May God forgive you.

  14. I’m a 78yr. old veteran who served to keep this Country safe and free!! It’s hard to believe what the DemoRats are doing to our FREEDOM!! We can’t allow them to turn this Country into another third world Country!!! WE HAVE TO STOP THE SWAMP!!

  15. The Demoncraps and all involved should have to pay back all salaries collected since 2016 for not doing their jobs defending America. They are all communist. PISS on this NEW WORLD ORDER and the BIDEN regime.

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