Associate Justice Clarence Thomas may have to preside over oral arguments later today (1/22/20)

There is one case scheduled to be argued later today at 10:00 am. Chief Justice Roberts may not be fit to preside if the Senate pulls an all nighter.

That would leave Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to preside, as he is the senior Associate Justice.

I don’t like this abuse of the Chief Justice by the Senate, forcing him to stay up all night to preside over a partisan ******* contest.

It is bad enough that his time is being wasted this way, that being a defect of the Constitution. The Chief Justice should be able to designate any Article III Judge to preside, rather than to have to waste his own valuable time.

But it is worse that this might cause him to miss an oral argument or compromise his duties with the Supreme Court.

A short amendment such as that below would ensure that if time is wasted, at least time less important that the Chief Justice’s is wasted.

Amendment ???

When the President of the United States is tried in the Senate upon impeachment, the Chief Justice of the United States shall designate a presiding officer or officers from among the Judges of the United States serving under Article III. The Chief Justice, if designating multiple Judges to preside, shall schedule such Judges by day and time.


The Chief Justice was supposed to be one of the judges of my school’s Moot Court competition final round. He cancelled his appearance yesterday, because he was gonna be too busy with the impeachment.

My wife and I were able to go up to UVA to watch our daughter participate in their Moot Court a few years ago.

It was really interesting to watch, glad we were able to go. Now she’s an AFJAG and is currently working the prosecution side of the field.


What rank did she go into the AF as?

She’s a 2nd tour Captain now. First assignment was Texas that was pretty rough at a high volume/under-staffed training base, now she’s in Germany and loving it. Still a lot of work but now she can do some weekend travel to interesting places. Spent Christmas in London with a law school friend and New Years in Copenhagen with a couple of other single people form the office.

Ahhhh the days of being young and able to travel. Never went to Europe, I spent 16 years in and around the Pacific Rim.

Have to say, having a hard time thinking of a case that is more important than the impeachment of a sitting President.

And I suspect the writers of the Constitution didn’t expect impeaching a President to be something that would be a partisan political battle between parties. It was probably expected, if ever needed, to be something like a President caught accepting bribes.

…or offering bribes.

Oh I don’t think they would have had any problem using it to toss someone out of office for moral turpitude or incompetency or what not. The dems are right when they say no crime is necessary to impeach. Something they recently came around on for some reason, they used to believe the opposite.

At the end of the day impeachment is set up fairly well, if a President pisses off enough people to get a majority of the house and two thirds of the senate pissed enough to vote him out he needs to go. Would have been less confusing to just call it an overwhelming vote of no confidence.

Lindsay Graham spoke about this very thing in 1998. I wonder what changed? :thinking:

Yes, some republicans have also done an about face on the issue. I am not one of them. High crimes refers to misconduct by someone in high office, not the severity of a crime or even necessarily a criminal act.

Check the impeachment articles. No bribes charged.

It’s happening now- the third time in 230 years.
We don’t need an amendment for every possible bump in the road.

Abuse of power does not include attempt to bribe?

In this situation, one might conclude that the possible removal of the President is less important than the case scheduled at SCOTUS.

Were the situation reversed, (the trial in the Senate not a pissing contest, the case before SCOTUS a slam dunk obvious result) would you support an amendment that allowed the Chief Justice to replace themselves at the Supreme Court?

Or might it be best for us to join the Framers in assuming, without knowing the particulars of a specific case, that the trial of the President is the most important legal matter in the country at the moment.

Might rescheduling oral arguments at the Supreme Court be a better way to preserve the Chief Justice’s participation in important cases.

Actually they did…

I simply see no rational reason why it has to be the Chief Justice in particular. If they want to avoid the conflict of interest of the Vice President presiding over the impeachment trial of the President, ANY Article III Judge would do just fine. In any event, the Presiding Officer has little real power, so it really doesn’t matter a whit who presides, so it might as well be somebody of less import.

Interestingly, if the Vice President was being impeached, he would preside over his own trial. :smile:

Perhaps their thinking was that when two branches of government are at such a severe level of conflict, the head of the third brach needs to be involved.