Kentucky newspaper calls out Mitch McConnell for violating his constitutional oath of office: History ‘will be a harsh judge’

Kentucky newspaper calls out Mitch McConnell for violating his constitutional oath of office: History ‘will be a harsh judge’
Mitch McConnell image via WSJ.

The United States Constitution is very clear about how the process of impeaching a president must be carried out: first, the president must be indicted on articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives — and after that, the U.S. Senate can hold an impeachment trial, weigh the evidence, act as an impartial jury and make a determination of guilty or not guilty. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it painfully clear that he has no intention of being an impartial juror where President Donald Trump is concerned, and in a blistering op-ed for the Louisville Courier-Journal, law professor Kent Greenfield slams the Kentucky senator for not taking his constitutional oath seriously.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a December 19 tweet, lamented the fact that the U.S. has a “rogue leader of the Senate” to go with a “rogue president.” Similarly, Greenfield (who now teaches law at Boston College but is a Kentucky native) asserts that both Trump and McConnell have violated their oaths to the U.S. Constitution.

Trump, Greenfield notes, will “soon be on trial in the Senate on grounds” that he “breached” an “oath” to abide by the U.S. Constitution. And McConnell, the law professor asserts, is breaching an oath to serve as an impartial juror during a Senate trial for articles of impeachment.

“In Article I,” Greenfield notes, “the Constitution gives the Senate the ‘sole’ power to ‘try all impeachments,’ and the Constitution requires that ‘when sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.’ This special oath only kicks in when the Senate tries an impeachment, and this will be only the third time when a president has been so tried. The Framers wanted to make sure the Senate would never take such a trial lightly — this oath requirement is over and above the oath each senator has already taken to support the Constitution.”

Greenfield goes on to explain what McConnell will have to swear to before an impeachment trial.

“The Constitution does not set out the text of the trial oath, but the Senate rules do,” Greenfield notes. “Senators will ‘solemnly swear…. that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.’’

McConnell, Greenfield laments, has openly declared that he has no intention of being impartial during Trump’s Senate trial — even though “every senator has a constitutional obligation of impartiality.”

“The presidential oath and the senatorial oath to be taken before an impeachment trial are kin,” Greenfield observes. “The president must act faithfully and without corruption. In those presumably rare situations in which the president has failed to be faithful, the Senate is required to be faithful in its adjudication of the case against him. But we have already seen indications that McConnell has no intention of doing impartial justice. He has said that he does not consider himself an ‘impartial juror.’ He is coordinating strategy with the White House. He has already called the case against the president ‘thin’ and ‘incoherent.’”

Greenfield concludes his op-ed by stressing how seriously the U.S. Constitution takes the Senate’s role in the impeachment process — and how McConnell doesn’t take that duty seriousl

“Short of declaring war, the Senate is about to conduct its gravest and most serious constitutional obligation: to exercise the ‘sole power to try’ impeachments,” Greenfield writes. “All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell. History is watching, and it will be a harsh judge.”

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