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Oath & Impeachment

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Now that the House has done its part, the articles of impeachment will be sent to the senate for the trial. Fortunately for Trump, two powerful Republican senators have made it clear that the matter is already settled. Lindsay Graham has said that he will do all he can to kill the impeachment, saying that “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” Mitch McConnell has gone even further, asserting that “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can.” Other Republicans, such as Ted Cruz, have made their view of the matter clear, but have generally not gone as far as Graham or McConnell. One problem with these statements is that they seem to pre-violate the oath that the Republican senators are constitutionally required to take during the trial. The specific wording for the trial of Trump will be: “I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) 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.’’ Graham and McConnell have already committed to their verdict and McConnell has committed himself to, in effect, becoming part of Trump’s defense team. While the impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, this is analogous to having a juror announce that they are coordinating with the criminal defendant’s legal team and that they already intend to vote not guilty. It can, of course, be pointed out that this is not a criminal trial and is not governed by the same rules. It is, defenders of McConnell might point out, a political event in the form of a trial and thus subject to the basic rule of pragmatic party politics: do whatever it takes for your party to win. One obvious problem with this interpretation. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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