An op-ed published Thursday in the Louisville Courier-Journal accuses Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of having violated the oath of office he took as a senator by declaring that he has already made up his mind regarding the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate.
The piece, which was written by Boston College law professor and Kentucky native Kent Greenfield, begins by noting that Kentuckians believe their word is their bond, but McConnell is about to prove that his word is worth nothing:
“President Donald Trump will soon be on trial in the Senate on grounds that he breached one oath. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is about to breach two.
“The Constitution mentions an oath only three times in its main body. The most famous is the oath the president swears upon taking office, set out word for word in Article II. That article is otherwise quite vague and abstract in describing the president’s powers and obligations. Constitutional scholars have debated for 200 years what the ‘executive power’ means, for example.”
Greenfield then goes on to explain exactly how the oath a senator takes when he is sitting as a juror for impeachment applies and should be taken seriously:
“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. The Constitution does not set out the text of the trial oath, but the Senate rules do. 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.’”
But McConnell, Greenfield concludes, has made it clear that he isn’t interested in being fair or impartial when impeachment moves to the upper chamber of Congress:
“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. All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously, especially McConnell. History is watching, and it will be a harsh judge.”
A sham impeachment trial may technically exonerate Trump, but it will ultimately only raise more questions about the modern Republican Party and its willingness to sacrifice principle and duty on the altar of political expedience.
Featured Image Via NBC News