Roberts Dashes Democrats’ Hopes, Tells Schumer He Will Not Cast Tie-Breaking Votes in Impeachment Trial (Video)
When it rains it pours. Having lost the main vote for new witnesses and documents Friday afternoon during the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump on a narrow, near party line vote of 51-49, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) hopefully asked presiding officer Chief Justice John Roberts Friday evening if he was aware of a precedent for him casting tie-breaking votes as the Senate prepared to cast more votes to table several Schumer resolutions on witnesses and evidence.
Schumer cited the 1868 Senate impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson presided over by Chief Justice Salmon Chase in which he cast two tie-breaking votes.
Roberts was ready for the question and carefully read his reply:
I am, Mr. Leader. Uh, the one concerned a motion to adjourn, the other concerned a motion to close deliberations. Uh, I do not regard those isolated episodes a-hundred-and-fifty years ago as sufficient to support a general authority to break ties. If the members of this body, elected by the People and accountable to them, divide equally on a motion, the normal rule is that the motion fails. I think it would be inappropriate for me, an unelected official from a different branch of government, to assert the power to change that result so that the motion would succeed.
.@SenSchumer‘s parliamentary inquiry and Chief Justice John Roberts' response
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 1, 2020
Thankfully, activist Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not presiding over this trial.
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