ALL NEWS

Roberts admonishes House prosecution, White House defense

Jan 22, 2020, 5:35 AM
Roberts...
In this image from video, presiding officer Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
(Senate Television via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts drew little attention to himself in the beginning 12 hours of his first impeachment trial. But it was just before 1 a.m., as tempers on the floor had started to wear thin, that he reminded senators, House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s defense team who was in charge.

“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Roberts said, after a particularly tense exchange between House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and the president’s lawyers.

Roberts asked them to “avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.”

He did not say what prompted his comments, but they came after Nadler told senators that voting to deny certain witnesses in the trial, as many GOP senators had, was a “treacherous vote” and a vote against the United States. Trump’s defense team then said Nadler should be embarrassed and should apologize to the president and the American people.

Roberts’ new role presiding over the trial is one of two jobs he is juggling as the impeachment session gets underway. On Tuesday morning, he donned his black robe and oversaw two arguments at the Supreme Court before heading across the street to the U.S. Capitol where he is presiding over the trial in the Senate chamber. His busy schedule meant he didn’t have time to join his fellow justices for a group lunch, a high court custom following arguments.

And he was scheduled to be back again in the Court on Wednesday morning — just hours after the first day of the trial adjourned at 2 a.m.

Just before the day ended, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thanked Roberts for his service.

“I want to say on behalf of all of us, thank you for your patience,” McConnell told him, as senators clapped.

Over the past 14 years, Roberts has gotten comfortable in the role of chief justice of the United States, but presiding over Trump’s trial is a new, public role for Roberts, who is used to proceedings that aren’t televised as they are in the Senate.

It is only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, coming just weeks before the first primaries of the 2020 election season and as voters are assessing Trump’s first term and weighing the candidates who want to challenge him in the fall.

House Democrats impeached the president last month on two charges: abuse of power by withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine as he pressed the country to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress by refusing to comply with their investigation.

Trump’s legal team has argued that the Republican president did “absolutely nothing wrong” and urged the Senate to swiftly reject the “flawed” case against him.

Roberts’ added responsibilities shouldn’t affect the work of the court. That’s because the justices generally finish their joint business in the mornings, giving Roberts time to preside over oral arguments and lead the justices’ regularly scheduled private conferences before beginning his Senate duties in the afternoon.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in written responses to questions from reporters that it’s expected to be “business as usual” at the court during the trial.

And if there’s a good time in Roberts’ schedule to take on added responsibility, this is it, since it’s a relatively quiet time at the court. After one more oral argument scheduled for Wednesday, the court is taking its standard break from oral arguments until late February.

It’s not until later in the spring that it gets to be crunch time for opinion writing for the justices, who finish their work in June before adjourning for the summer. The court did acknowledge it scheduled only one argument Wednesday instead of the more standard two in anticipation of a possible impeachment trial. That made Roberts’ day at the court shorter.

Trump’s trial could be over by the time oral arguments resume at the Supreme Court on Feb. 24 — but maybe not. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a quick conclusion, though there could be delays. If the trial stretches into five weeks, Roberts would be expected to be with his fellow justices in the morning and lawmakers in the afternoon.

In the unlikely scenario Roberts had to leave an oral argument, the most senior associate justice, Justice Clarence Thomas, would handle duties like calling the cases and telling lawyers to begin their arguments. But the chief justice would still participate in voting on those cases.

At the Capitol, the chief justice is using the ceremonial President’s Room as an office. It’s the same space used by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 1999 during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. One of Roberts’ four law clerks, Megan Braun, will join him every day when he travels to the Senate, Arberg said.

Roberts’ colleagues will have to plan one celebration around his new schedule. The chief justice’s 65th birthday is Monday, and the justices generally make time to celebrate birthdays at the court. They get together to sing “Happy Birthday” and have a toast.

No word if the senators will do the same.

___

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Mark Sherman contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Idaho State Police are investigating a motorhome crash Sunday afternoon that injured two people fro...
Mark Jones

Motorhome crash in Idaho sends two Utahns to the hospital

Two people from Centerville were injured Sunday in a motorhome crash in Bannock County, Idaho, according to the Idaho State Police.
23 hours ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare announces plans to build hospital in Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
23 hours ago
On Monday, David Rice was named president and CEO of Associated Food Stores. Photo credit: Associat...
Mark Jones

Associated Food Stores name David Rice as its new CEO/President

On Monday, Associated Food Stores named David Rice as its new CEO and president.
23 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police responded to five different incidents involving weapons on Monday, Sept. 26, ...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City Police respond to five different incidents with weapons

Salt Lake City Police responded to five different incidents Monday involving a weapon.
23 hours ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
23 hours ago
Strawberry Reservoir...
Devin Oldroyd

Fatal crash near Strawberry Reservoir closes SR-40

One person is dead and another injured following a car accident near Strawberry Reservoir. SR 40 is currently closed in both directions at milepost 40.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Roberts admonishes House prosecution, White House defense