Byron York Explains Why Senators Are Not Like Jurors in a Criminal Trial

Byron York Explains Why Senators Are Not Like Jurors in a Criminal Trial


There is a common misconception floating around,
one that Democrats would like people to believe, that Senators are just like jurors in a criminal
trial. Byron York explains why that just isn’t
so, from a constitutional perspective: Read @KimStrassel ‘Pelosi’s Rolling Impeachment;
Republicans dismiss her tactic. But why would they assume she wants a trial?’ — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 The continuing myths of impeachment: Senators
are jurors. The trial is like a criminal trial. The chief justice is in charge. Who believes
this stuff? — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 Key points, via the Washington Examiner article: “Snyder, like many, many others in the impeachment
debate, appears to view the impeachment trial as the exact equivalent of a criminal trial
in the justice system. Senators, he says, “have an exclusively legal responsibility,
just as any citizen serving as a juror in a trial would.” Further, if any senator
fails to act in precisely the same way a juror in a criminal trial would act, that senator
would “endanger the rule of law and the Republic.” What to say about that? An impeachment trial
is simply not like a trial in the justice system. Throughout, the Senate acts as a body.
It can set the rules for the trial. It can stop the trial. It can start it again. It
can pause the trial. It can rule out witnesses. It can call witnesses. It can dismiss the
articles of impeachment altogether. It can do what the chief justice suggests, or it
can ignore him altogether. Each senator can decide what evidence he or she wants to consider
or reject. Each senator can vote guilty or not guilty or make up some kooky verdict based
on Scottish law. All of that is part of having the “sole power” to try all impeachments. On the question of impartiality, the senators
will in fact take an oath to do “impartial justice.” Here is perhaps the ultimate impeachment
spoiler alert: They won’t really mean it. Or, perhaps they will mean it according to
their own political views and their own definition of “impartial.” … The fact is, individual
elected officials, some of whom passionately support the president and some of whom passionately
oppose him, will not render “impartial justice.” The constitutional requirement of a two-thirds
vote to convict means the case against the president has to be so overwhelming that two-thirds
of decidedly nonimpartial senators would agree to convict.” In a presidential impeachment, the impeachers
want senators to believe they are ‘jurors’ and must approach trial as if they were jurors
in a criminal proceeding. That’s complete malarkey, of course. — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 How many jurors stop the trial at any time?
How many can decide to allow witnesses? Or not allow witnesses? How many jurors can overrule
any decision by the ‘judge’? Or throw the whole case out altogether on Day 1? — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 Another interesting twist… — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 The senator believed House managers were trying
‘to put parameters on what we could do in the Senate, that all we could do was to take
the facts and decide.’ In his view, senators could, in fact, ‘be expansive.’ — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 In 1999, Senate Democrats were so impartial
that they voted as a bloc–unanimous, 100 percent–to acquit Bill Clinton on both articles
of impeachment. — Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2019 So there you have it. Senators are NOT like
jurors in a criminal trial in regards to impeachment.

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