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On Impeachment

January 25, 2020
SF City Hall 1.24.20.JPGSan Francisco City Hall, third day of impeachment proceedings


The Members of the House are bound by the oaths they have taken to uphold the Constitution, and are under a particular obligation to address impeachable offenses, irrespective of whether their bill of impeachment may or may not lead to a conviction in the Senate.

It’s clearly stated in the Constitution that Senators sitting for trial of impeachment “shall be on Oath or Affirmation,” long established by precedent found in Rule XXV of the Senate Rules in Impeachment Trials provides the text: ”I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of ____, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”

Most of us, when induced to swear an oath—say, when serving on a jury or as a witness in a trial, or accepting a position of authority in government—most of us, I think, at least briefly consider that such a swearing-in is reflective of our own sense of personal honor.  That our word, and our judgment when called into play, has some value outside the satisfaction of our immediate desire, our need to influence the outcome.

We are left to wonder whether such a swearing-in, such an oath, has any meaning whatsoever.  Let us tell our Senators, to us it does.  We expect them to honor their Oath of Impartiality.


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