Ted Cruz on Impeachment Trials of Former Officers
Senator Ted Cruz has been a hardliner on the second impeachment of Donald Trump. He voted for Rand Paul’s pre-trial procedural motion to avoid the trial. He was one of a small number of senators to vote against adopting the Senate impeachment resolutions agreed to by the Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. He voted against Senate jurisdiction over the case after the first day of trial.
Many have thought that Republican senators would use the constitutional argument that the Senate does not have jurisdiction over former officers as cover for a vote to acquit Donald Trump at the end of the trial and avoid any significant discussion of the merits of charges against Trump and his responsibility for the events of January 6. In a very interesting new op-ed on the Fox News website, Cruz has defied those expectations.
In that op-ed, Cruz comes to the same conclusion that I do—that the Senate does in fact have constitutional jurisdiction to hold an impeachment trial of a former officer. Interesting. Then he adds that he believes the Senate’s jurisdiction over impeachments is discretionary, not mandatory. As he puts it, “nothing in the Constitution makes the Senate’s impeachment jurisdiction mandatory.” Fascinating.
As it happens, I agree with Cruz on this point as well (more or less). As I wrote before the first Trump impeachment trial, “the Senate is empowered to have a trial, not mandated to have a trial.” Cruz does not give much reason for why he thinks that the Senate has discretionary jurisdiction for impeachment tr
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