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What does John Roberts want?



The wild card in the impeachment is not Donald John Trump. Our president will let the impeachment run its course much like he allowed the Mueller witch hunt to go on.

Sure, he tweeted. Sure, he squawked. Sure, he dumped Sessions the first chance he had. But Mueller provided a good cover for The Donald to do all those things the press ordinarily would stop if it brought them to light.

Impeachment provides more cover, so President Trump will take it like a man and get to do things like slap work requirements on food stamps and end birth tourism with little attention. This is the hand they gave him, and he plays it well.

No, the wild card in all this is Chief Justice John Roberts. The question is will he allow the Senate to do its thing, as his predecessor, William Rehnquist, did with the Clinton impeachment? Or will the chief justice assert himself?

He could, after all, place his stamp on history by becoming a hanging judge who makes acquittal impossibly expensive for Republicans. Just how, I am not sure, but my limited experience tells me judges seldom are really surprised by a jury verdict.

A reader asked me about Roberts.

The reader wrote in an email, "The actual parameters of his role are a bit hazy at the moment, but he has chosen to exceed his role and rewrite legislation with ObamaCare, so there is reason to believe he might do so again. His motivation in the ObamaCare decisions appeared to be politically influenced. Whether that was actually the case, or just appeared to be, there will be more attempts by the liberal politicians and media to try again.

"Another factor is his appearance to 'protect' the judiciary from appearing political. In the ObamaCare case, this probably backfired and damaged his reputation and the court in general, but it appeared to be his intent. He also replied to Trump statement about 'Obama judges' with the laughable claim that there are no Obama Judges, all judges are just doing there job without agendas.

"Given his desire to protect the judiciary, it would be good to remind him that in addition to removing a President, the impeachment process is the means to remove a judge (or Justice) and lowering the standard for impeachment from serious crime to political differences could severely damage the judiciary."

I gave the reader a quick answer, "You make excellent and insightful points. The question is what does Roberts want from this? What's in it for him?

"Presiding over a presidential impeachment is a loser for a chief justice. Rehnquist was glad to be rid of it in a week.

"That said, Roberts oversaw the FISA court that enabled Obama to spy on Trump. Where's his reform?"

Allow me to expand upon that.

First, who presided over the Johnson impeachment? Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, a man who is more famous for being Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury. This is why Chase's face is on the $10,000 bill. It's all about the Salmons. And Salmon P. Chase was all about Salmon P. Chase. He had openly sought the 1860 Republican presidential nomination, but in 1868 he sought the Democrat nomination on the sly.

Nevertheless, Chase deferred to the Senate, which acquitted Johnson of 3 charges and then simply dropped the remaining 8 articles of impeachment. Chase could have used this trial to boost his national profile. He laid low on impeachment.

If an ambitious politician saw no use in presiding over an impeachment, why would Roberts?

My head says he will lay low. My heart remembers ObamaCare. And I am unhappy with the FISA courts.

I believe we should watch him. Distrust and verify. He is a wild card.

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