One of Vice President Kamala Harris’ first tasks in her new job could be to preside over an impeachment trial of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Politico reported on Tuesday that Chief Justice John Roberts apparently “wants no further part” in overseeing the politically charged situation after he presided over the first impeachment trial of Trump less than one year ago.
The Constitution says that in impeachments for presidents, the chief justice of the Supreme Court is the presiding officer. For lesser impeachments, the presiding officer has been the same as for other Senate business — either the vice president or a senator.
The Constitution is not clear on who should preside over impeachments for former presidents.
If Roberts does not preside over a Senate trial, Harris would likely have the choice of whether to preside herself. The transition organization for the incoming Biden administration did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News asking whether Harris would in fact do that.
If Harris passes on presiding over the trial, it would fall to a senator, likely Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who is the longest-serving Democrat.
During the 2020 Trump impeachment, Roberts declined to be a tie-breaking vote in the Senate when asked by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“I have a parliamentary inquiry,” Schumer said. “Is the chief justice aware that in the impeachment trial of President Johnson, Chief Justice Chase, as presiding officer, cast tie-breaking votes on both March 31 and April 2, 1868?”