(Tea Party PAC) – Chief Justice John Roberts gave Sen. Elizabeth Warren a very uncomfortable stare during the Senate impeachment trial on Thursday after reading aloud a question she’d submitted questioning his own legitimacy on the Supreme Court.
How did she expect this to go?
The 2020 contender was criticized immediately, even by members of the left-wing media, for her bizarre attempt to take a swipe at Republicans by undercutting the Chief Justice presiding over the impeachment proceedings.
On Thursday, amid the question-and-answer portion during which Senators submitted written questions for Justice Roberts to ask the Democrat impeachment managers and the president’s legal defense team, he read this question aloud from Warren:
“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the Chief Justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”
Pretty universal bewilderment in and around the chamber as to what point Sen. Warren was trying to make by her question about the trial contributing to a "loss of legitimacy" for Roberts/SCOTUS. Schiff wanted nothing to do with it.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) January 30, 2020
He punctuated this with an ice-cold glare at Warren as he awaited the response from Rep. Adam Schiff. At least he could maintain professional decorum, while I don’t think anyone would have blamed him for rebuking her sharply.
— Heather Monahan (@HeatherMonahan_) January 30, 2020
“I would not say that it contributes to a loss of confidence in the chief justice,” Schiff replied, playing it smart for once. “I think the chief justice has presided admirably.”
“I don’t think a trial without witnesses reflects adversely on the chief justice; I do think it reflects adversely on us. I think it diminishes the power of this example to the rest of the world,” he continued.
“I think a fair trial matters,” he concluded. “And yes senator, if they don’t get that fair trial, it will just further a cynicism that is corrosive to this institution and to our democracy.”
CNN’s Erin Burnett, never one to question a Democrat, accused Warren of crossing a line by unfairly using Roberts a “vehicle” on her program “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“There was that extra moment when he was done reading that question that I thought was just significant. Hard to tell. He doesn’t — he doesn’t let anything show on his face, but it seemed meaningful to him,” Burnett said.
“I would think that it would and in some ways, he is being used as a vehicle because he has no choice but to read the words,” Ryan Goodman, NYU School of Law professor and co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, commented. “So it made for that moment. So I thought it was right for what Adam Schiff did to try to then bolster him in a certain sense because I don’t think that’s necessarily playing fair for him to be put into that situation.”
He continued that, if Roberts were to have had to decide on a potential tie vote over witnesses, Warren’s question n “didn’t play well and the real question is like now what will his role otherwise be because we shouldn’t put him into that kind of a position.”
CNN political commentator Scott Jennings also criticized Warren’s question as “ridiculous.”
“That was a question written by someone who’s running for president who doesn’t know any other way except to sort of be, you know, I thought rather vicious in the way she was raising the specter of his illegitimacy,” he said. “I agree with the way Schiff answered it, by the way. I thought he handled it perfectly and I thought that question was out of bounds.”
It just kept coming.
“I agree. I don’t think — I think it put him in a very tough position, and it didn’t do the Democrats any favors by putting him in that position,” liberal commentator John Lockhart said of Roberts. “He’s going to make up his mind based on what he thinks.”
Twitter also weighed in, putting the icing on the cake:
Warrens like, “How do we convince this court of our need for witnesses?” I know, insult the judge.
— Nick (@Nick16028023) January 30, 2020
— Loved & Imperfec†🇺🇸 (@RayneNGrace) January 31, 2020
As @pkcapitol notes, the seeming attack on Roberts came a day ahead of a potential tie vote where Dems have been courting Roberts to intervene. Pelosi very solicitous today; D sens uniformly respectful.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) January 30, 2020
Here’s a question “Why are Senators running for nomination allowed to vote on a sitting president and opponent’s removal from office?”
— Jim Tomlinson 🇺🇸 (@jimetomlinson) January 30, 2020