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The motivation for my Politics SE question US Chief Justice Roberts' choices of “in conformity with” and “in conformance with” during the swearing in at the Senate includes my assumption that the Chief Justice wrote these words and selected the phrases for this occasion:

at 01:35 Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice, for the purpose of joining with you, for the trial of the president of the United States.

at 02:16 At this time I will administer the oath to all senators in the chamber, in conformance with article 1, section 3, clause 6 of the Constitution and the Senate’s impeachment rules.

The time codes correspond to this CNN’s video and I am sure can be found elsewhere.

I just realized that it is possible that these are drawn directly from words of previous US supreme court justices from previous impeachments.

So I would like to ask, compared to these, what words were spoken about oaths by US supreme court justices presiding over previous presidential impeachments? Are these words by Chief Justice Roberts drawn from history?

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    I don't think the words were drawn from history. I can't write an answer at the moment, but the impeachment of Andrew Jackson was recorded in the Supplement to the Congressional Globe 1868, and that of Bill Clinton in the Congressional Record for 1999. – sempaiscuba Jan 17 at 18:44
  • @sempaiscuba thank you for the links! To me it looks as though neither of these covers the first moments that the chief justice arrives and announces purpose, takes one oath, and administers the second to the senate. I did some further digging and found youtu.be/U2fKJz2rrZo?t=28 – uhoh Jan 18 at 0:48
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    The swearing in of the Chief Justice and Senators is covered in both publications, but at slightly earlier dates. I've posted details as an answer below. – sempaiscuba Jan 18 at 1:05
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The impeachment of Andrew Jackson was recorded in the Supplement to the Congressional Globe 1868. Further details may also be found in the Senate Journal.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was recorded in the Congressional Record for 1999.


From the Senate Journal, 5 March 1868

The United States vs. Andrew Johnson, President.

The Senate sitting for the trial of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, upon articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives,

The Chief Justice of the United States entered the Senate chamber and was conducted to the chair by the committee appointed by the Senate for that purpose.

By direction of the Chief Justice the following oath was administered to him by Mr. Justice Nelson, the senior associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States:

"I do solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God"

The Chief Justice then took the chair and administered the same oath to the following senators separately, as their names were called by the Secretary


From the Congressional Record, 7 January 1999

TRIAL OF WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

The CHIEF JUSTICE. Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice, for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the President of the United States, and I am now ready to take the oath.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Will you place your left hand on the Bible, and raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?

The CHIEF JUSTICE. I do.
At this time I will administer the oath to all Senators in the Chamber in conformance with Article I, section 3, clause 6, of the Constitution and the Senate's impeachment rules.


So, the oaths administered to senators in the impeachment trial of President Trump are the same as those that were used in the impeachment trial of President Clinton (although the actual Senate rules may differ in each case). The wording used by the Chief Justice in regard to those oaths is also the same in both cases. That might be expected, since both impeachment trials belong to the modern era, being separated by just 21 years.

The wording used in the impeachment trial of Andrew Jackson was rather different. The senators swore the same oath as the Chief Justice. This should probably not come as a surprise given that his trial was more than 130 years earlier, and was the first of its kind. The Senate's impeachment rules were still being worked out.

  • Note that there have been non-Presidential impeachment trials by the U.S. Senate – Pieter Geerkens Jan 18 at 1:06
  • This is very helpful, thank you! – uhoh Jan 18 at 1:09
  • @PieterGeerkens That page seems to be down (or at least not accessible from here) at the moment. Since the question only asked about presidential impeachments, I didn't bother to check the wording used in other impeachment trials. Do you know if it was significantly different? – sempaiscuba Jan 18 at 1:10
  • @sempaiscuba: Still working for me in an incognito window - but it's just a list and very brief outline of the impeached, office, impeachment articles, managers, dates, and result for each. Nineteen in total with seven acquitalls. – Pieter Geerkens Jan 18 at 1:43

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