Excuse us for being so presumptuous as to second guess the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but we think William Rehnquist was wrong the other day in handling the surprising verbal objection from Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
Every day as the presidential trial starts, the secretary of the Senate clearly warns that everyone must "remain silent under pain of imprisonment." The rule for questions or objections, senators were told at the outset, involved sending a written note to the presiding justice. Yet Harkin interrupted a manager, quibbling over the use of the word "juror" to refer to a senator.
The startled chief justice let Harkin ramble on before agreeing. We don't have a problem with the agreement, we just wonder how come Rehnquist didn't have Harkin silenced, arrested, handcuffed and hauled away to jail.