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Letter: Lawmakers should vote their conscience, not their party line

SHARE Letter: Lawmakers should vote their conscience, not their party line

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, speaks with reporters after a GOP strategy session at the Capitol, in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

I am disappointed that Republican parties have censured Sens. Pat Toomey, Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy for voting to convict Donald Trump. It appears others will follow.

This is just plain wrong.

First, Leader Mitch McConnell said they should vote their consciences. They took him at his word. It appears they relied on his statement to their detriment.

I cringe every time I hear any party’s leaders say they will allow their members to vote their conscience. They should be voting their conscience every single time. No one should have to violate their conscience to avoid party-imposed penalties.

Second, every senator and House member takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They do not swear to support and defend a political party or person. Members of Congress placing fidelity to a party or person before fidelity to the Constitution do not belong in office. They should make way for someone who puts conscience and the Constitution first.

Party leaders penalizing someone for voting their conscience, and for voting in consonance with their oath and understanding of the Constitution, should be removed from office and never hold office again.

Voters, of course, are free to elect someone else at the next election.

R. Spencer Robinson