The Senate convenes for Trump's impeachment trial at 1pm local time and ends at 9pm local time.

Why these weird hours? The majority of the population I know begins work at around 9am and finish at 5-6pm. It sounds pretty strange to arbitrarily shift the working hours back by four hours. Yes, they are still working "standard hours" in terms of total hours worked, but by getting home later at night, they also can't do things like spend time with their partners or children (if their partners/children have more normal working hours).

A 1pm-to-9pm shift is more standard for fields such as retail, because there are shoppers who shop after working hours and it's important to keep the store open then. However I don't see how this applies to the Senate, who are after all setting their own rules.

Related: Why would the Senate adopt such tiring impeachment trial rules? However, the answers to that question don't seem applicable here: even if it's important for political reasons to force both sides to give all their evidence in 3 days, I don't see why they can't have a 9am-to-5pm Senate session instead of 1pm-to-9pm, which would achieve the same thing in the same amount of time.


1 Answer 1


Regarding the start time (1p)

From my understanding it is due to The Chief Justice's day job (SCOTUS). If true, this could be why on Saturday Jan 25 the trial started earlier as the SCOTUS didn't have any work that day.

My answer doesn't included factors such as primetime viewership as I think those were secondary. I am trying to find text that cites this more clearly, but unable to find it ATM.

  • 23
    This is the correct answer. Here is a reference(NYT) : That late daily start time is meant to accommodate Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who maintains a morning case schedule at the Supreme Court before presiding over the trial.
    – J...
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 18:32
  • 8
    @J... thanks for the source. Amazing the Chief Justice is working 1.5 workdays a day for the duration of the trial, that takes endurance. I can't imagine what would've happened to him if the Senate had stuck to the original schedule with proceedings ending at 1am.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 22:57

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