Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached, and he was not removed from office.
Brett Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court is barely warm, and already Democrats are putting the kibosh on talk of impeaching him, The Washington Examiner is reporting.
“Several” Congressional Democrats — including some who are up for re-election in the 2018 midterms — are considering initiating impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh was bedeviled by accusations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearings. The inflammatory and contentious hearings — and the heated public response generated by them — failed to derail his confirmation, however. Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate 50-48 along largely partisan lines.
Having failed to stop his nomination, some Democrats have turned their attention to the impeachment process as a way of mitigating what they feel will be the Court’s impending sharp turn to the right as Kavanaugh takes his seat. Kavanaugh replaces retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, as the Inquisitr previously detailed.
Donald Trump is having none of that, according to Fox News. Speaking to a police convention in Orlando, Trump warned that if Democrats proceed with talk of impeaching Kavanaugh, it would spell doom for them in the 2018 midterms.
“I think it’s an insult to the American public. I think you’re going to see a lot of things happen on November 6 that would not have happened before.”
Democrat Senator Chris Coons of Delaware is also trying to temper impeachment talk, according to NBC News. Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Coons said that impeaching Kavanaugh would do nothing to heal the wounds caused by his acrimonious confirmation hearings.
“Talking about [impeaching Kavanaugh] at this point isn’t necessarily healing us and moving us forward. The Senate’s role in our politics is not to just reflect the country, but to help heal and lead the country. And that’s the course that we should be on.”
What Could He Even Be Impeached For?
Much like the process for impeaching the president, the constitutional process for impeaching a Supreme Court justice allows the House of Representatives to impeach a justice for just about any conceivable reason. In Kavanaugh’s case, the allegations against him would almost certainly be a starting point.
A member would have to introduce articles of impeachment, and then a simple majority of the House of Representatives would have to vote to impeach. From there, he would face a trial in the Senate, and a two-thirds majority would have to vote to remove him from office.
As it stands, Democrats don’t have the votes for that. And even if Democrats take back both houses of Congress in the midterms, it’s unlikely that they’ll have the votes to remove Kavanaugh from office — to say nothing of the political will to do so.
Has A SCOTUS Justice Been Impeached Before?
Yes, just once: Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 for allowing his political bias to inform his decisions on the Court. The Senate, however, did not remove him from office.
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