“Squad” leader Andrea Ocasio-Cortez is among the most vocal of far-left Democrats screaming to bring perjury charges against conservative justices who swore under oath during confirmation hearings to uphold Roe v. Wade, but now voted otherwise.
Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 vote, have been accused by AOC and others on the left of misleading the public and members of the Senate about their intentions during their respective confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The calls to impeach the justices for misleading the public have been led by AOC, who last month said that “there must be consequences” for upending democratic institutions with false statements.
“If we allow Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath and secure lifetime appointments to the highest court of the land and then issue — without basis, if you read these opinions — rulings that deeply undermine the human civil rights of the majority of Americans, we must see that through,” she said on NBC.
Several other House Democrats have joined in the calls to get answers on whether the justices misled the public about overturning Roe.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), however, said removing a justice is “not realistic” when he was asked if Justice Clarence Thomas should be impeached. AOC had similarly called for Thomas’s impeachment because of his wife’s connection to Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 uprising.
The House can file articles of impeachment for a federal judge with a majority vote, but the Senate must secure a two-thirds majority vote to remove a judge. As a result, any impeachment effort for a Supreme Court justice would face a monumental uphill battle. Democrats now have 50 Senate seats, but not all 50 of those Democrats would be likely to vote to impeach a Supreme Court justice.
Only one Supreme Couth justice in the history of the institution has been impeached.
In 1805, the House impeached justice Samuel Chase, but the Senate acquitted him.
Chase, a federalist with a “volcanic personality,” was accused of bitter partisan rhetoric, refusing to dismiss biased jurors, and excluding or limiting defense witnesses in at least two cases, according to the Senate’s historical recounting of the event on its website.
Convincing the public and lawmakers that Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Gorsuch should be removed because of “perjury” could be difficult because their comments could be interpreted in different ways.
According to Factcheck.org, Gorsuch, in his 2017 hearing, said Roe was a “precedent” that deserves standing but also refused to say how he would rule on a case challenging it.
“If it looks like I am giving hints or previews or intimations about how I might rule, I think that is the beginning of the end of the independent judiciary if judges have to make, effectively, campaign promises for confirmation,” Gorsuch said.
During his confirmation hearing in 2018, Kavanaugh said Roe was an “important precedent” that has been “reaffirmed many times,” including through 1992’s Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
“That makes Casey precedent on precedent. It has been relied on,” Kavanaugh said, according to Factcheck.org.
However, Kavanaugh also said he would be open to new arguments on any case, adding that he has an “open mind” and that a justice should “listen to all arguments.”
As for Barrett, in her 2020 hearing said she would follow the doctrine of stare decisis, which means following a precedent, but she also said Roe was not a “super precedent.”
“Scholars across the spectrum say that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled, but descriptively, it does mean that it’s not a case that everyone has accepted and doesn’t call for its overruling,” she told the Senate.
The bottom line? Despite the rantings of AOC and those of her ilk, there is very little chance that impeachment proceedings will be brought against any of the Donald Trump-appointed and Senate-confirmed conservative justices.