When will we move to impeach certain Supreme Court justices? (Part 1)
“Five conservative Republican men serving on the Supreme Court,
led by a chief justice who has violated 200 years of judicial precedent,
despite pledging under oath during his confirmation hearings to respect
judicial precedent, are waging a legal war of mass destruction against
core principles of American democracy . . .”
— Brent Budowsky Editorial from The Hill, April 9, 2014.
Every June, I get nervous about the Supreme Court, and the Roberts’s court in particular. My knees have been shaking at the very idea that they may rule anyway now to give Hobby Lobby and all corporations/employers’ the right to disallow contraception coverage, something that is mandated by and totally funded by for the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
When I was growing up in the 50s, my parents impressed upon me the reverence they paid to the Supreme Court, whose justices served selflessly for life to decide the hardest decisions American’s face. I held this view up until the retirement of Justice William J. Brennan in 1990. At the time, I was close friends with his daughter and happen to be privy to the fact that he stayed on longer than he wanted to boost the progressive voices then on the court. But a lot has changed since then. George Bush was elected in 2000 and proceeded to pack the court with conservative judicial activists instead of stalwarts of justice. So now, we find ourselves looking for grounds for impeachment starting with the two of the worse, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, along with their enabler, Chief Justice John Roberts.
This right-wing majority in the Supreme Court is now forcing us to endure the most terrible, constitution-shredding rulings I never could have imagined: In 2009, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates by giving organizations free speech prerogatives, formerly reserved for individuals, in allowing political spending by outside groups, something that has since clearly hijacked the democratic political process. Then in 2013, the court decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted, savaged really, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, striking down its Section 4 as unconstitutional, the formula that subjected certain jurisdictions (mostly in the South with its bad voter protection histories) to pre-clearance by the Department of Justice before implementing new changes in their voting laws and practices. And, also last June, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court held that aggregate campaign contribution limits were invalid under First Amendment, newly legalizing a long-ago rejected form of outright political graft.
There are already numerous petitions to call for the impeachment of Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Roberts has even prompted a petition from his own right wing, for siding with the progressive side of the court which upheld that people can be forced to get coverage under Affordable Care Act, just as with car insurance, a widely accepted premise.
Both Thomas and Scalia have been participated in partisan fundraising, which would be be considered a clear violation of ethics. Thomas’ wife, Ginni, was also on the payroll of at least one of these organizations, Thomas says he “forgot” to disclose. An analysis of Scalia’s public statements and speeches could hold the key to his ouster because they were seditious. Unfortunately, ethics censure is voluntary for Supreme Court justices. They are not held the same standard of conduct that all other federal judges are held to, and under which they can be impeached.
Budowsky urges us to mobilize:
Democrats, liberals and populists should promote a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court decisions, propose statewide ballot initiatives to take back America from special interests, and make corruption in Washington a defining issue to mobilize the Democratic base, rally political independents and transform the 2014 and 2016 elections (from The Hill)
What will you do to address this most important threat to American democracy in our history?
This post continues in Part 2 with a discussion and analysis of Laurence Tribe‘s new book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution.
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