Let’s Talk About Impeaching Supreme Court Justices

Huffington Post:  The Blog; by Nathan Newman

With the threat of the Supreme Court striking down the most important progressive domestic initiative in a generation, we should be talking about impeaching Supreme Court Justices who engage in such right-wing judicial activism.

Impeachment?  Many progressives shrink back in horror at such a supposed affront to judicial independence.  For an example, see Ruth Marcus’s tizzy over President Obama’s rather mild (and accurate) statement that unelected judges striking down such a core economic regulation would be unprecedented in the post-1930s legal environment.

But we need to be talking about impeachment if we are not to see every progressive economic regulation struck down by the courts as outside the supposed intent of the Constitution’s Founders — the regular rhetoric of those promoting rightwing legal theory.

What we have been witnessing in recent years is the rising use of anti-democratic means by corporate-backed interests to block any advance of progressive legislation.

  • The filibuster — once an infrequently deployed weapon — has become a daily tool of the right-wing in blocking legislation and making a farce of majority rule in this country.
  •  Corporate money in both elections and deployed in the halls of Congress and state legislatures has exploded to corrupt the process — and the Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision has just abetted this empowering of moneyed interested at the expense of the general public.
  •  Conservative legislators have promoted “Voter ID” laws and other strategies to disenfranchise the poor — laws validated by this Supreme Court

A Supreme Court attack on Obamacare — the signature progressive legislative advance in a generation and a reform delayed for decades by conservative filibusters and other anti-majority legislative maneuversing — would be a culmination of this anti-democratic movement.   It would no doubt open the floodgates of this right-wing Court majority striking down regulation after regulation as not meeting their narrow definitions of constitutionality.

So why talk about impeachment?   Especially since it takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate, it won’t happen any time soon.

Talking about impeachment, however, is a way to label this right-wing Court majority as the partisan tool of corporate right-wing interests that it has become. The Constitution says judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,” so speaking of impeachment is the way to assert that using partisan judicial power to undermine health care for our nation is not proper behavior for unelected judges.

Why Progressives Should Not Value Judicial Independence: Mounting a full-throated progressive campaign against a rightwing judicial elite ultimately complements the Occupy rhetoric against the financial and political elites protecting the interests of the 1% in our society.

Talking about impeachment is a way to pull together critiques of a Court that increasingly just protects moneyed interests in cases ranging from Citizens United to a myriad of other less-known cases that just pad the wallets of the financial elite and undermine our democracy.

We need to start talking about impeachment before the court makes democratic action on most progressive legislation impossible.

Read more at the Huffington Post


The Supreme Court 5/4 vote is a pattern and should be questioned.  It is well documented that Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have been the headline speakers at numerous fundraisers for right wing organizations like the Federalist Society. This is a violation of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges Canon 4C. 

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Categories: Economic policy, Energy policy, Environmental policy, Human rights, Opinion/Editorial, Political commentary, Politics, US News

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6 replies

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  2. I think that this post really captures the mood of political progressives toward this particular Supreme Court at this particular moment in history. Can a Supreme Court Justice honestly claim to be a strict constructionist and a stalwart defender of the Constitution when their every decision is a reflection of the current extremes of their own political party? Enough is enough. This behavior is blatantly outrageous.

    Clarence Thomas’s wife has been a paid political activist for the Koch Brothers Tea Party. Has he recused himself on cases involving key political issues in which his wife has been a paid political lobbyist for one of the interested parties of the suit? A lower court judge would have quickly found themselves before a judicial council for such obvious conflicts of interest that are the very definition of judicial misconduct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing this article. I agree, it is time for us all to look at the members of this court and make several of them accountable. I believe they are violating the law and their oath.

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  3. Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.

    via Code of Conduct for United States Judges

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent statement.

      I have listened to Scalia over the years. He continues to make more and more comments to intentionally insult everyone in the court room. He is getting more extreme. I do not believe he is stable and he mocks our freedom and values while giving more to corporations. Personalities like that hurt everyone around or under them. Especially in business.

      Thomas does not seemed to be liked by any republican that I have talked too. They all claim he should of never been appointed. I have seen his wife in her hat and her fund raising activity for the teaparty. That looks bad.

      More importantly, It is time to get loud and let them know we are at least watching. This looks wrong and they do not care. It just smells of money, abuse and power. They are not even hiding it. We have seen this pattern of behavior especially the last few years. Amazing what that much money does to an ego.

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