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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:34 AM
Original message
Treason is not some vague fuzzy notion.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

And you think Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito could be impeached for or charged with treason for their execrable decision in Citizens United?

Really?


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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. what avenues exist to question a supreme court decision....any? or is it just the law period?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Who is there to appeal to?
The supposed remedy lies with the legislative branch and amending the constitution.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. The founders described a government consisting of three CO-EQUAL branches
Basic logic suggests that this is not what they actually created, as the Judiciary's power trumps that of both of the other branches in practice.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Co-equal, but with different responsibilities and powers.
Co-equal does not mean identical. It just means that there are checks and balances. With regard to the SCOTUS, the power of Congress to impeach, change the number of justices, or to amend the Constitution is the power to control the SCOTUS. It's not easy, and that's deliberate.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. Not really co-equal, since one branch's word is law w/o possibility of review.
In theory, for example, the Constitution may be amended via the political process. However, in practice, the method of doing so is so onerous as to make this outcome rare. While this is as intended, it creates a rather large discrepancy in the "separate but coequal" theory: namely, a sitting Court can radically alter the very fabric of our Constitution on the whim of a mere five persons. And, moreover, it may do so a dozen times a term if the whim strikes It. Finally, the power to amend is diffuse over what amounts to hundreds of thousands of actors when compared to the mere five it takes to radically alter our campaign finance laws, e.g.

Therefore, the power to "say what the law is" is much greater in magnitude when compared to the power to amend the Constitution, and it is resident in far fewer people.

Not even close to truly co-equal. If you get a Court that decides it likes governing, you may have a generation or more of regressive policy that the rest of us are virtually powerless to correct. The best example is the Lochner era Court, which struck down things like child labor and collective bargaining laws as violation of the "freedom to contract". Later Courts "undiscovered" this alleged right, but not until a generation or more of regressive, rightwing labor policy was implemented. Not co-equal.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. The SCOTUS word = law without possibility of review
(save by future Courts).
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. It's easy to question a SCOTUS decision, but another matter
to do something about it. As the final arbiter of all things constitutional, the SCOTUS is almost beyond anyone's touch.

Justices can be impeached by Congress, but that's a thing nobody's really prepared to do. It won't happen over a decision like this recent one.

The court can be resized, but, again, it's not a popular idea, and has failed in the past. Still, the number of justices is a matter of legislation, so it represents the easiest way to alter the court's composition. I doubt it is possible in today's political climate.

Constitutional Amendments can be used to change SCOTUS rulings. Since the SCOTUS is constitutionally bound by the Constitution, an Amendment can change the document to obliviate a previous decision. Historically, Amendments take years to get done, though, and, as we saw with the ERA, even relatively popular Amendments have a very, very hard time getting finalized.

As was said, Treason is a very specific charge. It simply doesn't apply here at all. It cannot be used.

All of this stuff is laid out in the Constitution. It's a pretty short document, and can be read online in any of a number of places. It's a useful exercise.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. Reckless use of that term
makes people sound like unhinged freepers.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. yes, and when widely read and respected progressive writers/organizers
write that they should be impeached for treason, they do progressives no favors.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Still, anal parsing of what is *clearly* meant to be idiomatic use of a term
(and by someone who is also clearly not an attorney) isn't terribly illuminating, either.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. I see what you mean,
but impeachment is a legal process, and would thus depend on the actual legal definition, as opposed to the idiomatic use.

Your point is a valid one, however.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. The impeachment language is different--treason isn't the threshhold.
Off the top of my head, the Constitutional language is "High Crimes and misdemeanors" as to executives, legislature, and the judiciary may serve "during good behavior", which has been equated to be the equivalent of the "High Crimes" standard.

Thing is, those things are undefined.

And anyhow, treason is a criminal offense afaik. Impeachment has nothing to do with it whatever, which kind of leads us back to my original point about this sort of thread throwing off far more heat than light! :P
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. It is only
for two of the three branches ("high crimes and misdemeanors").
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. You couldn't have finished reading the first sentence of my post and come up with that response
:eyes:
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Wrong.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. This has rapidly devolved into comedy. nt
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Not really.
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. When someone proposes impeachment based on the crime it is not idiomatic
"Mountain-top removal mining rapes the environment."

Idiomatic.

"Mining companies should be charged with rape for mountain-top removal mining."

Not idiomatic. Just stupid.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. As discussed above, treason is not the Constitutional standard for Impeachment
Either you, the third party or both of you are confused. Treason is not the legal standard for impeachment.
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. As discussed throughout the thread, that has nothing to do with anything
Cali is not questioning whether treason is the only crime justifying impeachment.

She is countering specific arguments (of which I have seen at least 100 myself) that certain officials be impeached for the crime of treason.

And those calls are most assuredly not using the term idiomatically (as understood by the authors)

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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #30
34. Right, but the argument betrays a basic misunderstanding of the standard.
Which is to say, whether one may be impeached or not is essentially what is known as a "political question"--it is in the discretion of the House. That is all.

No part of whether a Justice of the Supreme Court may be impeached or not turns on any parsing of the crime of Treason. None.

In other words, if the crime of Treason has 6 elements (made up number), and a Justice has been shown to have committed five of these, but a six cannot be proven, such that a conviction for Treason may not be secured, a Justice of the Supreme Court is not therefore immunized from impeachment for that self-same offense. That is because the standard for Impeachment is not showing all the elements of Treason, nor most of them, nor any of them--it is "good behavior" as to the judiciary, which has been equated in the caselaw to be equivalent to the "High Crimes and misdemeanors" standard. Remember, this is a political (not a logical) threshold!

So no question as to whether a Justice may be impeached or not turns on any precise parsing of the crime of Treason. And in "refuting" such an argument, the OP misunderstands the basis of Impeachment in the first place while proposing to give a lecture on the subject. Not good.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Nailed it! The House is the sole judge of what constitutes an impeachable offense.
And the senate is the sole judge of what is sufficient to warrant removal from office.

The definition of "treason" is completely irrelevant to this discussion.

What can a Supreme Court Justice be impeached for? Anything the House wants to consider impeachable. It is a political decision and the only real question is "do Democrats in the House have the votes and the will to do it?" If they do, impeachment follows. Whether the miscreants on the court could be removed falls on the senate, then. While unlikely, it's not impossible. I suspect if one could investigate the justices' finances, they would find all sorts of problems with conflicts that existed but were not properly disclosed.

Exposure of such facts might result in resignations.

I don't know that impeachment of the bad judges is likely, but I could get behind doubling the size of the court and packing it with Democrats.
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Capers Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
10. Actually, yes, treason IS some vague fuzzy notion.
trea⋅son
  /ˈtrizən/
noun
1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
2. a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

One should not mistake the Constitution for a dictionary.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. In the context discussed
the legal, Constitutional definition is clearly applicable.
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Capers Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Actually no.
Impeachment is a completely different standard, left to the whim of Congress.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. nit pick much?
I think it was clear from my OP that I meant the Constitutional standard for treason, as I posted that.

duh.
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Capers Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. What you did was nit picking.
You're projecting.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. how so, dear?
Care to explain how discussing the definition of treason in the Constitution is "nit picking"? Do tell.
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Capers Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. You started an entire thread to nit pick at the definition of treason.
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OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #20
32. Treason, as it pertains to real world repercussions, is defined by the constitution.
Hardly nit picking in the OP's context.

If you want to call someone a treasonous bastard or traitor, by all means use Webster. Name calling -> much ado about nothing. If you want to call for the conviction and removal of political figures on the grounds of treason, use the legal definition outlined by the constitution.
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superduperfarleft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
19. Ah, Cali's daily scolding. What would DU be without it? n/t
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. so why click on my threads then?
to scold me?

:rofl:
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #19
27. Did you mean hourly?
Just wanted a clarification.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #19
31. What I love is how frequently she informs us how "progressive" she is,
and how "progressive" her ideas are, and just how "progressive" people think in the first instance.

I think all that self-referential repetition really cements for me how "progressive" the poster truly is, regardless of the sometimes stark content of her posts. :silly:
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Crabby Appleton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
33. Recommended
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