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Cyrano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:41 PM
Original message
Can Scalia be impeached?
The only way to oust a Supreme Court justice is through impeachment (unless they retire or die first).

So is it impossible to impeach Scalia (or any of the other wingnut fanatics on the Supreme Court)? My short opinion is, no. After all, Clinton was impeached for a blow job which hurt no one. On the other hand, Scalia and his fellow wingnuts on the court have virtually destroyed any hope of fair and free elections in America.

Im not a lawyer. But there must be many lawyers here on DU.

So this is more of a question than a statement. Are there any legal grounds for impeaching Scalia?
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. You would maybe first have to cite a law he broke.
Can you work on that first?
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Cyrano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I can't cite any law he's broken. That's why I'm asking for the opinions
of any lawyers out there on DU.
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I think there is the I Just Hate Him statute that might apply.
Usually impeachment requires a more compelling crime, but hey.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Forget about that for a moment...
Do you really think the GOP-controlled House is going to impeach Scalia??
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. Move along nothing to see....?
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Cal33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. Maybe Clarence Thomas could be impeached. I read he had his wife
Edited on Mon May-23-11 08:54 PM by Cal33
on a pay-roll for ten years and never paid taxes on her income.
He is in hot-water right now because of that. Would Pelosi
put impeachment off the table for him, too? Actually it's
Boehner's job to do that now. And he, of course, can be
relied upon not to do it.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. you don't need him to commit a crime to impeach him.
Edited on Mon May-23-11 07:19 PM by provis99
Theoretically, a judge could be impeached simply because those in favor of impeachment got enough votes.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. That did seem to be the theory with the Clinton impeachment
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. Where on earth did you get that idea? Certainly not from the Constitution.
Edited on Mon May-23-11 08:58 PM by WillowTree
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. you know what the Constitution says about impeaching judges that commit crimes? Nothing.
You can be a convicted criminal and serve as a Supreme Court justice. You don't have to be a criminal to be impeached.
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Travelman Donating Member (326 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #30
37. That's odd. My copy of the Constitution is rather clear on the subject.
W/R/T impeaching a Justice of the Supreme Court: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Last time I checked, United States Supreme Court Justice was considered a civil office of the federal government.



So, now someone just needs to prove a crime beyond "I really, REALLY don't like him" as grouds for impeachment.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. the short answer is no.
and don't forget that impeachment is a political process more than anything else.
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
24. Why would that make it "no"? Make it a polictical process.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 02:40 AM
Response to Reply #24
35. because in the real world, it ain't gonna happen. that's why.
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suston96 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
6. Good behaviour......?
The Constitution sez.....

Article III
Section 1.

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. That doesn't prevent him or...
any other justice from being impeached.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. FYI----Look up justices John Pickering and Samuel Chase. I have
no link but remember something about it from a course I took.
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Scruffy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #7
23. As Gerald Ford once remarked
"high crimes and misdemeanors" is whatever Congress says its is.
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cayanne Donating Member (682 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. Clinton wasn't impeached for a blow job.
Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath, perjury, and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted in the senate. He was disbarred because of it too.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. He was only disbarred from practice before the Supreme Court...
otherwise, his law license was SUSPENDED for five years.
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Cyrano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Yes, but let's get back to the reality of planet Earth.
Edited on Mon May-23-11 07:12 PM by Cyrano
Clinton was impeached because of a blow job and because the majority of Republicans in the House knew they could make it stick.

This has to have been one of the most outrages abuses of power by any congress in American history.

Nonetheless, it went nowhere because the Senate threw it on the garbage heap of history.

So back to my original question. Can/should Scalia be impeached?

I know we don't have the votes in the House, but if we win the House back in 2012, are there any reasonable grounds to impeach him?
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. No, Clinton did not lie under oath.
Where did you get these right wing talking points from?
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. Of course. He got his law license suspended because he told the truth under oath.
Geez...........
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. show me his conviction for lying under oath.
Edited on Mon May-23-11 11:39 PM by provis99
Oh that's right, there isn't one.
Clinton voluntarily agreed to a suspension of his law license for political reasons, since they couldn't get him on perjury, and he wanted the Lewinsky matter dropped. The Arkansas Supreme Court didn't even have any standing to involuntarily suspend his law license.
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Travelman Donating Member (326 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #16
38. Probably from Bill Clinton himself
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Nye Bevan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
11. Yes. If you have a video of him accepting a suitcase of cash for a favorable decision.
If not, I'm not a big fan of impeaching judges just because you don't like their rulings.
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trueblue2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
12. i wish !!!!! Also wish he'd be put in a pillory and we could throw ROTTEN TOMATOES at him
him..... thomas and Roberts!!! "stone them" with rotten tomatoes. won't hurt them but they will all stink to high heaven!!
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
14. You can't impeach a judge or justice just because you don't like their rulings.
And you'd better thank whomever it's your practice to thank in such instances that you can't. Otherwise the Republican-controlled House would be busily bringing articles of impeachment against justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagen about once a month.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Yes, they can be impeached if you don't like their rulings.
Show me the place in the Constitution where it says they have to commit a crime before they can be impeached.
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Show me where it says you can,
All the Constitution says on the matter is that justices ".......shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.......". As I said before, if you want to define "good Behaviour" as only issuing rulings that you like (or that one side or the other likes), then all justices would be battling impeachment procedings constantly when the party of the President who appointed him or her to the Court is in the minority.

In other words, chaos would be a non-stop event and nothing would ever get done in the House OR the Court.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Absolutely wrong...
read Article 2, Section 4. Justices of the Supreme Court are "civil officers".
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Good luck hanging your hat on that one. Article II lays out the parameters of the Executive.
But let's just say, for the sake of discussion, that Article II, Section 4 applies to the Judiciary, as well. We're right back to "you can't impeach a justice just because you don't like his or her rulings". 'Cause there isn't a thing in Article II, Section 4 that so much as implies that you can impeach for other than "conviction of treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". And "I don't like his rulings" doesn't rise to any of those.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Article II, section 4 applies to the Executive, not the Judiciary.
Edited on Mon May-23-11 11:31 PM by provis99
And frankly, many of the Founding Fathers, like George Mason, felt that impeachment could be used on judges that were lazy, stupid, or incompetent. Impeachment and conviction through the impeachment process after all, does nothing more than fire someone from a job. It is not a criminal court.

And frankly, in the case of Presidential impeachment, the House can impeach the President for any reason they want, since they are the ones who get to define what "high crimes and misdemeanors" are. There is no legal definition.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #32
34. Bullshit...
Supreme Court Justices are "civil officers of the United States", as referenced in article 2, Section 4.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #25
33. Keywords:
"all civil officers of the United States".

Supreme Court Justices are, in fact, civil officers of the United States. Duh.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_a_US_Supreme_Court_justic...

Additionally, the hurdle of "high crimes and misdemeanors" is whatever the House interprets it to be. As a practical matter, however, since the impeachment and subsequent acquittal of Justice Chase in 1805, I don't think it's very likely that any justice would be removed on the basis of one of his/her holdings. But they can be impeached on the basis of the article of the Constitution I cited.
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Travelman Donating Member (326 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #17
39. OK
Article II, Section 4:

"Section 4 - Disqualification

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."


It does not say Impeachment for, and Conviction of, making rulings that provis99 doesn't like.


Sorry. Doesn't work that way, and for that you should be thankful. Think about all of the justices who would have been kicked off the court for making unpopular decisions in the past. Roe v. Wade? Brown v. Board of Education? There would be a shit-ton of kicked-out-of-work Supreme Court Justices out there if they could be impeached just because they made a decision that some people don't like. There's a damn good reason why this is specifically not the case.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
18. Sure. Any of them can.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
27. Legally, of course
Politically, of course not.
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 05:53 AM
Response to Original message
36. He can be impeached just for going fishing.
Just because impeachment is incredibly difficult (I'd be interested to know when was the last time the Senate mustered 67 votes for anything), it doesn't have to be fair or legal.

Furthermore, Justices are supposed to adhere to an amorphous rule by which they must avoid the appearance of impropriety. It just has to look bad. Like fishing with the most evil Vice President we've ever had looks bad.

Several things need to happen: The Dems need to gain control of the House, so impeachment proceedings can begin; the Dems need to weather one of the more unusually difficult elections (Dem Senators are up for reelection 2 to 1 in 2012), and then secure a powerful majority in 2014.

Amazingly, thanks to Republican misbehavior and the slow leak of toxic information from the 00s coming to light every week, all those things seem possible.

The most important thing to remember is that since Clarence Thomas is clearly guilty of impropriety, he'll leave the moment the election returns come in, lest he risk his (terrible) legacy. Since Thomas does nothing without Scalia's approval, I think it's safe to assume that Scalia also received some sort of payoff for his allegiance to the Sith, making it all the more important that Thomas leaves before investigation can widen to swallow up all remaining Republican Bush v Gore Justices.

So yeah, hit a magic number of 60-67 Dems in the Senate and take over the House, and we can impeach Scalia for being a ham sandwich, if we so wish.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
40. Probably not
unless something more could be uncovered about his relationship with the Koch Bros.

There are far better grounds for impeaching Thomas on the grounds that he has repeatedly failed to recuse himself from cases in which his wife had a direct interest.
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