Peter DeFazio Seeks Impeachment of Justice Roberts

The Huffington Post reports that Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio is investigating articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Roberts for the Citizen’s United decision:

With Democrats increasingly outraged over the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that allowed unlimited corporate spending in elections — a change conservatives have been more successful at taking advantage of — a Democratic congressman is raising the prospect of impeaching the Supreme Court’s chief justice over the issue.

“I mean, the Supreme Court has done a tremendous disservice to the United States of America,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “They have done more to undermine our democracy with their Citizens United decision than all of the Republican operatives in the world in this campaign. They’ve opened the floodgates, and personally, I’m investigating articles of impeachment against Justice Roberts for perjuring during his Senate hearings, where he said he wouldn’t be a judicial activist, and he wouldn’t overturn precedents.”

Leave it to a Democrat to argue that overturning a ban on political speech is impeachment worthy.

Rick Moran at American Thinker brings up a very obvious point:

[Y]ou could easily make the case that it was McCain-Feingold that upset precedent and that the Roberts court was re-establishing the long held point of law that money in politics is a matter of free speech and worthy of First Amendment protections.

Yes, you could very easily make that case. In fact, legal experts and conservative politicians were astonished when the court’s initial glimpse at McCain-Feingold didn’t bring that up.

Jonathan H. Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy emphasizes what the HuffPo article already mentions: the move for impeachment is ludicrous.

This is absurd.  Even liberal academics who are exceedingly critical of Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court’s alleged turn to the right recognize the silliness of Rep. DeFazio’s charge.

“This is neither well-advised nor plausible,” said Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. “Nominees may not perjure themselves, of course, but nothing in Roberts’ testimony along these lines can fairly be characterized as perjury.” . . .

[University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law professor Michael J.] Gerhardt added that Roberts has generally respected precedent. “[I]n this case, it could just be called a question of judgment,” he said. “It appears to me that a judge, and in this case, the chief justice of the United States, has the independence to exercise his judgment.”

There is also an irony to seeking to impeach the Chief Justice for his alleged willingness to overturn precedent when the Roberts Court, thus far, has overturned prior precedents (and statutes) at a lower rate than its predecessors.

Of course, this is the same crowd that wanted to impeach President Bush for, well, being wrong, and acquitted President Clinton of perjury charges even though most Democratic members of Congress admitted that Clinton had perjured himself …


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