Democrats Plan on Impeaching Kavanaugh, if They Win Midterms
Democrats have stated that they will try to impeach him if they retake the House in November. 17 members of the House Judiciary Committee have said they’re on board with an investigation. “Someone committed perjury under oath in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I think it was Judge Kavanaugh, and therefore, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and should not serve as a judge on any court,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) told HuffPost last week. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who would likely become the chair of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats win back enough seats next month, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, “We would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things that haven’t been properly looked into before.”
Democrats may be upset about Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but no Supreme Court justice has ever been successfully impeached and removed by Congress. The last time Congress even tried was in 1804. It takes a majority House vote on articles of impeachment, then a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict. Republicans are likely to hold the Senate in this year’s midterms, making a Kavanaugh conviction all but impossible. Even if Democrats manage to win the Senate, they won’t come anywhere near the two-thirds majority needed to toss Kavanaugh overboard.
Still, Democrats are seething at the thought of the court shifting to the right and having a majority of judges who will interpret the Constitution and not push progressive policies. With more than two years left in Trump’s first term, he may be in a position to appoint anywhere from 1 to 3 additional judges. Rumors have it that Justice Clarence Thomas is going to retire next year. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85. Stephen Breyer is 80. Polls suggest that the messy attempts to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation may already be galvanizing the Republican base heading into the midterm elections and strengthening the GOP’s odds of holding the Senate.
There were a few threats of a continued investigation of Thomas after his controversial confirmation fight, including one into the leak of Anita Hill’s name to the press. The Senate special counsel spent five months and millions of dollars trying to determine the source of the leak but eventually gave up, and that was the end of any official investigation. Republicans and Democrats alike were eager to move on from that debacle, as they likely will be once Kavanaugh is confirmed.
Among those who seem to understand the potential dangers of an impeachment investigation is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). On Tuesday, when she appeared at the Atlantic Festival, Pelosi was asked about threats to impeach Kavanaugh. “That would not be my plan,” she said. “We are not about impeachment. Democrats are not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E Pluribus Unum.'” That sentiment was echoed by Delaware Democrat, Senator Chris Coons, who characterized calls to oust the newly sworn-in justice “premature,” urging liberal voters to concentrate on the November election instead of spending energy on the high-risk, low-probability impeachment route. “I think that’s premature,” Mr. Coons said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think frankly we are just less than a month away from an election. Folks who feel very strongly one way or the other about the issues in front of us should get out and vote and participate.”
Only one justice, Samuel Chase, has ever undergone impeachment in the House, and he was ultimately acquitted by the Senate in 1805.
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