Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) raised the prospect during an appearance this weekend on NBC’s Meet the Press of impeaching Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
She discussed the possibility — which she pushed for consideration — in the context of the discrepancy between perceived deference to Roe v. Wade expressed by certain Justices during their confirmation proceedings and the recent vote they took to overturn it. For example, Brett Kavanaugh spoke during his confirmation process of Roe as an “important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times” — phrasing that sounds as though it were specially designed to deceptively placate those concerned for protecting abortion access. As Ocasio-Cortez put it:
‘If we allow Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath and secure lifetime appointments to the highest court of the land and then issue… without basis rulings that deeply undermine the human and civil rights of the majority of Americans, we must see that through. There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions. To allow that to stand is to allow it to happen… It sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations and seats on the Supreme Court.’
Asked if she believes lying during the confirmation process is an impeachable offense for Supreme Court Justices, Ocasio-Cortez replied in the affirmative. She added as follows: “I believe that violating federal law in not disclosing income from political organizations, as Clarence Thomas did years ago, is also potentially an impeachable offense. I believe that not recusing from cases that one clearly has family members involved in with very deep violations of conflict of interest are also impeachable offenses. And I believe that this is something that should be very seriously considered, including by Senators like Joe Manchin and Susan Collins.” Check out Ocasio-Cortez’s comments below:
EXCLUSIVE: If Supreme Court nominees lied under oath, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez says impeachment “should be very seriously considered.”@repaoc: "There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our Democratic institutions." pic.twitter.com/EAHXZcPrzg
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 26, 2022
During their confirmation proceedings, the five right-wing Justices on the Supreme Court who backed overturning Roe were often not exactly the most forthcoming when discussing their stances on the case. Kavanaugh, per The Washington Post, indicated during questioning in the Senate he’d be open to doing away with “settled law.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Kavanaugh for clarification regarding what he meant by “settled law” and if he thought Roe to be what the Post summarizes as “correct law.” To that, Kavanaugh characterized Roe as “settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court,” saying that it should be “entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis.” That judicial concept, the Post explains, is “the notion that precedents should not be overturned without strong reason.” Neil Gorsuch — another of Trump’s picks for the court — said regarding Roe that “a good judge will consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.” Specifics on how Kavanaugh or Gorsuch might rule on an abortion-related issue seemed absent from their answers.