Hello dear friends, This article on Solsarin is going to give you some information about “impeach a supreme court justice”
Impeachment is the procedure in which a legislative body, like the United States Congress, can punish or remove government officials from their positions. This is a way for the legislative branch to check and balance the executive and judicial branches and the police itself as well. As of December 2019, there have been 66 federal judges or Supreme Court Justices investigated for impeachment.
Usually, misbehavior is brought to the attention of a legislator, who may call upon the United States House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate. After a review of its findings, the Committee acts like a sheriff or prosecutor and may bring charges against the individual,[dubious ] in which case, the entire House takes on the role of jury and votes as to his guilt or innocence of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.[dubious ] If a majority of the members of the United States House of Representatives vote to impeach, the impeachment is referred to the United States Senate for trial.
A conviction requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. The individual may or may not then stand trial in a criminal court as well, before a jury of his peers. Often the two procedures occur together. In the criminal trial, he may be punished with fines and/or incarceration.
For a period of nearly 40 years after World War II, the impeachment clause of the United States Constitution was considered moribund. A number of federal judges were targeted for primarily ideological reasons or that of personal malice by U.S. Representatives and these were always “filed away” by the House Judiciary Committee with no further action. Only the frivolous attempts to impeach Justice William O.
Douglas and a scandal in Oklahoma made it to the hearing stage. What might have become serious impeachment proceedings, those against Justice Abe Fortas and Appeals Court Judge Otto Kerner, was followed by the target’s immediate resignation before any formal proceedings could actually begin. The Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 empowered the Judicial Conference of the United States to investigate and police the judiciary and, if need be, request that the House of Representatives impeach federal judges.
Judicial councils are established in each circuit and investigate complaints and may certify the disability of judges or refer complaints to the Judicial Conference. Most judicial impeachments since then have been based on these requests.
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On May 10, 1796, the House received a report from the Attorney General on the conduct of George Turner a judge in the Northwest Territory, which included demands for bribes, and the wanton levy of fines without trial. The report was referred to a select committee for further action. On February 16, 1797, Judge Turner requested that a hearing on any potential charges be conducted while he was in town. His request was not granted. Then on February 27, Representative Theophilus Bradbury of Massachusetts submitted the select committee report and a resolution recommending a hearing be held in the Northwest Territory.
This resolution was tabled by the House. However, Judge Turner resigned just a few months later.
On February 4, 1803, the House received a report from President Jefferson regarding the conduct of Judge John Pickering of the District of New Hampshire. A select committee was appointed to investigate the matter and submitted its report to the House on February 18. On March 2, the House passed a resolution impeaching Judge Pickering. On October 20, the House appointed a select committee to draft articles of impeachment. The select committee submitted four articles of impeachment to the House on December 27, and on December 30, articles were formally adopted. The Senate began the impeachment trial against Judge Pickering on January 4, 1804.
On March 12, 1804, the Senate convicted Judge Pickering on all four articles and removed him from office.
Senate Practices in Impeachment
The Senate enjoys broad discretion in establishing procedures to be undertaken in an impeachment trial. For instance, in a lawsuit challenging the Senate’s use of a trial committee to take and report evidence, the Supreme Court in Nixon v. the United States unanimously ruled that the suit posed a nonjusticiable political question and was not subject to judicial resolution.
The Court explained that the term
tries in the Constitution’s provisions regarding impeachment was textually committed to the Senate for interpretation and lacked sufficient precision to enable a judicially manageable standard of review. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted that the Constitution imposes three precise requirements for impeachment trials in the Senate: (1) Members must be under oath during the proceedings; (2) conviction requires a two-thirds vote; and (3) the Chief Justice must preside if the President is tried. Given these three clear requirements, the Court reasoned that the Framers
did not intend to impose additional limitations on the form of the Senate proceedings by the use of the word ‘try.’ Accordingly, subject to these three clear requirements of the Constitution, the Senate enjoys substantial discretion in establishing its own procedures during impeachment trials.
But the Senate ultimately has only convicted and removed from office seven federal district judges and a Commerce Court judge.
While this pattern obviously does not mean that Presidents or other civil officers are immune from removal based on impeachment, the Senate’s acquittals may be deemed to have precedential value when assessing whether particular conduct constitutes a removable offense. For instance, the first subject of an impeachment by the House involved a sitting U.S. Senator for allegedly conspiring to aid Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish-controlled territory.
The Senate voted to dismiss the charges, and no Member of Congress has been impeached since. The House also impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, who was widely viewed by Jeffersonian Republicans as openly partisan for, among other things, misapplying the law. The Senate acquitted Justice Chase, establishing a general principle that impeachment is not an appropriate remedy for disagreement with a judge’s judicial philosophy or decisions.
Samuel Chase – United States Supreme Court
On January 5, 1804, a resolution was introduced appointing a select committee to investigate U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Chase. The resolution was approved on January 7, 1804. The select committee recommended impeachment in a report submitted to the House on March 6, 1804. Id. at 1093. On March 13, 1804, the report was approved and a select committee was appointed to draft the impeachment articles.
The House adopted the select committee’s eight articles on March 26, 1804, one of which involved Chase’s handling of the trial of John Fries. Two more focused on his conduct in the political libel trial of James Callender. Four articles focused on procedural errors made during Chase’s adjudication of various matters, and an eighth was directed to his “intemperate and inflammatory (…) peculiarly indecent and unbecoming (…) highly unwarrantable (…) highly indecent” remarks while “charging” or authorizing a Baltimore grand jury. The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate began the impeachment trial of Chase in early 1805, with Vice President Aaron Burr presiding.
All the counts involved Chase’s work as a trial judge in lower circuit courts. In that era, Supreme Court justices had the added duty of serving as individuals on circuit courts, a practice that was ended in the late 19th century. The heart of the allegations was that political bias had led Chase to treat defendants and their counsel in a blatantly unfair manner. Chase’s defense lawyers called the prosecution a political effort by his Democratic-Republican enemies.
The Senate voted to acquit Chase of all charges on March 1, 1805. He returned to his duties on the court. He is the only U.S. Supreme Court Justice to have been impeached.
As Chief Justice William Rehnquist noted in his book, Grand Inquests, some people expressed opinions at the time of Chase’s trial that the Senate had absolute latitude in convicting a jurist it found unfit, but the acquittal set an unofficial precedent that judges would not be impeached based on their performance on the bench. All judges impeached since Chase have been accused of outright criminality.
On January 6, 1804, Judge Peters of the District of Pennsylvania was added, by amendment, to a resolution calling for the investigation of Justice Chase. The resolution was adopted on January 7, 1804. The select committee appointed to conduct the investigation submitted its report to the House on March 6, 1804.
The select committee report, exonerating Judge Peters of any wrongdoing, was adopted by the House on March 12.
On March 21, 1808, a resolution to investigate Judge Innis of the District of Kentucky was introduced to the United States House of Representatives. The resolution was tabled. On March 31, 1808, they tried again and it was adopted by the House.
A select committee was appointed to conduct the investigation, and it submitted a report, absolving the Judge of all wrongdoing, to the House on April 19, 1808.
On April 9, 1808, At the request of the territorial legislature, Mississippi delegate George Poindexter introduced a resolution calling for the appointment of a special committee to prepare articles of impeachment against Presiding Judge Peter Bruin of the Mississippi Territory. The resolution was tabled. On April 18, the resolution was reconsidered and a special committee, chaired by Poindexter, was appointed to investigate the Judge., who was charged with “neglect of duty and drunkenness on the bench.”
Bruin resigned on October 12, 1808, as a consequence of the investigation. The House terminated impeachment proceedings, and Bruin died in 1827.
Thank you for your consideration.