Déjà vu All Over Again

Article III Section 1 of our Constitution defines the conditions under which Federal judges serve.  Article II Section 4 in our foundational document defines those offenses for which judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, can be removed from office.


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.


Lucas A. Powe, a Supreme Court historian, claimed recently that Chief Justice John Roberts will be under enormous pressure to deep-six the Affordable Care Act this coming June, when SCOTUS hears a challenge to it.  According to Powe, Roberts’ “natural allies,” hard-core conservatives, want to gut the statute.  Powe speculated further that if Roberts allows Obamacare to stand, as he did in 2012, he might be accused by these die-hards of any or all of the above mentioned offenses.

It would, of course, be ludicrous to imply that Chief Justice Roberts would base any of his actions on the possible pique of conservatives.  Nonetheless, it’s worth remembering that wingnuts have been issuing veiled threats of impeachment against President Obama for some time.

Should they extend those to the Justices of the Supreme Court, it might tip the balance in favor of eviscerating the ACA.  Consider further that there are no fundamental Constitutional questions supporting this most recent challenge to the statute.  Rather, the arguments to be presented in June rely on if, and if so how, the IRS can be used to help finance the federally-run health insurance exchange.

John Yoo, a George W. Bush administration lawyer (and originator, during the Iraq war, of the “torture is legal” premise), recently wrote in the National Review that the upcoming June hearing gives Chief Justice Roberts the chance to “atone for his judicial sin of two years ago."  Sounds like the far right are circling their wagons, in an effort to spook the five conservative Supremes.

If such efforts bear fruit, it would indeed be déjà vu all over again - the right would have dominated the political discourse one more time.


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