Many Democrats today are dreaming of the possibility of impeaching Brett Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court. This is a highly unusual situation, especially since he has not yet been confirmed or taken his place on the high court.
Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed later today, while tens of millions (or more) Americans are in a state of disbelief. They can’t believe that a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault will actually be sitting on the highest court in the land, voting on the rights of every American.
If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives after November’s elections, some party leaders have said they will launch further investigations into Kavanaugh. These leaders may be chairs of very powerful House committees with subpoena and full investigative powers. They also will have the power to draft articles of impeachment and bring Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh before the House for an impeachment trial.
“Analysis: So how would impeaching a Supreme Court justice work, exactly? Here’s what could happen if Democrats win control of the House.”
Analysis: So how would impeaching a Supreme Court justice work, exactly? Here's what could happen if Democrats win control of the House. https://t.co/8iyQ73Im0y
— POLITICO (@politico) October 6, 2018
The mere thought of this makes many Democrats happy, and after yesterday’s soul-crushing speech from Susan Collins, Democrats today need a reason to be happy.
There is no question that the FBI probe was not sufficiently thorough in its exploration of the allegations against Trump’s nominee. They didn’t even talk to Dr. Christine Ford of Julie Swetnick, two of the main accusers against Kavanaugh. They also didn’t follow up to conduct interviews with dozens of potential witnesses.
On top of that, they didn’t even look at ANY allegations of perjury against Kavanaugh which, if proved, would require him to be removed from his current position as a federal judge. Democrats and other critics of Kavanaugh‘s within the legal community believe that misleading statements he made under oath automatically disqualify him from serving on the federal bench.
Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has said he will probably investigate Kavanaugh after he’s confirmed.
“We would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things that haven’t been properly looked into before,” he said.
But even if the House impeaches Kavanaugh, two-thirds of the Senate — a supermajority — would need to vote to remove him following a trial, making the likelihood of his ousting very small. (Republicans currently have a 51 to 49 seat majority in the Senate, and it is possible they will keep control of the chamber after November’s elections.)
Still, to Democrats, there is a lot to gain from going through the motions in the House of holding an impeachment trial. Doing this will expose to the public every crime he has ever committed — it will expose to every American all of the dirty laundry that he has been hiding away for years.
A public trial in the House would be devastating to Brett Kavanaugh and to the Republican Party. It would especially hurt the Republican senators who will vote today to confirm him, because they will have overlooked some potentially heinous crimes. They may be exposed for putting a rapist and perjurer on the Supreme Court.
But a House impeachment trial would have another benefit: all evidence uncovered there can be referred to law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecution.
Sexual assault allegations are difficult to prove, but perjury charges are very easy to prove in court. Democrats will without a doubt criminally refer him for several counts of perjury he committed during his testimony, all of which are easily provable.
Criminal referrals for sexual assaults are also possible, depending on what evidence is presented in his trial, and how credible it is. It is possible that Kavanaugh could end up going to jail.
The beauty of this for Democrats is that a trial in the House of Representatives is not subject to the same rules of evidence as a criminal trial in state or federal court.
Democrats will be able to enter into evidence any and every claim made against him, and all potential witnesses will be allowed to speak to corroborate those claims.
If this happens it is very possible that Kavanaugh would eventually be removed from the Supreme Court.
Of course, to remove him would take 67 Senate votes, which is not likely to happen UNLESS he is convicted of multiple felonies. It’s hard to imagine even Republicans not voting to remove from the high court a convicted felon. If they don’t the political consequences for the GOP would be even more devastating than they are already.
So this is something to dream about. And while we’re at it we can also dream of Democrats taking control of the Senate AND the presidency after the 2020 elections. This new president and Senate could nominate and confirm a new liberal justice to replace Kavanaugh.
Is this a pipe dream? Maybe, maybe not. We won’t know for sure until future events unfold. We do know this, however: for Brett Kavanaugh to be brought to justice there needs to be a Blue Wave that sweeps Democrats into control of the House. And that is what everyone should be focused on between now and November 6th.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.