A couple of Democratic Congresspeople want to make sure that those Supreme Court justices who mislead Congress during their confirmation hearings into believing that they considered Roe v. Wade settled precedent don’t go unpunished for their deceit. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) posted to Twitter a copy of a letter that he co-wrote with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressing their concerns about the continuing legitimacy of a Supreme Court populated with liars.
Our Constitutional Republic cannot tolerate Supreme Court Justices who lied in order to get confirmed. The legitimacy of the Court is at stake.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 11, 2022
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez quickly forwarded Rep. Lieu’s tweet with her own warning about the dangers of an ethically compromised Supreme Court to our very system of democracy.
We cannot allow Supreme Court nominees lying and/or misleading the Senate under oath to go unanswered.
Both GOP & Dem Senators stated SCOTUS justices misled them. This cannot be accepted as precedent.
Doing so erodes rule of law, delegitimizes the court, and imperils democracy. https://t.co/yZW6BKnqFG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 11, 2022
The letter points out the statements that both Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh made during their confirmation hearings that directly contradict the positions that these untrustworthy judges actually took when the Court took up the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that they used to go against the precedent that they swore fealty to at their confirmation hearings.
Here’s what Neil Gorsuch had to say during his controversial confirmation hearings that he only managed to reach consideration because then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to even consider then-President Barack Obama’s nominee:
“I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. A good judge would consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy of treatment like any other.”
Oh that clever Gorsuch, qualifying his answer to narrow it to what a “good judge” would do, when his decision in Dobbssquarely places him outside of that category.
The 2018 quote from Brett Kavanaugh that Lieu and AOC included in their letter was no better.
“It is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled to the respect under the principles of stare decisis. The Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. It has reaffirmed it many times.”
As both Reps. Lieu and Ocasio-Cortez point out in their letter:
“It is impossible to reconcile the sweeping majority opinion in Dobbs with the statements made by Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh during their confirmation hearings.”
With a statement like that one would think that the two progressive Democratic legislators might call for the impeachment of the offending justices, but Lieu and AOC are starting with a modest ask in a closely divided Senate — simply a finding by the Senate that both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lied during their confirmation hearings.
Hopefully, once such an official finding is made, consequences, perhaps including impeachment, will follow.
At the very least, however, Reps. Lieu and Ocasio-Cortez see their request as a way to prevent “such a mendacious denigration of our fundamental rights and the rule of law from ever happening again.”
Let’s hope that Senator Schumer heeds their call.