In the aftermath of Monday’s blockbuster story from Politico on the draft majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in which he declared “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” there has been much pearl-clutching and gnashing of teeth by The Usual Suspects, many of who have issued various calls to action of sorts, some of which have – unsurprisingly – already inspired violence in the streets.
Among the various calls to action have been attempts by so-called Democratic “leaders” to lay the groundwork for possible impeachment hearings for certain conservative Supreme Court Justices on grounds that they allegedly committed perjury during their confirmation hearings when they were asked about Roe v. Wade.
As we previously reported, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a speech Tuesday that some of the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court – Justices he did not specifically name – “have lied to the U.S. Senate.” In an official joint statement issued by both Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) just a few hours after the news broke, the same claim was made:
Several conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the people, have lied to the Senate, ripped up the Constitution, and defiled precedent and the Court’s reputation—all at the expense of women who could soon be stripped of bodily autonomy and constitutional rights. pic.twitter.com/0PaVWBD2oz
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 3, 2022
This is so dumb it defies logic, but we’re talking about panicked Democrats here who will literally say and do just about anything to protect a woman’s “right” to terminate her unborn child’s life, so we shouldn’t be too surprised by this line of attack.
As far as impeachment hearings for the conservative Justices go, Democrats would have to prove the Justices lied, which would be a tall order because Alito and the others were deliberately vague – not to mention cautious – in their wording as Supreme Court nominees typically have been when asked about Roe v. Wade.
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley explained it much better with the receipts to back it up in a piece he wrote responding to the accusations:
Take Alito. Many of us said when Alito was nominated that he was presumptively opposed to the logic of Roe. After all, in 1985, Alito wrote as a Justice Department lawyer that the Constitution does not contain a right protecting abortions.
However, appearances had to be observed.
The late Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), asked him if he agreed with that statement today and Alito responded in classic confirmation nonspeak. He first repeated the facts (by noting that he was a Justice Department attorney at the time) and then went rote: “Today if the issue were to come before me. The first question would be the question that we’ve been discussing and that’s the issue of stare decisis. And if the analysis were to get beyond that point, I would approach that question with an open mind.”
That says absolutely nothing but how every jurist approaches case precedent. You begin with the touchstone of stare decisis and the preference for preserving precedent. You then approach the countervailing question with “an open mind.”
And re: Gorsuch’s hearing:
I testified in the Gorsuch hearing and he was widely viewed as a Roe skeptic. After all, he wrote a book that declared “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
When asked about that statement in the context of Roe, Gorsuch responded: “Senator, as the book explains, the Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
When Durbin asked if he accepted that, Gorsuch stated another truism: “That’s the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.” In other words, he accepted that Roe is the established precedent. That is about as earthshaking as saying he accepts that the Supreme Court sits in Washington. Likewise, then-senator Al Franken asked if Gorsuch he viewed Roe as “settled law.” Again, that is like asking for the location of the Supreme Court. Gorsuch declared “It is absolutely settled law.”
Turley also similarly explained Kavanaugh’s answer, while suggesting Barrett was way more open than the others about her judicial philosophy towards Roe v. Wade.
As per the norm, the Twitter thread Turley wrote on the inconvenient facts regarding the “lying” allegation triggered some meltdowns on the left, whose inability to understand that facts don’t care about their feelings is perhaps only eclipsed by their infamous penchant for trotting out the race card when they have nothing of substance to add to a debate.
That the Senate Majority Leader has apparently decided to go scorched earth on conservative Justices in response to the story of the draft majority opinion isn’t a shocking development considering his nasty and very public threats against the Justices from March 2020. But if he and Pelosi proceed with this drastic course of action, it will absolutely rip this country apart and would cause irreparable harm to the Senate and the SCOTUS confirmation process, which may ultimately be what they want but they won’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot.
Maybe on down the line, Schumer will decide to reconsider his incendiary rhetoric on this once he realizes how Democrats won’t like it when Republicans eventually turn the tables on them, but I doubt it. Because as the old saying goes, desperate people will do desperate things, and Democrats right now are very, very desperate.