Congressman Pete DeFazio, under fire in his re-election bid in Oregon, has decided to saber rattle and call for an impeachment haring on charges of perjury against Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts. As he told the Huffington Post:
“I mean, the Supreme Court has done a tremendous disservice to the United States of America. They have done more to undermine our democracy with their Citizens United decision than all of the Republican operatives in the world in this campaign. They’ve opened the floodgates, and personally, I’m investigating articles of impeachment against Justice Roberts for perjuring during his Senate hearings, where he said he wouldn’t be a judicial activist, and he wouldn’t overturn precedents.”
From The Daily Kos, which in turn grabbed it from The Huffington Post:
“(Congressman Pete) DeFazio is doing so based on two points.
In short, Roberts swore not to be an activist Justice and to follow the traditions of the Court. Justice Stevens dissent clearly demonstrates that Roberts did neither.”
So what we have here is that DeFazio is going after SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts based largely on the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Stevens because Stevens felt that the court should not have heard the case, and the court expanded the case beyond what was brought before it.
Is this the first time an Associate Justice disagreed with the Chief Justices’s decision to hear a case? I think not.
Is this the first time an Associate Justice felt the Chief Justice expanded the scope of a case before the court? I think not.
What is unusual is that Chief Justice Roberts said, under oath, that he wouldn’t do either (as he referred to it at the time, he said he wouldn’t be an “Activist Justice”), and this Congressman has decided to draw some attention to himself with his “investigation” into impeachment proceedings – oddly timed to be announced before, but not acted on, before one of the most contentious mid-term elections in years. How strange!
But what is odd, is that they want to charge a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice with and impeachment on the grounds of perjury, based on testimony provided in his confirmation hearing. For those of you, like me, that aren’t legal scholars, here is the best, most accessible definition of perjury I could find – I encourage you to look for a better definition if this one doesn’t suit your needs:
“In order for a person to be found guilty of perjury the government must prove: the person testified under oath before [e.g., the grand jury]; at least one particular statement was false; and the person knew at the time the testimony was false.”
What is fascinating is the REQUIREMENT that the “person knew at the time the testimony was false” – how will Congressman DeFazio PROVE that then-nominee Roberts KNEW not only that Citizens United was going to come before the supreme Court, but that he would also (in the opinion of Associate Justice Stevens at least) expand the scope of that case?
Seriously, how will Congressman DeFazio prove those two claims are true?
Over at The Nation they explain that Congressman DeFazio is being met with challenges from a hedge fund manager that takes exception to the Congressman’s record and is working to defeat the Congressman…
Does this remind anyone of Rep. Conyers “mock impeachment trial” in the basement of the Capital?
Thanks to our friends at The Blaze for bringing this story to my attention. Their brief posting includes an audio link to hear Congressman Pete Defazio utter the above charges, make his intentions clear.
Rep. Conyers “mock impeachment” trial: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/16/AR2005061601570.html