Democratic lawmakers are falsely accusing two Supreme Court justices of lying under oath about Roe v. Wade, suggesting that the justices should face an impeachment inquiry.
“They lied,” said Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during a Sunday interview with “Meet the Press.” “There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions.”
The only problem — neither justice promised to uphold Roe.
Both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch declined to directly address questions about Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings: Kavanaugh referred to the case as “important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times,” while Gorsuch called Roe “a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court that had been reaffirmed.”
“For a judge to start tipping his or her hand about whether they like or dislike this or that precedent would send the wrong signal,” Gorsuch said at the time. “It would send the signal to the American people that the judge’s personal views have something to do with the judge’s job.”
Mark Paoletta, the former general counsel for the Office of Management & Budget who worked on Justice Kavanaugh’s, Gorsuch’s, and Clarence Thomas’s confirmations, told The Daily Wire that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh recognizing Roe as precedent was a statement of fact — “not a promise never to overturn it.”
“That’s absurd,” he said, emphasizing that nothing in the justices’ testimony was inconsistent with their actions. “And to make such a commitment would be unethical and a violation of the judicial code of ethics. They testified truthfully in every way. These clams by the Left are ridiculous.”
Both West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who voted to confirm the justices, expressed concerns following the overturn of Roe that the justices had lied to them.
They appropriately answered questions on precedent like all judicial nominees do. https://t.co/x9JW0XtB8Q
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) June 26, 2022
“I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans,” Manchin said in a statement on Friday that expressed support for legislation codifying Roe v. Wade.
Collins echoed these sentiments, suggesting that the justices were dishonest when they met with her.
“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon,” she said.
Neither Collins nor Manchin immediately responded to requests for comment from The Daily Wire.
During her NBC interview, Ocasio-Cortez called Collins’ and Manchin’s remarks “very explosive” and claimed they warrant a House Judiciary Committee inquiry and potentially impeachment (the House can impeach a federal judge through a majority vote, but for the senate to convict a judge, there must be a two-thirds majority).
“I believe that lying under oath is an impeachable offense,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) agreed.
“Every single one of them said they would not undermine a settled precedent, every single one of them said under oath, that they would actually preserve Roe,” Gillibrand said of the justices who overturned Roe. “So the fact that they all lied, is shocking.”
“I hope we have hearings, because I don’t know how you can accept Supreme Court justices who lied in order to be confirmed,” Gillibrand added. “That is absolutely fraud, and there should be consequences. So I hope there’s an investigation.”
American Enterprise Institute fellow Marc Thiessen wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that “none of the conservative justices promised to uphold Roe,” noting that if they had done so, “that would be an impeachable offense.”
“It would be a serious violation of judicial ethics for a nominee to the federal bench to say how they would vote in a case before hearing the facts and evidence,” wrote Thiessen.
During Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1993 confirmation hearings, Ginsberg explained that “it would be wrong for me to say or preview in this legislative chamber how I would cast my vote on questions the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide.”
“A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process,” the late justice added.
“It is perfectly understandable for senators to try to divine how a justice, if confirmed, would rule on a case they care about,” Thiessen wrote. “But it would be a gross dereliction of judicial ethics for a nominee to prejudge a case or give senators any assurances of how they would decide. Which is why they all follow the ‘Ginsburg rule.’ And there is nothing impeachable about that.”