WASHINGTON — The Republican leadership went full-steam ahead to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, with Amy Coney Barrett officially confirmed on October 26.
But is there a way to remove a Supreme Court justice even after they are confirmed?
Is there a way to remove a Supreme Court justice from the bench?
Yes, but it may not apply in the case of Judge Barrett.
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
“This includes a Supreme Court justice,” Dr. Graber, a Constitutional Law expert, said.
Graber said the process to remove a justice from the bench is the same as any impeachment proceeding.
“House impeaches, Senate votes on whether to convict,” he said. “As it reads, "the Senate shall have sole power to try all impeachments.”
Which begs the question, has this ever been done before?
“In American history, only one Supreme Court justice has been impeached: Samuel Chase,” Graber said. “He was impeached by the House, but not convicted by the Senate.”
So yes, there is a way to remove a Supreme Court justice from the bench, but it requires malfeasance by the justice, an impeachment, then a trial.
Dr. Graber said there is one other way. You’d have to negotiate to ask a justice to leave.
For example, in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson wanted to appoint a justice he favored to the Supreme Court. So, he negotiated with one of the justices on the bench to leave and take an ambassadorship.