Impeach the Supreme Court judges who banned abortion, demand Democrats

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Anti-abortion demonstrators hold up signs outside the US Supreme Court - Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Anti-abortion demonstrators hold up signs outside the US Supreme Court - Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Left-wing Democrats are calling for Supreme Court judges to be impeached after abortion was banned across swathes of America.

The court's vote to overturn its landmark 1973 ruling enshrining the right to an abortion has prompted a rare attack on its justices by Democrats and even some Republicans.

Critics now want to remove them from office, claiming they misled Congress when they were being appointed over their views on abortion rights.

With half of US states now poised to ban abortions, political pressure is mounting on Joe Biden to confront the Supreme Court and restore access to the procedure.

Some Left-wing Democrats have challenged the legitimacy of America's highest court and called for some of its conservative justices to face impeachment proceedings.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a firebrand congresswoman from New York, has focused on two justices appointed under Donald Trump: Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Mr Trump had vowed to only appoint justices who would work to overturn Roe v Wade, but during their confirmation hearings both men signalled that they would respect court precedent.

On Friday, Mr Kavanaugh and Mr Gorsuch formed a conservative majority, joining with three other justices to strike down Roe v Wade.

“They lied,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told NBC News of the justices' previous statements to Congress.

“I believe lying under oath is an impeachable offence… and I believe that this is something that should be very seriously considered.”

Her comments followed a sharp rebuke of the two justices by moderate senators who were instrumental to Mr Kanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Joe Manchin both said they felt deceived by the Supreme Court.

“I feel misled,” Ms Collins said, adding she had received private assurances from Mr Kavanaugh on his position on abortion rights.

Mr Manchin said both Mr Kavanaugh and Mr Gorsuch had “testified under oath that they … believed Roe v Wade was settled legal precedent”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez suggested a third justice, Clarence Thomas, should separately face impeachment following revelations that his wife pressured Republican officials to join Mr Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Thomas has not recused himself from election-related cases. Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that "very deep violations of conflict of interest are also impeachable offences”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez also sought to light a fire under her Mr Biden, saying the US president and the Democratic Party needed to recognise the Supreme Court's composition was "not just a crisis" for abortion rights, but "a crisis of our democracy".

"The President & Dem leaders can no longer ... avoid tackling our crises head-on," she tweeted.

Her calls were echoed by her fellow progressives.

Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, said: "Congress also has the authority to impeach Members of the Supreme Court and has done so before."

Joining protesters outside the Supreme Court over the weekend was California congresswoman Maxine Waters, who called on the crowd to "fight" the ruling.

"The hell with the Supreme Court. We will defy them," she shouted.

The power to impeach a judge lies with the House of Representatives, and requires a simple majority vote.

However, to be removed from office a judge would need to face trial and be convicted by a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which is divided 50-50 with Republicans.

While the Democrats control the House, calls for impeaching any of the Supreme Court's justices does not have widespread support.

Mr Biden has called the overturning of Roe v Wade "a realisation of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court", but has stopped short of attacking individual justices.

The president has also distanced himself from calls by his party's left flank to expand the number of justices on the court to counterbalance its current conservative bent.

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