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Hullabaloo


Saturday, April 18, 2009

 
California Clout

by digby

Following up on dday's idea to have the California Democratic Party follow the lead of a unanimous vote by the Los Angeles Dem party and pass a resolution to impeach Judge Jay Bybee, let me just emphasize that this is not an obscure, tilting at windmill exercise. The fact is that the Speaker of the House is from California and as dday points out below, there are numerous members of the house Judiciary Committee from California, Los Angeles in particular. Bybee is on the 9th circuit Court, which covers California. This is something where the state delegation should have plenty of juice if we can exert grassroots pressure for them to take action.

This is not unprecedented. Federal judges have been impeached for many reasons over the years and not just for personal indiscretions or corruption as some would like us to believe:

Samuel Chase, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 12, 1804, on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials; Acquitted by the U.S. Senate on March 1, 1805.

James H. Peck, U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 24, 1830, on charges of abuse of the contempt power; Acquitted by the U.S. Senate on January 31, 1831.

West H. Humphreys, U.S. District Court for the Middle, Eastern, and Western Districts of Tennessee.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, May 6, 1862, on charges of refusing to hold court and waging war against the U.S. government; Convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office, June 26, 1862.

Charles Swayne, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, December 13, 1904, on charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office; Acquitted by the U.S. Senate February 27, 1905.

George W. English, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, April 1, 1926, on charges of abuse of power; resigned office November 4, 1926; Senate Court of Impeachment adjourned to December 13, 1926, when, on request of the House manager, impeachment proceedings were dismissed.

Harold Louderback, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, February 24, 1933, on charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers; Acquitted by the U.S. Senate on May 24, 1933.

Halsted L. Ritter, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, March 2, 1936, on charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers and practicing law while sitting as a judge; Convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office, April 17, 1936.

Walter L. Nixon, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, May 10, 1989, on charges of perjury before a federal grand jury; Convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office, November 3, 1989.


It is unlikely that Bybee would be removed because there are a minimum of 34 bloodthirsty, pro-torture Senators in the congress. And perhaps the man is so rigid that nothing could ever make him resign, not even the disgust of his peers and shunning by decent people everywhere. But he should be impeached anyway, if only so that the Judiciary Committee can publicly consider this outrageous notion that obscure Justice Department lawyers can indemnify agents of the government from illegal activities by issuing a badly reasoned, secret memo.

Seriously, if that's the case, then we have a dictatorship, the exercise of which depends entirely on the good will of the president and the lawyers he chooses for the Justice Department.

Sign the petition --- especially if you are a Californian. (Sign it anyway, even if you're not.) This is a small grassroots effort that has a chance to work its way up the system through some specific members of congress who have to answer to liberals at the ballot box.

Make them do it.



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