This is a shocking and dangerous assault on the judiciary.
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to Pennsylvania Republicans Monday, rejecting the party’s desperate attempt to save gerrymandered congressional maps that the state supreme court had ruled illegally discriminated against Democratic voters.
But rather than accept the ruling from the state’s highest court, or from the nation’s highest court, one Republican state representative has a different plan: impeachment.
In a memorandum sent Monday evening to all members of the state house, with the subject line “Impeachment of five PA Supreme Court Justices,” Rep. Cris Dush alleges “the five Justices who signed this order that blatantly and clearly contradicts the plan language of the Pennsylvania Constitution, engaged in misbehavior in office.”
He claims “each is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office and disqualification to hold any office or trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”
Never mind that far-right conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito refused to say the state court’s ruling. Dush is calling on his fellow legislators to join him in his impeachment legislation.
“This is a usurpation of the sovereign power of the legislature under the Pennsylvania Constitution,” he said. “In the Constitution, it’s a contract between the people and the government that they hired to oversee them. And the sovereigns in this issue are God, the people, and the legislature in that order.”
It’s a stunning and radical move in the face of a resounding legal defeat. The Republican gerrymandering scheme is illegal, according to the highest court in the state. And the highest court in the land did not see fit to second-guess the judgment of the highest court in the state.
But rather than redraw the maps, as the GOP-controlled legislature has been ordered to do, Republicans are stonewalling. And now at least one of them is seeking to remove those justices simply for issuing a ruling he does not like because it means Republicans will have a harder time maintaining control of all the seats they current hold.
This is the kind of attack on the judiciary that no one, regardless of party, should support. Sadly, the leader of the Republican Party has openly and repeatedly attacked judges who do not rule in his favor, setting a dangerous example for the rest of his party.
Pennsylvania Republicans should denounce their colleague and refuse to follow him down this dark path.