AOC: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett committed an impeachable offense

AOC: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett committed an impeachable offense

Oh, knock it off. They never promised not to overrule Roe. To impeach a judge for perjury, you’d have to show that they lied under oath. They didn’t!


They just … misled people a little.

I’ll give AOC this. As a desperate norm-busting burn-it-all-down attempt to galvanize Democratic voters for the midterms, her idea isn’t half bad.

Dems need a way to keep pro-choice anger over the end of Roe boiling until November. People will cool off, especially when they’re reminded each time they fill up their tanks that there are higher priorities on the ballot. Impeaching the three Trump appointees for having “lied” at their confirmation hearings about respecting precedent would give Pelosi and Schumer an excuse for weeks of messaging, repackaging Dobbs as an act of fraud on the American people. It would reframe the ruling, and the Court, as not merely misguided but corrupt, illegitimate.

And the last thing this country needs is another institution delegitimized. But lefties are full speed ahead on the effort:


If impeachment hearings managed to convince some undecideds that Trump’s appointees deceived them, it might give them second thoughts about voting Republican this fall. Centrists are willing to support a party despite not agreeing with all of its policy preferences. But no one likes being “lied” to.

Besides, the incoming House Republican majority is destined to find some frivolous pretext to impeach Joe Biden as payback for Trump. Dems may figure that they might as well do a frivolous impeachment of their own on the way out the door.

They’re almost certainly not going to — but we might see hearings in the House and/or Senate on what Gorsuch et al. said about stare decisis during the confirmation process to try to embarrass them and prolong the political pain for Republicans in the wake of Dobbs. If nothing else, the hearings might shame Senate moderates like Susan Collins and Joe Manchin into backing Republican judicial nominees less often in the future:

Whatever happens with hearings, it’s a cinch that Pelosi and Schumer will prolong the pain by soon beginning to move bills on abortion and child care that’ll force Republicans to take uncomfortable votes on popular policies favored by Democrats. One example:


Josh Barro suggests a few more:

After the draft decision leaked, Democrats brought a wish-list bill to the floor of both chambers that even pro-choice Republicans — even Sen. Susan Collins — were able to comfortably vote against on the grounds that it was too extreme, more expansive than Casey. Democrats need to break the agenda into pieces. As soon as possible, force Republicans to vote on matters like:

a federal right to abortion in the first trimester,

a federal right to abortion in cases of rape and incest,

a federal prohibition on criminal penalties for women who seek or obtain abortions, and

a federal prohibition on criminal penalties for non-providers who assist women in seeking or obtaining abortions.

It’s a no-brainer. And if Senate Republicans filibuster each of those bills on grounds that abortion policy should be set at the state level, that’s useful to Democrats too. By getting those Republicans to stake out a federalist position now, they’ll make it more awkward politically for the GOP when, not if, they try to pass national abortion restrictions the next time they control Congress and the White House. “Republicans are willing to pay a political price to ban abortion,” Barro writes. “It’s up to Democrats to make them pay it.”


There’s one more benefit Democrats will get by pushing bills like the one suggested by Mastromonaco, namely, exploiting divisions on the right about the proper role of the federal government in building a family-friendly “culture of life” post-Roe. Kristi Noem told ABC this morning that her state is keen to support pregnant women who’ll now have to carry to term because abortion is banned, but she was hazy on the specifics:

“Working with nonprofits” is to abortion what “more money for mental health” is to mass shootings. They’re both good ideas but both woefully insufficient to address the underlying problem. And too often they’re offered less as meaningful proposals than as ways to change the subject from calls for more aggressive government intervention.

I see the right dividing into three camps in the coming debate over whether state governments should balance abortion bans by providing more financial help to pregnant women. One camp will support doing so by backing bills to expand the child tax credit and guarantee paid family leave, etc. A second camp of earnest fiscal hawks will insist that a country as deeply in debt as ours can’t afford a raft of new entitlements, particularly when interest rates are rising and borrowing is becoming more expensive. And a third camp won’t want to do anything not because they’re worried about debt servicing but because their interest in politics is chiefly to own the libs. The libs just got owned in the biggest way possible when SCOTUS flushed their favorite precedent down the toilet. Forcing them to figure out a way to pay for the children they conceive from having casual sex now that they can’t (easily) abort is just ownage on top of ownage.


Some members of the third camp will end up disguising themselves as members of the second. A lot of Republicans are about to rediscover their fondness for small government, I suspect.

David French is a member of the first camp. He’s worried that the third camp may turn out to be a big one. He should be.

In deep-red America, a wave of performative and punitive legislation is sweeping the land. In the abortion context, bounty-hunting laws in Texas, Idaho, and Oklahoma turn citizens against each other, incentivizing lawsuits even by people who haven’t been harmed by abortion. The pro-life movement, once solidly against prosecuting women who obtain abortions, is now split by an “abolitionist” wing that would not only impose criminal penalties on mothers, it even calls into questions legal protections for the life of the mother when a pregnancy is physically perilous.

The culture of political engagement centers around animosity. Church and family life is being transformed, congregation by congregation, household by household, by argument and division. The Dobbs ruling has landed in the midst of a sick culture, and the pro-life right is helping make it sick…

[T]he Republican branch of the American church is adopting the political culture of the secular right. With a few notable exceptions, it not only didn’t resist the hatred and fury of the MAGA movement, it was the MAGA movement. And this is the culture that’s going to lead the effort to heal our nation, love the marginalized, and ask young women to face an uncertain future and endure a physical ordeal for the sake of sacrificial love?


For some, getting rid of Roe isn’t just a matter of ending the killing of children in the womb. It’s a matter of forcing liberals to undo the sexual revolution by raising the cost of sex. One point I’ve seen made a bunch by pro-lifers on social media this weekend is “If you’re worried about having to carry a child to term, make sure you only sleep with someone to whom you’re committed.” Asking people who believe that to support a raft of new entitlements for unwed single mothers is apt to get you funny looks, I would think. “We just struck the heaviest blow against hook-up culture in 50 years and now you want to … re-incentivize it with welfare?”

I have no sense how large the three camps will be relative to each other. But I wouldn’t bet heavily on “help the libs” to outnumber “own the libs.”

It’ll be fascinating to watch the debate play out in Congress, though. The Senate GOP conference has a small caucus of nationalists that looks set to get bigger with the arrival of J.D. Vance and maybe Blake Masters. Nationalists like Josh Hawley are fully prepared to spend money to make having kids more affordable and to win the culture war with the left in the process. Traditional small-government conservatives aren’t. Fun times ahead.

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John Sexton 7:20 PM on November 30, 2023