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Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) takes part in a panel discussion led by Aimee Allison, touching the changes of the face of power in the United States after a history-making number of diverse members were sworn into Congress. | Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images
It’s the first step to getting an impeachment inquiry underway.
Amid politicians’ calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment, Rep. Ayanna Pressley is actually trying to get the process started.
Pressley on Tuesday filed an impeachment resolution that presses the House Judiciary Committee to kick off an investigation that would mark the first step in an impeachment process.
The resolution urges the House panel to look into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, and grants the committee subpoena power and resources as part of its investigation. Specifically, the resolution would enable the committee, or a task force it establishes, to conduct a probe into Kavanaugh, subpoena witnesses, and receive funding for this effort. The full House would have to approve the resolution for it to go into effect.
“I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believe Deborah Ramirez. It is our responsibility to collectively affirm the dignity and humanity of survivors,” Pressley said in a statement to WBUR.
Her push follows a recent New York Times report that detailed a new sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh, who has declined to comment on it. Kavanaugh has also previously denied sexual misconduct allegations brought by Ford and Ramirez.
Though the Democratic-controlled House could begin an investigation of its own, as Pressley is urging, impeachment of President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court justice is pretty much a moot point, given the current make-up of the Senate.
As Vox’s Dylan Matthews writes, impeachment of a Supreme Court justice works pretty much the same way it would for a president:
Impeachment and removal of a federal judge, including a Supreme Court justice, requires meeting a high political bar. Just as with presidents, a majority of the House must approve an indictment to impeach, and a two-thirds supermajority of the US Senate must convict for the judge or justice to lose their office.
Although the chances of impeachment taking place remain very slim, Pressley’s resolution helps send a message about where Democrats stand on Kavanaugh. While Republicans have sought to dismiss the recent allegation that’s been levied against him and undercut the New York Times report, several Democrats have urged further review of the sitting justice.
Some top Democrats have pushed for Kavanaugh’s impeachment
Several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro, are among those who have pressed for Kavanaugh’s impeachment in the wake of the Times report.
“I said it last year and I’ll say it again: the process that resulted in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a sham,” Harris said in a recent tweet.
While the viability of idea has been dismissed by other members of Democratic leadership including Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (“Get real,” he recently told Politico), advocacy groups including Demand Justice and Planned Parenthood are among those who have urged further investigation.
Harris on Tuesday sent House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler a letter on this very subject, suggesting that he should convene a task force to investigate Kavanaugh further.
Pressley’s latest action, at the very least, keeps the door open on this possibility.
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