by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The latest issue dividing Democratic moderates from the party’s progressive wing is whether to press for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
A fresh allegation of sexual assault unveiled by a pair of New York Times reporters has renewed calls for Kavanaugh’s impeachment from the vast majority of the party’s 2020 contenders. It would be an extraordinary step. Just one Supreme Court justice in history, Samuel Chase, has been impeached, and Chase, who served on the bench from 1796 to 1811, was ultimately acquitted by the Senate and never removed from the bench.
That’s perhaps why moderate Democrats are pumping the brakes on the effort. Two candidates who have also resisted the leftward lurch of the party on issues such as health care, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), are staying away from calls to impeach Kavanaugh. While most of the field used the latest allegation against Kavanaugh to call for impeachment, Biden and Klobuchar both said they needed more information.
First to say Kavanaugh “should be impeached” following the latest allegation was Julián Castro, who made the call on Twitter Saturday evening. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) joined in on impeachment the next morning. Both then touted their impeachment calls in fundraising appeals to supporters.
Most of the field quickly followed suit, but Biden, the candidate atop the polls, and Klobuchar notably stopped short.