PORTLAND, Ore. - The Oregon Democratic Party
endorsed on Sunday a drive to impeach five U.S. Supreme Court justices for the decision that gave George W. Bush the
presidency last year.
The party's central committee voted overwhelmingly to begin
a campaign it hopes will take the issue to the U.S. House of
Representatives, which has the authority to impeach justices.
The resolution passed Sunday by the 66 Oregon party
activists called for the ``immediate investigation of the
behavior'' of the five justices who voted to stop hand recounts
of Florida ballots.
The decision gave Bush the majority of electoral votes and
the presidency. Then-Vice President Al Gore won the popular
The justices who voted to stop the hand recounts were Chief
Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin
Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas and Anthony
``This is the first organized effort to advocate impeachment
of five justices,'' said former Rep. Charles Porter, 82, who
first raised the issue with Lane County Democrats and then
convinced the state party to adopt the resolution.
Porter accused the five of ``egregiously bad behavior, high
crimes and misdemeanors.''
Neel Pender, executive director of Oregon's Democratic
Party, said party officials would ask its congressional
delegation to begin investigating the matter. The delegation
has four Democratic House members and one Democratic senator.
Neither the delegation or national Democratic Party
officials had any immediate comment.
There has been no response yet from the high court on the
Oregon move, but the justices have defended the December
ruling. Recently, Thomas told a conference in St. Louis that
any suggestion of partisanship in the decision was wrong.
``I think one of the ways our process is cheapened and
trivialized is when it's suggested we have a way to make
decisions that have more to do with politics,'' Thomas said.
Oregon has long been known as a maverick state in U.S.
politics. It was the home of some of the earliest official
opposition to the Vietnam War and Green Party candidate Ralph
Nader won 5 percent of the vote in the 2000 election.
Only one justice has been impeached. In 1805, Samuel Chase,
survived a Senate trial after he was impeached on charges of
discriminating against supporters of Thomas Jefferson.
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited