While throngs of protesters on the steps of the Capitol Building continued to demonstrate to the bitter end and shouts of "Shame on You!" from the gallery inside the Senate chamber as the vote proceeded, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Brett Kavanaugh as the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon.
But in the immediate wake of his 50-48 approval—among the closest in U.S. history and along nearly strict partisan lines—his opponents immediately responded not with grumblings of defeat, but with promises to oust from office those who voted "yes" while also vowing to pursue the very serious allegations levied against Kavanaugh and raising the real possibility of impeachment proceedings for his lying to lawmakers during his confirmation process.
"Brett Kavanaugh may have just been confirmed to the Supreme Court, but the grassroots movement that came together to oppose him will only continue to grow," declared Heidi Hess, co-director of the progressive group CREDO Action, immediately after the vote. "Eventually, when the dust settles and the right-wing fever that has overtaken Congress breaks, Kavanaugh will be impeached for lying under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee, or for other criminal acts."
"A majority of Americans opposed Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court and we believe a majority will ultimately support his impeachment as well." – CREDO Action Co-Director Heidi Hesshttps://t.co/pFg00mKMpA
— CREDO Mobile (@CREDOMobile) October 6, 2018
"No one is above the law, not even a Supreme Court Justice," said John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech For People, a group that has already launched a website, ImpeachBrett.org, which includes a petition calling for an immediate probe by the House of Represenatives.
Brett Kavanaugh MUST be impeached and removed from the bench. We are calling on @HouseJudiciary to launch immediately an impeachment investigation. Learn more here: https://t.co/mIWPpp3pRl #ImpeachBrett #StopKavanaugh pic.twitter.com/z610eBhGfg
— FreeSpeechForPeople (@FSFP) October 6, 2018
"Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has presented powerful and credible testimony that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old," Bonifaz stated. "And, there are serious allegations from two other women that he committed other acts of sexual violence. All of this warrants an immediate impeachment investigation.”
The progressive advocacy group Roots Action agreed, calling impeachment the only constitutional remedy for the devastating confirmation that has outraged millions nationwide. "The House of Representatives has impeached 15 judges, including one on the Supreme Court," the group declared in a email to supporters. "Now, we must demand that the House provide what hasn't yet happened — a full investigation of Kavanaugh's record, which includes perjury on numerous topics."
Here's what's on our mind. Republicans in the Senate just voted to validate every homophobic, xenophobic, close-minded, privileged, idiotic, sexist, and racist, comment that their president spews.#Vote #GOTV #NovemberIsComing#ImpeachKavanaugh
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) October 6, 2018
The confirmation of Kavanaugh, said Anna Galland, executive director of the MoveOn Civic Fund, "underlines the central importance of winning elections" and her group is vowing to help make sure that Republicans pay the price in the upcoming mid-terms and beyond.
"At the end of the day," Galland stated, "most Americans reject Trump and Republicans’ right-wing extremism and want a country where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and constitutional rights are maintained. If we organize, mobilize, and vote, we will win. We must all commit to action in coming weeks to take back control of our government from right-wing extremists, and to lay the groundwork from which we can build a better future."
BREAKING: These are the senators who just voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. They are on the wrong side of history. We will never forget this vote. pic.twitter.com/JEcf93NlGq
— NWLC (@nwlc) October 6, 2018
While the immediate call by many was to make sure every single Senator who voted in favor of Kavanaugh be held accountable at the ballot box, the call for his impeachment goes towards the question of the judicial system's overall integrity and how—if it's shown that he lied to or misled the Senate in any manner—he could ever be trusted to serve on the nation's highest court.
How could the impeachment proceed? According to Roots Action:
Many experts are saying that Republicans will likely lose control of the House in early January — setting the stage for House hearings to properly expose the facts, propel impeachment and force the Senate to convene a trial that could remove Kavanaugh from office.
An uphill climb? Sure. But imperative. And that’s all the more reason to launch a strong campaign for impeaching Kavanaugh.
As Common Dreams reported earlier on Saturday, some political strategists are saying now is the opportunity for Democrats to conduct for themselves the investigation that the White House and the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary refused to conduct. Such an investigation could include public hearing in which witnesses could testify publicly and the pertinent facts excluded from the FBI's probe last week could also be presented to the public in a methodical and transparent fashion.
Writing for LifeHacker last week, Beth Skwarecki, explained:
Impeachment isn't just for presidents. The Constitution allows other officials to be impeached, including Supreme Court justices. No justice of that court has been successfully removed through impeachment—yet.
The process has the same two steps as for presidents. The House of Representatives can vote, with a simple majority, to impeach a justice or other federal official. Then the Senate holds proceedings similar to a trial, then votes on whether to convict. If two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict, the justice is removed from office.
In addition to being impeachable over "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," justices "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”" According to the Brennan Center, 15 federal judges, including justices, have been impeached—some successfully, some not. The most common grounds for impeachment were “"false statements, favoritism toward litigants or special appointees, intoxication on the bench, and abuse of the contempt power."
For his part, Rep. Jerrold Nalder (D-NY) has said that if the Democrats win the majority of the House in the November mid-terms nothing will stop him from opening a probe into Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct and perjury allegations.
"It is not something we are eager to do," Mr. Nadler told the New York Times on Friday. "But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions."