AOC Vows to File Articles of Impeachment After Supreme Court Trump Ruling

Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday said she will file unspecified articles of impeachment after the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority ruled that former President Donald Trump is entitled to “absolute immunity” for “official acts” performed while he was in office, a decision that prompted dissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayor to declare her “fear for our democracy.”

Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on social media that “the Supreme Court has become consumed by a corruption crisis beyond its control.”

“Today’s ruling represents an assault on American democracy. It is up to Congress to defend our nation from this authoritarian capture,” she added. “I intend on filing articles of impeachment upon our return.”

The House of Representatives reconvenes next Monday.

The justices ruled 6-3 along ideological lines Monday in Trump v. United States that “the nature of presidential power entitles a former president to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority” and that “he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts.”

Dissenting, Sotomayor asserted: “Never in the history of our republic has a president had reason to believe that he would be immune from criminal prosecution if he used the trappings of his office to violate the criminal law. Moving forward, however, all former presidents will be cloaked in such immunity.”

Far-right Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dismissed calls to recuse themselves from the case over alleged conflicts of interest. In addition to them and Chief Justice John Roberts, the court’s three Trump appointees sided with the ex-president in the case.

The decision means it is highly unlikely that Trump will face a trial for his alleged role in fomenting the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection before November’s election, in which he is the presumptive Republican nominee. In addition to four felony charges in that case, Trump faces one trial in Fulton County, Georgia for his alleged effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and another in Florida over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

In May, Trump was convicted on 34 felony charges related to the falsification of business records regarding hush money payments to cover up sex scandals during the 2016 presidential election. The former president was also impeached twice while in office, although the Senate did not convict him either time.

At least one other House lawmaker—Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.)—said he supports Ocasio-Cortez’s move. Other progressive lawmakers expressed alarm over Monday’s ruling.

“Presidents are not kings. Trump should absolutely be held criminally liable for inciting a violent mob to overturn the 2020 election,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). “This ruling sets an incredibly dangerous precedent. This extremist court has put our democracy on life support.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that “the far-right extremist majority has politicized our highest court, undermined its legitimacy, and has created a dangerous ‘absolute’ immunity for a president’s official acts.”

“This is a rogue, untethered, and damaging Supreme Court. MAGA extremist justices also are ignoring the festering corruption in their ranks,” he added. “We need justices committed to justice. Stolen seats filled with partisan hacks lead to alarming results. Today’s ruling is devastating to our democracy.”

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) asked, If brazenly attempting to overturn a democratic election by claiming the powers of the presidency can be a so-called ‘official’ act of the president, then where does it end?”

“If a former president who has fomented an insurrection at our Capitol and who now promises to serve as a dictator on day one back in office can avoid accountability in a court of law, then as Justice Sotomayor stated, I too ‘fear for our democracy,'” he added.

Some progressive groups and campaigners also called for the impeachment of the six right-wing justices.

“The Supreme Court is a corrupt institution that’s more concerned with advancing their ideological agenda than upholding the Constitution,” Sunrise Movement said on social media. “Congress must move forward with impeachment.”

Erica Payne, founder and director of Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement that “the Supreme Court’s decision effectively legalizes the use of political violence by a president so long as it is an ‘official act.'”

“This relieves the presidency—and the sitting president—from the most basic level of accountability while putting our entire constitutional republic in mortal danger,” she continued. “Donald Trump incited an insurrection and encouraged his thugs to storm the Capitol. The idea that he should not be held accountable if these actions were ‘official’ is an egregiously partisan attempt to deny reality.”

“This decision is the culmination of a relentlessly executed, multidecade plan to destroy American democracy,” Payne contended. “It is the inevitable outcome of rank corruption facilitated by a malignant class of American oligarchs who, over decades, bought and paid for a complicit Supreme Court.”

“The frog in the pot is now at a rolling boil,” she added. “The president can encourage his thugs to murder members of Congress without fear of legal repercussions. If Democrats do not immediately take bold action, historians will mark today as the moment illiberal authoritarians cemented their rule over the United States of America.”

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