Here’s how a Supreme Court justice impeachment works

(The Hill) -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The New York lawmaker cited their refusal to recuse themselves from matters they are connected to and their “failure to disclose” millions of dollars in gifts, arguing there is a “corruption crisis” at the Supreme Court.

The impeachment resolution includes one article against each justice related to their failure to disclose financial income, gifts, reimbursements and other information.

Impeaching a Supreme Court justice, like impeaching the president, requires meeting a very high bar.

Here's how it would work:

How do you impeach a Supreme Court justice?

Congress is the only body that has the authority to remove an Article III judge, which is a Supreme Court justice.

To do so, a member of the House must bring up articles of impeachment, just as Ocasio-Cortez did.

Ocasio-Cortez files impeachment articles against Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Alito

A simple majority of the House can approve articles of impeachment.

This is likely to be a difficult hurdle for the impeachment articles, given the GOP majority in the House.

A successful impeachment vote would trigger a trial

If the House did vote to impeach Thomas or Alito, it would set up a trial in the Senate.

The Senate, then under Democratic majorities, twice held impeachment trials for former President Trump.

Just as in those trials, a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict. That is a very difficult bar, even if the impeachment measure were to reach the Senate.

A two-thirds vote would require 67 out of the 100 senators to vote in favor of impeachment.

Has a Supreme Court justice ever been impeached?

Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached.

In 1805, Associate Justice Samuel Chase was impeached by the House.

The House accused Chase of refusing to dismiss biased jurors and of excluding and limiting defense witnesses in political cases.

Nearly a year later, the Senate voted to acquit Chase on all counts. He remained on the Supreme Court until his death in 1811.

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