The chief justice has not respected precedent as he said he would in those hearings. In fact, he has legislated from the bench as he did last week, something that he decried when discussing previous courts, like that of Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1950s and 1960s.The essence of this crime is that Roberts said that he would follow precedent, a process known as stare decisis. However, he has flouted it and has become one of the most activist justices in American History in striking down previously-established legal precedents. His actions in the aggregate now rise to the level of criminal behavior.
Stare decisis is a common-law doctrine under which courts adhere to precedent on questions of law in order to ensure certainty, consistency, and stability in the administration of justice. In last week's lamentable case entitled Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, Roberts and his right-wing allies created a new constitutional right: corporately-purchased freedom of speech. That is one of the most radical assertions in American jurisprudence, espousing a right that no jurist has stated as law in the 221 years of our jurisprudence.
Roberts' action should not have been a surprise. As legal analyst and attorney Jeffrey Tobin noted in a piece about him in last year's New Yorker entitled "No More Mr. Nice Guy," Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe said that Roberts is not even remotely close to a moderate. "The Chief Justice talks the talk of moderation while walking the walk of extreme conservatism."
Extreme conservatism is not an impeachable offense. Lying to Congress is.
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