The Corner

Response to Coffin

So, Shannen, you are “doubtful” that a campaign to impeach lawless judges would work and think it “distinctly unlikely to succeed,” but you think it wrong to deny the practicality of such a campaign. I don’t think these positions are going to get along well with each other. I think you are led into this cul-de-sac because you have too limited a set of alternatives. You make it sound as though the alternative to ending filibusters and impeaching judges is doing nothing to challenge judicial imperialism.

But ending the filibuster is only a means to the end of confirming judges (who are committed to the proper enterprise of judging). If you can get just as many or more such judges confirmed by breaking a Supreme Court filibuster–which has been the basic claim I have defended against you and others–then ending the filibuster through a formal rules change doesn’t do anything more (and may do less) than that course of action. Your bringing up the filibuster issue begs the question.

And what about the alternative of trying to get good judges confirmed, making the conservative case about judicial power, and removing issues from the courts’ jurisdiction? A majority of the House has gone on record for limiting jurisdiction. It won’t do the same for impeachment.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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