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Let's say, hypothetically, that a Supreme Court Justice went clinically insane. Is there even a way to remove them against their will?
June 26, 2012
Scoble, Alex Scoble
Mary B: #TeamMonique
3 other people
what if said justice started out insane? -
May need a doctor's note. Are you busy this afternoon? -
A Supreme Court justice was impeached but not removed from office in 1805:
I'm assuming you mean legally insane? I don't think there is a consensus meaning for "clinically insane." -
Yeah, but I assume impeachment requires an accusation of some crime, which being clinically incapacitated wouldn't be. I'm sure that the definition of competence depends on jurisdiction, but technically speaking, I tend to see "clincially insane" as medical slang for being incapacitated (i.e, unable to make decisions) due to mental illness. -
See, I read "unable to make decisions" as "unable to make decisions deemed appropriate," and then I wonder -- in whose opinion? But then, I'm bitter from past personal experience. When you are deemed "crazy," and your freedom is taken away, whether you get it back depends so much on whether you can ingratiate yourself to someone who probably doesn't see you as a human being. But that's not really salient to your hypothetical, so don't mind me... :P -
I share skepticism about the ability of any human to rationally-objectively-neutrally assess the mental state of another human. In the case of a Supreme Court justice, it would most likely come down to incapacity... can't write an opinion for example. -
Tinfoil, the law doesn't share your skepticism. In every state I'm familiar with, any MD (and I believe other people without them, like social workers) can commit anyone against their will with a stroke of a pen. Happened to me three times. I met some interesting people in there, but no supreme court justices. -
Most unfortunate reality we live in, in some respects. I'm about as skeptical of the law as I am of people who claim to know your mind ;) -
Well, some things are reproducible. And sometimes you have to err on the side of caution.
Can you impeach a justice for incapacity? I thought impeachment was only available for transgressions of the law. -
Also, there are limits to whom can judge incapacity depending on jurisdiction. Only first responders and ER docs can 5150 someone. I don't have that ability. There is still due process. -
Are you sure about that? True, it's not the same as an indictment or a lawsuit, but there's still due process. Has anyone ever been impeached without being accused of committing a crime? -
AFAICT, the only SCOTUS justice to have been impeached was acquitted of all charges precisely because Senate thought that poor quality judgments were insufficient grounds for removing someone. -
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