How does the judicial branch tie in with impeachment?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the Constitution, the judicial branch of the United States government is involved in impeachment in two ways. The first is that a member of the judicial branch, whether the Supreme Court, district courts, or federal appeals circuit court, can be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate. This has happened to a sitting federal justice just a few times—fifteen to be exact—with eight justices actually removed from office. The judiciary's other involvement in the impeachment process is that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over removal proceedings in the Senate if the president has been impeached. If the impeached person is a justice, the Senate is both judge and jury of the party. So the involvement of the judiciary in the impeachment process is quite limited, emphasizing the fact that impeachment is really a legislative act related to the fitness of a person for office, and not a judicial one. In fact, technically, since the impeachment process refers only to the role played by the House, the judiciary only participates in impeachment when one of its own members is subject to it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

If you are talking about the political and legal system of the United States, the judicial branch has only a very small role to play in the process of impeachment.  Impeachment is, instead, largely something that is done by Congress.  The only real role that the judicial branch has in the proceedings is that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States presides at the trial if the president is the one being impeached.  Otherwise, the judicial branch has no role.

Members of the judicial branch themselves can be impeached, however.  That is the other way in which impeachment is tied to the judicial branch.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial