One of the big stories coming out of the 2010 elections was the record number of attempts to impeach judges, almost all focused on decisions they rendered. A review of the list from the 2011/2012 sessions finds that all failed, although in one case (Oklahoma District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure) the judge in question resigned and plead guilty to two felony counts.
So far in 2013 the wave of impeachment efforts have failed to be reestablished. Only two such efforts even show hints of being started.
The first, a carryover from the 2011/2012 session, attempts to remove by bill of address 6 of the 7 justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for decisions they have rendered relative to the private right of action provisions of the state’s wage and hour laws. The effort (HB 1342 of 2013) was not even the idea of the legislator who introduced it; under the Massachusetts constitution anyone can require their legislator submit any bill to the House or Senate for consideration. The authorship portion of HB 1324 indicates it is in fact being submitted “by request” and “by petition” of a voter.
The second may occur in the next several weeks in Pennsylvania. State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was convicted in February of using state employees to assist in campaigns. The justice, already suspended from the Supreme Court, is set to be sentenced May 7 and there is no indication one way or the other if she intends to resign from office and she may yet be removed from office by the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline. Pennsylvania House leaders have indicated that they will begin the preliminary steps for an impeachment proceeding just in case the justice fails to resign or the Court of Judicial Discipline fails to remove her from office.