Congressional Oversight of Judges and Justices
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This report addresses Congress oversight authority over individual federal judges or Supreme Court Justices. Congressional oversight authority, although broad, is limited to subjects related to the exercise of legitimate congressional power. While Congress has the power to regulate the structure, administration and jurisdiction of the courts, its power over the judicial acts of individual judges or Justices is more restricted. For instance, Congress has limited authority to remove or discipline a judge for decisions made on the bench. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution provides that judges have good behavior tenure, which effectively has come to mean lifetime tenure for Article III judges subject to removal only through conviction on impeachment. However, impeachment of a judge or Justice requires a finding that such judge or Justice has engaged in a High Crime or Misdemeanor. Thus, an investigation into decisions or other actions by a particular judge pursuant to an impeachment would appear to require some connection between an alleged High Crime or Misdemeanor and a particular case or cases.
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