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Anti-Kavanaugh protesters outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Some Democrats are already rumbling about trying to remove Brett Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court, if he’s confirmed. That is not at all realistic.

The big picture: Supreme Court justices can be impeached. But if there aren’t 50 votes to keep Kavanaugh off the court now, it’s hard to imagine that there would be 67 votes to kick him off later, even with overwhelming Democratic victories across multiple election cycles.

How it works: Impeaching a judge works just like impeaching a president.

  • The House draws up articles of impeachment, which are essentially charges of misconduct. If a majority of the House votes to impeach, the process then moves on to the Senate for a trial.
  • It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to find the person guilty. If that happens, they're automatically removed from office.

By the numbers: Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached: Samuel Chase, in 1804. He was acquitted in the Senate.

  • A total of 15 judges, including Chase, have been impeached. Eight of them were found guilty.

The standard is vague. The Constitution says officials can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but doesn’t define that term. So, it largely means whatever the House and Senate say it means.

  • Historically, judges have been impeached for a variety of reasons — from showing up to work drunk, to joining the Confederacy, to accepting bribes.
  • But, according to a 2015 report from the Congressional Research Service, no one has ever been impeached “solely on the basis of conduct occurring before he began his tenure in the office held at the time of the impeachment investigation” — as would be the case if Kavanaugh were impeached over anything that has already happened, including his confirmation hearing.

The bottom line: Neither party has had a two-thirds majority in the Senate since 1967. Removing someone from office through the impeachment process takes substantial bipartisan support. And it’s hard to envision any Republicans agreeing to remove Kavanaugh.

If he’s confirmed now, his job will be safe.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.