What happens to judges that are discredited with respect their legal actions? Are there adverse professional consequences?

The subject at hand is a US District Judge.

I'm not asking about a judge who is caught in some extracurricular activity, e.g. one having an affair outside of marriage but about judges who clearly abandoned logic and precedent, especially in favor of politics.

1 Answer 1


The judge's decision is reversed or vacated, and then she continues being a judge as though nothing happened.

There are essentially no consequences available for federal judges, with the exception of impeachment.

  • If the judge is a lawyer they might be disbarred, but that doesn't affect their position as a judge. If the position is not a lifetime appointment I believe they can be fired, if the political will exists to do so. Certainly their reputation affects what cases people are willing to bring before them, for good or ill, and their bad decisions can be overturned on appeal. If it's a bad supreme court justice, I think all you can do is suggest that they consider retiring.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 15:33
  • 2
    in the US, supreme court justices may theoretically be impeached
    – user121330
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 17:49
  • @keshlam: The judge we're talking about is a US federal judge. By design, it is virtually impossible to fire or otherwise discipline US federal judges, except by impeachment, which is considered an extraordinary remedy for truly outrageous and illegal conduct. At worst, it may prevent her from being appointed to a Circuit court (which is a political consequence, not a legal consequence, as those appointment decisions are made by the President).
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 21:14
  • 1
    Point granted, federal judgeship is almost as secure a fortress as a supreme court seat.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 21:51
  • Equally secure, I think it's fair to say.
    – bdb484
    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 5:08

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