Fact check: False claim that US District Judge Aileen Cannon was fired
The claim: District Judge Aileen Cannon was fired
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has faced public scrutiny for issuing rulings favoring former President Donald Trump in his ongoing legal battle over the federal government search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in August.
A viral Facebook post claims Cannon was recently fired from her position.
"corrupt judge cannon cries out for mercy as she gets fired after account getting (sic)," reads the caption of a Sept. 30 video, which has been viewed more than 60,000 times.
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But the claim is baseless.
The only way to remove a federal judge from office is through a congressional impeachment process, experts said. There's no evidence this process has taken place for Cannon.
The four-minute video included in the post does not provide evidence to support the caption's claim. Rather, it discusses the legal challenges faced by Judge Raymond Dearie, who Cannon appointed as the special master to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Cannon remains in office
Cannon was not dismissed from office, Chris Edelson, an assistant government professor at American University, told USA TODAY in an email.
USA TODAY found no credible news reports about Cannon being removed. Her name is still listed on the Southern District of Florida's court website.
District judges receive a lifetime appointment and may only be removed from office through an impeachment process outlined in the Constitution, Edelson said. The House of Representatives can impeach a judge by a majority vote on the articles of impeachment, a written statement of charges against an official.
The Senate then holds a trial and can convict a judge through a two-thirds vote, upon which the judge would be removed from office, according to the Senate's website.
No such congressional action has taken place against Cannon.
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"We can be reasonably assured that Judge Cannon has not been impeached in the last day or so," Frank Bowman, a criminal law expert at the University of Missouri, told USA TODAY.
The impeachment and removal of federal judges is rare. Since 1803, the House of Representatives has only impeached 15 judges, of which the Senate has convicted eight, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
The Southern District of Florida's court did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
PolitiFact debunked similar claims that Cannon was arrested and that she had lost her law license.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Cannon was fired. The only way to remove a federal judge is through an impeachment process. There is no evidence this process has taken place with Cannon.
Our fact-check sources:
Frank Bowman, Oct. 6, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Chris Edelson, Oct. 6, Email exchange and phone interview with USA TODAY
Barry Burden, Oct. 6, Email exchange with USA TODAY
The White House, accessed Oct. 6, The Judicial Branch
USA TODAY, Sept. 29, Judge gives Trump more time to challenge Mar-a-Lago documents
USA TODAY, Sept. 15, Judge names Raymond Dearie special master to review Mar-a-Lago documents but keeps pause on DOJ investigation of Donald Trump
Brennan Center for Justice, May 6, Impeachment and Removal of Judges: An Explainer
USA TODAY, Aug. 14, The latest unprecedented Trump chapter brings mystery and political thorniness
New York Times, Sept. 5, ‘Deeply Problematic’: Experts Question Judge’s Intervention in Trump Inquiry
Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law, accessed Oct. 6, Articles of Impeachment
Senate, accessed Oct. 6, About Impeachment
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, accessed Oct. 6, Judge Aileen Cannon
PolitiFact, Oct. 6, No, Aileen Cannon, the judge in Trump documents case, wasn’t arrested
U.S.Courts, accessed Oct. 7, About Federal Judges
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that US District Judge Aileen Cannon was fired