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AOC Tries to Impeach Judges Thomas and Alito

AOC Tries to Impeach Judges Thomas and Alito

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Wednesday, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez filed articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas for their “pattern of refusing to recuse themselves from important cases before the Court.” Both justices have been embroiled in their own ethics scandals over the past year. “The out-of-control corruption crisis at the Supreme Court has now become a constitutional crisis that threatens American democracy more broadly,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.

The congresswoman explained that Thomas’ impeachment resolution focuses on his “failure to disclose financial income, gifts and restitutions, real estate interests, liabilities and transactions, among other information.” It also includes his “refusal to recuse himself from matters involving his spouse’s legal interest in matters before the court (and) refusal to recuse himself from matters involving his spouse’s financial interest in matters before the court.”

Thomas came under fire last year for his relationship with GOP donor Harlan Crowe, which resulted in a string of gifts from the Texas billionaire. ProPublica reported that Thomas took 38 vacations at the expense of wealthy friends, which he failed to disclose in financial statements required by judges.

Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, also posed a problem for the judge. Ginni is a longtime right-wing activist who lobbied Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to overturn Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the state.

As for Alito, Ocasio-Cortez’s statement explained that the justice’s impeachment decision was based on his “refusal to recuse himself from cases in which he had a personal bias or prejudice against any party in cases before the Court,” as well as his failure to file accurate financial disclosures.

Earlier this year, Alito found himself at the center of a scandal. The New York Times reported that in January 2021, he hung an upside-down American flag (a symbol used by the “Stop the Steal” movement) at his private residence. Times later reported that another flag, this time the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, also popular with the insurrectionists, had also been displayed at Alito’s home. In both cases, the judge said, it was his wife who displayed the flags at their home. That violated Supreme Court ethics rules that prohibit justices from engaging in political activity, much less political activity used by those who believe Biden stole the election from Trump. When the flag controversy arose, Alito refused to recuse himself from two Trump-related cases pending before the court.

Co-sponsors of the impeachment motion include Representatives Barbara Lee, Rashida Tlaib, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Delia Ramirez, Maxwell Frost, Ilhan Omar and Jamaal Bowman.