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AOC Files to Impeach Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito

The justices’ transgressions represent “one of the clearest cases” for impeachment, said Ocasio-Cortez.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on February 6, 2024, in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) filed articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, in the boldest move yet to resolve the Court’s “unchecked corruption crisis” as it radically reshapes the U.S. government in the image of the conservative justices’ right-wing allies.

Ocasio-Cortez said that the two justices’ transgressions represent “one of the clearest cases for which the tool of impeachment was designed” and must be reined in for the sake of U.S. democracy.

“Justice Thomas and Alito’s repeated failure over decades to disclose that they received millions of dollars in gifts from individuals with business before the court is explicitly against the law. And their refusal to recuse from the specific matters and cases before the court in which their benefactors and spouses are implicated represents nothing less than a constitutional crisis,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.

“These failures alone would amount to a deep transgression worthy of standard removal in any lower court, and would disqualify any nominee to the highest court from confirmation in the first place,” she continued. “Congress has a legal, moral, and democratic obligation to impeach.”

The lawmaker filed three articles against Thomas and two against Alito, levying charges against both of refusing to recuse from cases that represented conflicts of interest for the justices as well as failing to disclose gifts they have received from special interest donors over their decades on the bench.

Ocsaio-Cortez’s impeachment articles are cosponsored by eight House members, including Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Jamaal Bowman (D-New York). They are also endorsed by several court watchdog and progressive groups.

Recent reports have revealed that Thomas and Alito have received millions of dollars’ worth of gifts while on the bench that they either failed to disclose or, many argue, should never have accepted to begin with in accordance with ethics standards. The extent of the justices’ largesse from conservative donors grows each time it’s scrutinized, especially in the case of Thomas, who has received more gifts than every other justice combined in his time on the bench.

In combination with the Supreme Court’s string of far right rulings in recent years — and ties that justices have maintained to groups supporting arguments in the Court — the revelations have made clear a deep level of corruption at the nation’s top court at a time when it seeks to concentrate more and more power in itself.

The Republican-dominated House is unlikely to vote to impeach the justices. However, the filing is a show of the urgency of the legitimacy crisis that the Supreme Court is facing as the justices apparently seek to legislate from the bench.

Democrats in the Senate are also seeking accountability for Thomas. On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Federal Courts Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) sent a letter urging the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into Thomas and his benefactors for potential ethics breaches, false statements and tax fraud.

The lawmakers laid out a mountain of evidence of Thomas’s misdoings, saying that the fact that Thomas has received so many gifts over such a long period of time — and the fact that lawmakers and reporters are seemingly constantly uncovering new undisclosed gifts — could warrant the appointment of a special counsel to conduct the probe.

“The evidence assembled thus far plainly suggests that Justice Thomas has committed numerous willful violations of federal ethics and false-statement laws and raises significant questions about whether he and his wealthy benefactors have complied with their federal tax obligations,” the lawmakers wrote. “Presented with opportunities to resolve questions about his conduct, Justice Thomas has maintained a suspicious silence.”

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