AOC launches effort to impeach Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced articles of impeachment against the conservative US supreme court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito on Wednesday over the justices’ “pattern of refusal to recuse from consequential matters before the court”.

The articles of impeachment are unlikely to gain traction in the US House, which is controlled by Republicans. The effort follows calls from two US senators, Sheldon Whitehouse and Ron Wyden, for the US attorney general to appoint a special counsel to investigate potential criminal violations of federal ethics and tax laws by Thomas.

“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, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement.

The articles were supported by seven other Democrats in the House.

Ocasio-Cortez continued: “The unchecked corruption crisis on the supreme court has now spiraled into a constitutional crisis threatening American democracy writ large.”

Reporting by the news outlet ProPublica revealed that Thomas failed to disclose several luxury vacation trips that were paid for by Harlan Crow, a conservative megadonor. Thomas has also been pressed to recuse himself from cases involving the January 6 US Capitol attack and Donald Trump because his wife, Ginni, is involved with groups that were connected to the insurrection.

The resolution filed against Thomas contains three articles of impeachment. The first focuses on his failure to disclose gifts from Crow. The second two involve his refusal to recuse himself from cases connected to his wife.

Alito also took a vacation with and flew on a private jet chartered by Paul Singer, a Republican billionaire. Additionally, Alito refused to recuse himself from cases involving the attack on the US Capitol after it was reported that his wife, Martha-Ann, flew an upside-down American flag associated with the insurrection at their Virginia home. Further, the Alitos flew a flag associated with Christian nationalism at a beach home in New Jersey.

Ocasio-Cortez filed two articles of impeachment against Alito. One focuses on his failure to disclose luxury travel and the other on his refusal to recuse himself from January 6 cases.

Alito and Thomas were both part of a majority opinion earlier this month saying that former presidents have immunity from prosecution for official acts, a major win for Trump. They both also were in the majority in a case narrowing the grounds under which January 6 participants can be criminally prosecuted.

Supreme court justices have wide discretion over whether to recuse themselves from a given case – something that sets them apart from other justices. Facing pressure after ProPublica’s reporting, the court’s nine justices formalized a code of conduct last November, a move that was seen as a step in the right direction, but still weak.

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