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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduces articles of impeachment for Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas

Written by on July 10, 2024

(WASHINGTON) — New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

Ocasio-Cortez has long criticized multiple conservative members of the Supreme Court, but the rhetoric of impeachment was amped up in the wake of recent rulings, including the court’s decision on presidential immunity.

“The unchecked corruption crisis on the Supreme Court has now spiraled into a Constitutional crisis threatening American democracy writ large,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito’s pattern of refusal to recuse from consequential matters before the court in which they hold widely documented financial and personal entanglements constitutes a grave threat to American rule of law, the integrity of our democracy, and one of the clearest cases for which the tool of impeachment was designed.”

Ocasio-Cortez specifically criticized gifts Thomas received from his friend, billionaire Harlan Crow.

“Clarence Thomas, in his conduct as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors, by refusing to report the source, description, and value of gifts, and by failing to report of real estate property,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the articles, going on to list gifts he did not reportedly reveal.

Thomas acknowledged in his latest annual financial report, released in June, that he had “inadvertently omitted” reimbursement for food and lodging expenses for the July 2019 travel.

The articles against Thomas, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by George H.W. Bush in 1991, also cites Thomas’ “refusal to recuse from matters concerning his spouse’s legal interest in cases before the court” and “refusal to recuse from matters involving his spouse’s financial interest in cases before the court.”

As far as Alito, who was nominated by George W. Bush in 2005, Ocasio-Cortez cites his “refusal to recuse from cases in which he had a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party in cases before the court” and “failure to disclose financial income, gifts and reimbursements, property interests, liabilities, and transactions, among other information.”

Several other justices, including Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts have also been criticized for monetary or personal ties to businesses and groups with cases before the court.

Congress has the authority to remove a federal judge for “‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” through a vote of impeachment by the House of Representatives and a trial and conviction by the Senate, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Article III of the Constitution adds that judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”

A simple majority vote is required for the House to adopt the articles — 218 votes — for impeachment.

Right now, Republicans hold 219 seats and Democrats hold 213.

Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached, according to the Federal Judicial Center.

Associate Justice Samuel Chase was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1804, “on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials,” the center states. However, he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate in 1805 and remained on the bench.

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