New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pledged to file articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justice Clarenece Thomas, after reports that he accepted various luxury trips from a Texas billionaire without disclosing them publicly.
During an appearance on the Lever Time podcast on Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez referred to Thomas’ position on the court as an “emergency” and a “crisis,” and expressed her unwavering support for his removal. If no one else takes action, the New York lawmaker stated, she would be willing to introduce the articles of impeachment herself.
“Congress is out of session for the next week,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “And so that does give Democrats some time to strategize, and the way I feel about it is that, I do think articles need to be introduced.”
If we decide strategically that the actual author of those articles and who introduces them may not be me, that’s fine, I will support impeachment. But I just think that if no one’s going to introduce it, I would certainly be open to doing so and drafting them myself. I think this has gone far, far beyond any sort of acceptable standard in any democracy, let alone an American democracy.
According to a ProPublica investigation, Thomas’s close friendship with real estate developer Harlan Crow afforded him the opportunity to join the Texas billionaire on extravagant trips aboard his private jet and yacht, as well as benefit from complimentary stays on Crow’s numerous holiday homes, among other freebies. Thomas reportedly failed to diclose the vast majority of this hospitality.
In a statement on Thursday, Thomas described Harlan and his wife Kathy Crow as “among our dearest friends,” but pledged to follow the guidelines in the future:
As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them. Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.
I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.
Appointed to the court in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush, Thomas has a reputation as both an exceptionally talented jurist and a member of the court’s traditionalist wing. He was only the second African-American to serve on the court.
However, his confirmation hearings were presided over by none other than then Senator Joe Biden, who attempted to derail his nomination over concerns about his originalist positions and unsubstantiated claims of sexual harassment by left-wing law professor Anita Hill.
AOC, meanwhile, has repeatedly criticized Thomas’s presence on the court. In 2021, she joined a handful of House Democrats in calling for the resignation or impeachment of Thomas over his refusal to recuse himself from cases related to the Capitol riot that occurred on January 6, 2021.
“Clarence Thomas should resign,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. “If not, his failure to disclose income from right-wing organizations, recuse himself from matters involving his wife, and his vote to block the Jan. 6th commission from key information must be investigated and could serve as grounds for impeachment.”