AOC to Clarence Thomas: Resign or face impeachment

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In this June 16, 2021, file photo U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(The Hill) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Tuesday called on Justice Clarence Thomas to resign or face impeachment for what she depicted as a pattern of ethical breaches.

“Clarence Thomas should resign,” she wrote on Twitter. “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.6 commission from key information must be investigated and could serve as grounds for impeachment.” 

Ocasio-Cortez is just the latest in a series of Democratic lawmakers and legal experts to intensify ethical scrutiny of Clarence Thomas in the wake of explosive reports last week that exposed his wife’s aggressive effort to help overturn former President Donald Trump’s electoral defeat. 

Those revelations raised fresh questions about the justice’s refusal to step aside from related cases before the Supreme Court, including at least 10 rulings concerning the 2020 presidential election, without any indication of him recusing.

The ruling that has drawn the sharpest criticism came in January when Thomas was the only justice who dissented in an 8-1 ruling that cleared the way for House investigators probing the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection to obtain Trump-era White House records.

His vote attracted renewed attention last week.

It was reported that, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, Virginia Thomas exchanged dozens of text messages with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that appeared to show her strategizing over how to bypass the will of American voters to install Trump for a second White House term, despite his loss to President Joe Biden, an outcome she described as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”

The revelations have prompted growing calls for Thomas to recuse himself from future cases involving disputes over the 2020 election and Jan. 6 insurrection. Others, such as Ocasio-Cortez, have gone further in calling for Thomas to resign or be forced off the bench through impeachment.

Supreme Court justices — unlike judges on lower federal courts — are not bound by a code of conduct and are permitted to decide for themselves whether recusal is appropriate.

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