AOC pushes to impeach US Supreme Court’s Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito

Democrats for years have criticised the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, over rulings that have advanced causes popular on the right in US politics.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito attend a private ceremony for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
Democratic Party Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a news conference [File: Kevin Wurm/Reuters]

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced articles of impeachment against conservative US Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, accusing them of failing to disclose gifts and to recuse themselves from certain cases before the Supreme Court.

While the attempt to impeach members of the Supreme Court stands little chance of advancing in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the move by Ocasio-Cortez comes amid years of criticism by her Democratic Party of the court – which has a 6-3 conservative majority – over rulings that advanced causes popular on the right of US politics.

These include rolling back abortion rights, expanding gun ownership and a recent decision that favoured Donald Trump in ruling that former US presidents have broad immunity from prosecution for official acts in office.

“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,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement on Wednesday.

“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,” she said.

Thomas’s actions posed “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,” she added.

Thomas has come under intense criticism following reports that he failed to disclose accepting travel and lodging from a wealthy benefactor and that his wife was involved in efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss.

Thomas has said that he regarded the travel benefits as personal hospitality, which are not subject to disclosure requirements.

Alito similarly faced criticism after the revelation that flags associated with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election were flown outside his homes in Virginia and New Jersey. Alito said it was his wife, not him, who flew the flags.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito attend a private ceremony for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor [File: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies