AOC calls out Justice Clarence Thomas’ hypocritical statement, says impeachment is in order following ties to GOP mega donor
During CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, April 9, the New York lawmaker criticized the SCOTUS member over ties to a Texas Republican billionaire.
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As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, April 9, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was in-studio at CNN, speaking to Dana Bash on State of the Union, to direct attacks at the longtime SCOTUS member’s recent statement where he defended himself from a report that revealed years of gift grooming from a GOP mega donor.
The report in question, published by ProPublica on April 6, revealed over 20 years of gifts and lavish vacations gifted by billionaire Texas Republican, Harlan Crow. According to the exposé, Thomas has accepted annual luxury trips from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show.
With an annual salary of around $285,000, Thomas has been on Crow’s super yacht and has flown on his Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He’s also joined the GOP mega donor on trips to the Bohemian Grove, and to Crow’s large ranch in East Texas. The judge typically spends about a week every Summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.
Thomas’ failure to report the flights for example, could be in violation of a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose gifts, two ethics law experts said, which includes all of Thomas’ excursions.
Thomas released a statement the following day on April 7, where he defended himself against the reports' revelations, calling Crow and his family “dear friends.”
“As friends do, we have joined [Mr Crow and his wife] on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them,” according to his statement.
“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,” he added.
The New York lawmaker called out what she considered to be contradicting comments from Justice Thomas that “contradicts many of the facts on the ground” and raises “even more serious questions,” she said during her CNN appearance on Easter Sunday.
Last week Ocasio-Cortez also called for Thomas’ impeachment in a tweet sent out on April 6, following the bombshell report’s release.
“This is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached,” AOC tweeted.
AOC also pointed out one specific detail from his statement that she says makes the situation all the more worse.
She said his statement “stated that the reason and the rationale for this exemption was personal hospitality from an old friend and he said himself, in his statement, ‘a friend of 25 years’ Justice Thomas has been on the Court for 30 years.”
Former President George H. W. Bush appointed Justice Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991.
“What he is admitting in his statement in an attempt to defend himself, is that he began this relationship with a billionaire and received these sorts of gifts after he was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States — I think that in and of itself indicates a very, very serious problem,” she added.
A statement from Crow said that he had extended his “hospitality” to Justice Thomas and his wife Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas “over the years” after meeting in 1996, but said all the trips and time together is “no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.”
The GOP mega donor has donated more than $10 million to Republican groups that perpetuate right-wing legal theories, including the Federalist Society, according to publicly disclosed political contributions reviewed by ProPublica.
AOC also readdressed her impeachment claims against Thomas in which she admitted that it would be “very difficult to see a path” to impeaching Justice Thomas in a GOP-led House, saying that the party “refuses to hold itself accountable.”
“For all of their talk of a crime wave and Democrats, Republicans talking about crime waves across the country, the crime wave is within the Republican Party,” she added.
But AOC is still adamant that the reported actions from Thomas were “a breaking of the law.”
“I believe what we are seeing right now is a breaking of the law,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I know that there are calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to initiate an investigation. I do not think that this court any longer has the legitimacy,” she said.
AOC is only one of several other GOP members who have come out against Thomas, including Rep. Ilhan Omar and Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, who said they would be investigating Thomas’ relationship with Crow.
“This behavior is simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant, let alone a Justice on the Supreme Court,” Durbin said in a statement.
The House Ethics Committee released a statement last month that said AOC might have likely violated ethics rules by accepting a gift in the form of the rented ‘Tax the Rich’ dress she wore to the 2021 Met Gala. As the investigation continues, they may subpoena the designer of the dress.