Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) demanded on Tuesday that Justice Clarence Thomas resign from the Supreme Court, making baseless accusations against the longest-serving Supreme Court justice.
What did AOC say?
Writing on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez accused Thomas of unethical behavior that she said requires him to resign — or face impeachment.
"Clarence Thomas should resign," Ocasio-Cortez said. "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."
According to Ocasio-Cortez, Congress will send a "loud, dangerous signal" to the Supreme Court "that [Thomas'] acts are fair game" if lawmakers fail to hold Thomas "accountable."
"This is a tipping point. Inaction is a decision to erode and further delegitimize SCOTUS," Ocasio-Cortez claimed.
However, Ocasio-Cortez failed to present a single shred of evidence that Thomas has committed any wrongdoing or engaged in any behavior worthy of impeachment.
The demand follows comments the New York Democrat made on Monday when she told Axios, "I think what we know, if investigated further, could absolutely be grounds for potential impeachment. I absolutely do believe that."
But what is the problem?
There are numerous problems with Ocasio-Cortez's assertions.
First, Ocasio-Cortez claims Thomas has failed "to disclose income from right-wing organizations." But there is no substantive evidence showing that Thomas makes money from "right-wing organizations," let alone evidence that he has failed to disclose such income.
Second, the Supreme Court has not heard a case involving his wife, thus Ocasio-Cortez's assertion that Thomas has breached judicial ethics by participating in a court case from which he should have been recused is moot. If the Supreme Court had heard a case involving Thomas' wife, he would have undoubtedly recused himself from the proceedings.
Finally, it is true that Thomas voted to block Trump-era White House documents from being turned over to the House committee investigating Jan. 6. Thomas' critics point to his vote — and in fact, he was the lone dissenting vote — as evidence that he is compromised.
However, his wife's text messages to Mark Meadows, in which she urged the White House to continue fighting the certification of the 2020 presidential election, were handed over to the committee before Thomas made that vote. This is significant because it undercuts the claim that Thomas' vote and the text messages are connected.
Meanwhile, Justice Thomas and his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, have maintained for decades that their careers — his as a Supreme Court justice, hers as a political activist — are separate.
"Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America," Ginni Thomas told the Washington Free Beacon earlier this month. "But we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too. Clarence doesn't discuss his work with me, and I don't involve him in my work."
Will Thomas be impeached?
Considering the glaring lack of evidence of wrongdoing, Thomas likely will neither resign nor be impeached.
Only one Supreme Court justice — Samuel Chase — has been impeached in U.S. history, but that happened in 1805. Still, Chase was acquitted by the Senate.
Meanwhile, constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley said the calls for Thomas' impeachment are dangerous.
"The calls for the impeachment of Justice Thomas are ludicrous but there is nothing laughable about the impeachment addiction fueling this frenzy," Turley wrote in an essay. "People of good faith can disagree on the need of Thomas to recuse himself from certain Commission-related cases.
"However, impeaching Thomas based on these grounds would expose all justices to the threat of politically motivated impeachments as majorities shift in Congress," he explained. "That is precisely what the Framers sought to avoid under our Constitution."