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AOC Declares War on Clarence Thomas

Image of AOC from MSNBC appearance. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.
Image of AOC from MSNBC appearance. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

Last week, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC did what she does best: she tweeted.

In a series of tweets, AOC went after the judiciary in a flurry of criticism. The tweets were most immediately response to the Texas ruling that limited the availability of mifepristone, an abortion pill. But the mifepristone ruling was just a pretext to go discuss what seems to be becoming AOC’s newest pet project: impeaching Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for alleged ethics violations.

“If we do not impeach when lifetime appointees repeatedly break the law in stunning shows of corruption, if we do not reign in [the] systemic abuse of judicial overreach, and if all we rely on is for those abusing power to police themselves, we have no one else to blame,” AOC tweeted. “It must stop.” 

Thomas and the Billionaire

ProPublica had a revelatory scoop last week, with their article detailing the two-decade relationship between Justice Thomas and GOP megadonor Harlan Crow. “For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year,” from Crow. For example, Thomas “has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 500 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks,” ProPublica reported. 

The Thomas-Crow relationship (which Thomas and Crow have both defended as pure friendship) has raised serious questions about judicial ethics, and more specifically, Thomas’s impartiality. My feeling is that Thomas is going to rule ultra-conservatively whether or not he’s fluffed with a trip to the Adirondacks every summer; Thomas’s rulings don’t come from a place of returning political favors, but from a place of personal conviction. Still, the ethical questions raised are legitimate — questions which AOC is asking louder than anyone. 

AOC’s Call for Impeachment

On Thursday, AOC reiterated her full support for removing Thomas from the Supreme Court, during an episode of the “Lever Time” podcast, calling the Thomas situation an “emergency” and a “crisis.”  AOC even offered to introduce the articles of impeachment herself, if necessary.

“Congress is out of session for the next week. 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,” AOC said. “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.”

I understand the ethical concerns surrounding Thomas’s behavior. I understand the importance of an impartial judiciary. I also have concerns about weaponizing the legislature for partisan investigative or impeachment purposes. I’m referring to the way Democrats went after Trump. I’m referring to the way Republicans are currently going after Hunter Biden. Going after Thomas sounds like the opening of a new front in an ongoing conflict.

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The judiciary is already a contested space — appointments have become partisan and absurd. But in the past, justices have been safe, so to speak, once they assumed the bench. Action against Thomas now could put appointed judges back in play.

I’m not saying Thomas’s actions shouldn’t be examined and criticized. But I do have concerns about partisan pettiness

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.