Politics /

AOC Leads Charge for DOJ to Target Justice Clarence Thomas

Congresswoman has been pushing for Thomas's impeachment following reports he took vacations exempt from federal reporting requirements

Progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is leading a call for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

In a letter signed by four other Democrat lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez stated that Thomas has been “in defiance of his duty under federal law” by not reporting certain gifts he received from a number of wealthy individuals for nearly two decades.

The allegations were made following a series of stories from the progressive activist publication ProPublica, which claimed Thomas violated federal law.

In April, ProPublica reported that Thomas failed to report numerous trips as gifts on annual financial disclosure forms judges are required to file. Per federal law, judges are among the officials required to file the forms detailing finances, outside income, and even spousal income. Judges are also prohibited from accepting gifts from anyone with cases being heard by the court.

ProPublica revealed Thomas has taken multiple trips that were paid for by others, including GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow. However, federal law has exempted gifts from personal friends from reporting requirements.

In April — long after the Thomas’ trips — congress finally passed legislation requiring disclosure of the types of gifts received by Thomas, who has served on the Court since 1991.

Ocasio-Cortez wrote that “Thomas has receives numerous undisclosed valuable gifts from Harlan Crow over the course of at least fifteen years,” explaining to the DOJ why she believes an investigation is warranted.

She addresses the exemption clause of the previous federal reporting requirements, arguing that the “exemption does not extend to the officer’s receipt of complimentary transportation, such as the extensive private jet, helicopter, and yacht travel received by Justice Thomas.”

However, in a statement following the ProPublica report, Thomas explained, “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, “I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”

While having long been the target of left-wing anger, Thomas has been under renewed scrutiny and a push for his impeachment following his opinion in last year’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

Thomas, in a concurring opinion to the Court’s decision, argued that the Court should reexamine the legal doctrine of “substantive due process,” a legal theory that undergirds not only the framework of abortion, but also gay rights and access to contraception — three signature issues for modern Democrats.

His critics say his opinion casts doubt over prior rulings, putting the issues of gay marriage and contraception in jeopardy.

However, careful examination of his opinion shows that Thomas implied that while protections for same sex marriage and contraceptions should not rely on “substantive due process” itself, he explained that those rights should be protected based on provisions within the U.S. constitution.

Ocasio-Cortez told U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that failing to “hold him accountable would set a dangerous precedent, undermining public trust in our institutions and raising legitimate questions about the equal application of laws in our nation.”

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