Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) is calling for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be impeached, joining other members of the progressive “Squad” who have called for the conservative justice to be reprimanded following a bombshell report on his relationship with a Republican donor.
In a statement on Tuesday, Bush said Thomas “holds a complete disregard for law and ethics that is incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in federal judges.”
“For these reasons, and because the federal judiciary has failed to hold Justice Thomas accountable, I am calling for impeachment proceedings to begin regarding Justice Thomas’s apparent violations of federal law,” she said.
ProPublica reported earlier this month that Thomas, who has served on the bench since 1991, went on luxury vacations with Republican donor and real estate developer Harlan Crow. The donor paid for the trips, which have been happening for more than two decades, according to ProPublica.
Supreme Court justices are required by federal law to file annual financial disclosures that include gifts, unless they fall under certain exemptions. In a statement following the report, Thomas said that he “was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
Days later, ProPublica reported that Thomas did not disclose a 2014 real estate deal he did with Crow. The donor reportedly purchased a series of properties in Savannah, Ga., from Thomas, his mother and his late brother’s family for $133,363. On Monday, CNN reported that Thomas plans to amend his financial disclosure forms to disclose the real estate deal.
And The Washington Post reported that Thomas has reported that his family received rental income from a real estate firm launched by his wife and her family that has not existed since 2006.
The revelations regarding Thomas have angered judicial watchdog groups and congressional Democrats, leading some to call for the justice’s impeachment, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and now Bush.
Bush in her statement on Tuesday said Thomas “has made a mockery of his ethical obligations and disgraced himself and the entire judiciary,” and said recent discoveries “are just the latest in a pattern of lawless and shocking behavior that has characterized Justice Thomas’s career.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who was among the first House Democrats to call for Thomas’s impeachment amid the recent revelations, acknowledged in an interview with CNN that it is “very difficult” to see a path where Thomas is impeached by a House controlled by Republicans.
But Bush, nonetheless, wants the chamber to plow forward with impeachment. And if that does not work, she called on the Judicial Conference of the United States to refer Thomas to the attorney general.
“History will judge how Congress responded during this crisis in our federal judiciary. House Republicans must move forward with impeachment proceedings,” she said. “But if they continue choosing not to act, the Judicial Conference of the United States must immediately exercise its authority and refer Justice Thomas to the Attorney General for further action.”
In addition to impeachment, Bush on Tuesday called on Congress to approve Supreme Court ethics reform, to expand the court, institute term limits “and take other actions to rein in this unaccountable, anti-democratic, and dangerous institution.”
“Holding judges accountable for their behavior is a matter of life-or-death for our communities. They wield enormous power, and the current hands-off approach to the judiciary has only emboldened lawless, corrupt, far-right judges to strip away our rights and make our lives worse off,” she added.