Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Sunday demanded Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas be impeached over his friendship with Texas billionaire Harlan Crow, which was highlighted in a recent ProPublica expose which cited critics who believe the relationship falls afoul of ethics rules.
The ProPublica report revealed that the justice had luxurious domestic and overseas travel covered by Crow, who is a major Republican donor. Crow and his firm have not had a case before the Supreme Court since Thomas was confirmed, but the article claims that the real-estate magnate may have an interest in otherwise unrelated cases that impact the real-estate industry more broadly, though it fails to name any such cases.
The House has an obligation to investigate the relationship, the congresswoman told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview.
“I believe that we should pursue the course. And if it is Republicans that decide to protect those who are breaking the law, then they are the ones who then are responsible for that decision,” she said of her Republican colleagues in control of the chamber. “But we should not be complicit in that.”
Thomas assured in a statement Friday 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.”
He has always been intent to comply with disclosure guidelines, which he understands have been changed in the last month, the justice said.
“Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years,” Thomas added. “As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them.”
Crow told ProPublica he has never attempted to influence Thomas’s jurisprudence.
Ocasio-Cortez blasted the justice’s travel activity as conflict of interest and corruption.
“I think, when it comes to Justice Thomas’ statement, when he’s talking about his colleagues, and when he’s talking about who advised him to break the law, I think we need to know who those people are,” she said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin announced that his committee will investigate Thomas’s 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 revealing that Ocasio-Cortez 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. The committee is continuing to investigate the gift and may subpoena the designed of the dress.