Updated Apr 7, 2023, 10:31am EDT
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'Should be impeached': AOC and others react to ProPublica report on Justice Clarence Thomas

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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A new ProPublica investigation found that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted generous gifts from Harlan Crow –– a billionaire and major Republican donor –– in the form of luxurious vacations on private jets, yachts, and resorts.

Democratic lawmakers had a swift and outraged response to the report, with some like Alexendra Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Lieu calling for Thomas to be impeached or to resign. Others stressed the need for a code of conduct for the Supreme Court Justices and one lawmaker said the solution was to expand the Supreme Court.

Here are the some of their notable reactions.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.)

"Thomas must be impeached."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL.)

Durbin, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Huffington Post that the committee would "act" on the ProPublica investigation and called for an "enforceable code of conduct" for Supreme Court Justices.

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI.)

Whitehouse shared a painting discovered as part of ProPublica's report which shows Thomas surrounded by other Republican "power brokers."

"This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court — and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government— refuses to perform," Whitehouse said in another tweet.

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.)

"Judges should be held to the highest ethical standards."

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)

"The Court is broken... expand the Court."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

"For the good of the Court and the country, he needs to resign."

Lieu also called for the passing of the Democrats' Supreme Court Ethics Bill, which would require the Judicial Conference of the U.S. to issue a judicial code of conduct for judges.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.)

"We need answers."

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

"If the Court won't adopt a code of ethics, Congress needs to require it to."

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Step Back

ProPublica uncovered the bombshell revelations by sifting through flight records, internal documents, and conducting dozens of interviews with people who were familiar with Thomas' friendship with Crow.

According to the report, Thomas had traveled to Indonesia on Crow’s private jet in 2019, where he island-hopped for nine days on Crow’s private yacht.

A decade ago, Thomas had been on an extended cruise in New Zealand on the same yacht. Every summer, the justice spends a week at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

These are just some of the luxuries he didn't pay for.

ProPublica found that although Crow and Thomas had a genuine friendship, the vacations allowed the justice to rub shoulders with other major GOP donors like the leaders of the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank.

Thomas has not disclosed his more than a decade's worth of trips in financial records, which justices are required to do. This is a violation of a federal disclosure law passed after Watergate.

Thomas did not respond to ProPublica's questions, but Crow told the outlet in a statement that the justice and his wife Ginni Thomas "never asked for any of this hospitality," and that he has never sought to influence Thomas on any legal or political issue.