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Let Them Eat Hate: Impeach Clarence Thomas?

Feeding their base empty politicized calories, progressives try to cancel a Supreme Court justice.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fresh fire from Democrats keen to make political waves ahead of the 2022 elections. From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and a swath of progressives in between, congressional Dems are demanding that Thomas either recuse himself from any cases related to the 2020 election or face impeachment proceedings.

New banner Legal Affairs with ScottRepresentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted a call on March 28 to impeach Thomas, a message that has since gained the echo of at least 27 other Democrats. His wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, has made recent headlines over leaked text messages she exchanged between November 2020 and January 2021 with former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about overturning the 2020 election. AOC joined fellow progressive Representatives Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) in their demands.

Overton Shift

Impeaching a US Supreme Court justice requires a simple majority in the House of Representatives. If passed by the House, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to remove him. That means 16 Republican senators would need to vote to kick Thomas off the Court. That may not be as hard as passing a camel through a needle’s eye, but it’s not realistic. AOC’s message shifted the narrative on Thomas, though. She tweeted:

“Often what seems like the righteous yet politically foolish thing short term ends up being the wisest choice long term. In politics, oftentimes the best decisions can also carry greatest risk. All this is to say we shouldn’t dismiss actions available re: Clarence Thomas’ acts.”

And:

“Subpoenas, investigations, and impeachment should absolutely be on the table. We shouldn’t have to think twice about that. We must go where the facts take us. A failure to act puts the imperiling of democracy squarely on *our* shoulders. It’s our duty to defend it.”

While such a move has no strong chance to succeed in the Senate, it could be a wildly successful political ploy. Last week saw headlines reporting that “AOC warns Biden’s poll numbers could signal poor turnout among Dems.” A whipped-up round of investigations and impeachment against one of the progressives’ most hated persons in government reads like a win-win for AOC and her caucus. Instead of facing disgruntled constituents who can no longer afford staple products amid rampant inflation, they can look important and make headlines with scripted barbs.

All for Thomas’ wife’s political activity. Her texts were subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee. To say that committee has some political legitimacy issues is an understatement, and it seems most likely that this was where the leak of Mrs. Thomas’ communications with Meadows originated.

Nevertheless, She Persisted …

While consistency isn’t a strong suit for those on the hard left, they are likely to have some significant problems if troublesome political behavior by all justices is held up for examination. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for example, recently made overtly political statements about contentious issues before the Court on which she will be asked to rule.

Professor Jonathan Turley reported that during a Zoom meeting with law students, Sotomayor criticized her colleagues for the Court’s ruling in the recent Texas abortion case and encouraged students to oppose the law politically. But the lack of reaction to Sotomayor’s statements about current and future cases is what surprised Turley the most:

“Now that Sotomayor has called for political action and lobbying against the law, there may be calls for her to recuse herself though she is unlikely to do so. What is most striking is how Sotomayor’s words have received praise and virtually no criticism from the left. Professors and writers have been calling for the packing of the Court due to what they describe as a politically active majority on the right of the Court. Here is a justice calling directly for political action to change a law being appealed to the Supreme Court. Yet, there is not a peep of protest …”

GettyImages-1236038464 Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The outlets that publicized Virginia Thomas’ texts never mentioned her husband or the Supreme Court. Yet, that has not stopped Democrats from calling for Thomas’ recusal. “I do think he should recuse himself,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) commented. “The information we have right now raises serious questions about how close Justice Thomas and his wife were to the planning and execution of the insurrection.”

Clarence Thomas, the Court’s senior member and the intellectual leader of its right wing, is especially despised by Democrats. His steadfast adherence to conservative jurisprudence puts him in direct opposition to the positions progressives wish to advance. Finally, Thomas is a black man who refuses to agree that race and judicial thought or political opinion should be linked. The justice is fresh out of a week-long hospital stay for an infection, and he resumed remote participation in oral arguments before the Supreme Court on March 28. He did not issue any comments about the clamor for his recusal or resignation.

Read more from Scott D. Cosenza

Read More From Scott D. Cosenza, Esq.

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