'The stink of corruption': AOC ignites a firestorm after criticizing the Supreme Court’s lack of ethics

'The stink of corruption': AOC ignites a firestorm after criticizing the Supreme Court’s lack of ethics
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 7: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) prepares to speak during a rally for immigration provisions to be included in the Build Back Better Act outside the U.S. Capitol December 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. Progressive Democrats are urging the Senate to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in the Build Back Better Act. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is facing increased criticism for refusing to address the burgeoning corruption scandals involving Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. Earlier this week, Roberts drew heavy fire for ignoring requests from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to testify about what, if anything, he intends to do about the public's eroding confidence in the Court and its apparent inability to adopt a code of ethical conduct for its nine jurists.

On Tuesday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) tore into Roberts for dismissing the concerns of Congress and his unwillingness to maintain the Court's future credibility and legitimacy.

"Under Roberts, the Supreme Court has unraveled constitutional rights and seen several justices engage in corrupt financial arrangements," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Now he is refusing to answer questions. How does Roberts expect SCOTUS to maintain authority if they reject accountability themselves?"

READ MORE: Refusal by Roberts to testify over Supreme Court ethics scandals called 'untenable'

Prior to Ocasio-Cortez's remarks on Twitter, Truthout's Sharon Zhang noted that "just in the past few weeks, reports have uncovered that Thomas has for decades received lavish gifts from and sold property to a GOP billionaire megadonor without disclosing it, and that Neil Gorsuch has skirted disclosure requirements to hide his property sale to the CEO of a major law firm that frequently appears before the Court. The reports have shown that justices seemingly can't even follow the lax rules that Supreme Court justices are legally bound to. Experts have said that Thomas's failure to disclose his financial ties with billionaire Harlan Crow have broken disclosure laws, but that there is a culture of impunity for justices."

Zhang added that "meanwhile, there seems to be little way to act against the glaring ethics concerns on display, because the Supreme Court is the only court in the U.S. that’s not legally bound to an ethics code."

Zhang also pointed out that "members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed deep frustration over Roberts's refusal to testify, and have called for the Supreme Court to be bound to an ethics code."

Concerned individuals weighed in on the topic as well, and they too held no punches.

READ MORE: Revealed: Neil Gorsuch sold property to head of law firm 'involved in at least 22' Supreme Court cases

McSpocky™: "This is by far the most corrupt Supreme Court in U.S. history."

The Chud Report: "It's a disgrace. If the highest court operates this way why would all of us be expected to keep up the facade of law and order?"

Brittney: "Corrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be impeached for allegedly accepting bribes. SCOTUS is NOT above the law!"

The USA Singers: "Clarence Thomas is compromised. Neil Gorsuch is compromised. Brett Kavanaugh is compromised. Sam Alito is a talibangelical cultist. Amy Coat Hanger Barrett is a talibangelical cultist. John Roberts is totally corrupt. The Supreme Court is broken."

Jon Cooper: "The 6-3 Conservative-majority Supreme Court is corrupt as f*ck."

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-California) echoed Ocasio-Cortez: "Are Justices Thomas and Gorsuch corrupt? I don't know. Did they both engage in actions that appear corrupt? Absolutely. That's why we need to pass the ethics bill for the Supreme Court. Why are Republicans and @JudiciaryGOP refusing to address this issue?"

Bill Pascrell, Jr.: "The stink of corruption wafting up from the republican supreme court is so noxious seagulls are flying in from the Jersey Shore to circle it. Corrupt Clarence Thomas is the tip of Republican judicial malfeasance."

Wahajat Ali: "It's an entirely corrupt and compromised Supreme Court. This will be the legacy of the Roberts Court."

BrooklynDad_Defiant!: "Good morning and Happy Wednesday to everyone who agrees that we need to fix our justice system so that Senators who plot coups, corrupt Supreme Court justices who take bribes, and Presidents who incite insurrection are all held accountable for that sh*t. Can I get an AMEN?"

On Wednesday, after the justices signed a statement committing to upholding ethical standards, additional frustration abounded.

Lieu further opined on Thursday that "a non-binding piece of paper hasn't done anything to stop corrupt behavior by Supreme Court Justices. The fact that Justices think this non-binding piece of paper is sufficient to prevent corruption shows how arrogant and out of touch they are with the American people."

Similarly, following a Thursday ABC News report regarding "academia's troubling influence" on the Court, ex-White House ethics czar Richard Painter stated that "this is corrupt. As I pointed out in this interview, wealthy (so-called 'Top 14') law schools have been buying access to the Supreme Court for a long time. Now Notre Dame is getting in on the act. Justices for sale."

Anger is noticeably swelling. As of Thursday afternoon, a draft petition demanding that Thomas either resign or be impeached and removed from the bench has garnered more than 1.2 million signatures.

"It has become clear that his wife — longtime conservative activist Ginni Thomas — was actively urging the White House to overturn election results both leading up to January 6 and after the deadly insurrection. Thomas' failure to recuse himself from cases about January 6 warrants immediate investigation and heightened alarm," the document says. "And it's only the latest in a long history of conflicts of interest in the service of a right-wing agenda and mixing his powerful role with his conservative political activism. He has shown he cannot be an impartial justice and is more concerned with covering up his wife's coup attempts than the health of the Supreme Court."

READ MORE: The US Supreme Court’s efforts to dodge oversight are the actions of 'monarchs and emperors': attorneys

Sharon Zhang's full Truthout analysis continues here.

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