Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison called for impeaching U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and compared him to a house slave during a recent media interview.
Ellison recently returned to his hometown of Detroit to promote his new book, “Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence.” While there, he sat down for an extended interview with the Michigan Chronicle and discussed recent Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and student loan debt.
“Anybody who’s watched the movie Django, just watch Stephen and you see Clarence Thomas. Clarence Thomas has decided that his best personal interest is siding with the powerful and the special interests regardless as to who they’re going to hurt,” Ellison said, the Michigan Chronicle reported.
“He’s like, ‘I’m looking out for me and I don’t care nothing about you,’” Ellison continued. “He’s abdicating his responsibility. He has abdicated it a long time ago. When he got in office, he was this way. He’s this way now. Maybe he’s worse now.”
Ellison then called for Thomas’ impeachment.
“Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached. Clarence Thomas is illegitimate and has no basis in the job that he’s in,” Ellison said. “It’s a lesson to us as African Americans. What is the lesson? We all thought, ‘Well, he’s a black man, raised in the deep south. He knows what racism and segregation is, he knows what affirmative action is. He’s going to come around one day.’ Understand that it’s not a matter of pigment. It’s not what’s on your skin, it’s what’s in your mind.”
The attorney general also called for term limits and new ethical rules for the Supreme Court.
ProPublica has published a series of articles on Thomas’ alleged ethics violations, which center on his friendship with GOP donor Harlan Crow.
Crow treated Thomas and his wife to a number of expensive vacations during his time on the bench, according to the first report. Thomas said he was advised by colleagues “that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the court, was not reportable” under disclosure rules.
A second report said Crow paid for the private school tuition of Thomas’ grandnephew, whom Thomas raised “as a son.”
A third report showed Crow purchased a single story home and two vacant lots from Thomas and his family for a total of $133,000. The home is where Thomas’ mother lives and Crow said he plans to turn the space into a museum “dedicated to telling the story of our nation’s second black Supreme Court Justice.” Thomas intends to amend his disclosure reports to reflect the transaction but did not believe he needed to do so because he lost money on the sale, a source close to the justice told CNN.
Legal experts and Republican members of Congress have condemned the reports as being part of a smear campaign designed to reshape the conservative Supreme Court, according to the Daily Caller. Former liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has defended Thomas as a “man of integrity.”
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who replaced Ellison in Congress, has also called for Thomas’ impeachment.