A petition that seeks to impeach conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas continues to see a spike in the number of signatures.
As news of new scandals have been released about Thomas, more and more people are signing onto the position, which Newsweek reports shows that discontent is rising about his spot on the high court.
The petition was originally organized by MoveOn, a group that advocates for public policy. As of the beginning of this week, nearly 1.35 million people had signed onto it.
The petition calls for the justice to step down from his position on the Supreme Court or face an impeachment. The latter is possible under the U.S. Constitution, however, the House of Representatives would need to vote on it – much like it does when it impeaches presidents.
MoveOn’s petition accuses Thomas of pushing an agenda that’s far-right while at the same time accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from right-wing megadonors,” which brings into question his own ethics.
While the petition was originally posted in the early part of 2022, it really gained traction among signatories after Thomas penned an opinion piece in June of that year, suggesting that the high court “should reconsider” previous rulings that granted rights for same-sex marriage as well as contraception.
That same day, the Supreme Court handed down its vote that ultimately reversed the landmark Roe v. Wade decisions, giving individual states the power to create their own rules and regulations about abortion.
On June 11, 2022, the petition had about 220,000 signatures. By June 24 – the day when Thomas penned the op-ed piece – it had reached 244,000 signatures. Just four days later, on June 28, more than 92,000 people signed onto the petition.
And, by July 21 – just about one month after the op-ed – the petition had garnered more than 1.2 million signatures.
Interest in the petition waned throughout the rest of 2022 and the early parts of 2023. From February 6 through April 6, for instance, fewer than 200 new signatures were added to the petition.
A report published by ProPublica on April 6, though, reinvigorated interest in the petition. The report revealed that Thomas had accepted many benefits from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, which included numerous vacations and trips over the last 20 years.
Thomas never included those as part of the financial disclosures he made. After the report came out, he defended his actions, saying that Crow and his wife were “among our dearest friends.”
He added that in the past, he was “advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
A lot of members of the public didn’t agree, though. Roughly two months after that report was made public, more than 33,000 signatures were added to the petition.
The same type of spike in signatures happened again in July, when The New York Times released a report about Thomas receiving plenty of gifts from some of his well-off friends, which were given through the Horatio Alger Association.