Ocasio-Cortez filed articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Alito. But how do you impeach someone in a 'lifetime appointment'?

Just over a week after the Supreme Court presented its last case for the term, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito because of what she described as an "unchecked corruption crisis on the Supreme Court."

The filing, introduced on July 10 and cosponsored by eight other House progressives, accuses Thomas and Alito of refusing to dismiss themselves from cases where they had “personal bias or prejudice” and for their “failure to disclose” income, gifts, reimbursements and other financial information.

“Justice Thomas and Alito’s repeated failure over decades to disclose that they received millions of dollars in gifts from individuals with business before the court is explicitly against the law. And their refusal to recuse from the specific matters and cases before the court in which their benefactors and spouses are implicated represents nothing less than a constitutional crisis,” she wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez warned on July 1 that she intended to file articles of impeachment against the justices following the court's decision in its presidential immunity case, in which the nation's top court ruled that former President Donald Trump has some immunity from criminal prosecution for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

“Given the court’s demonstrated inability to preserve its own legitimate conduct, it is incumbent upon Congress to contain the threat this poses to our democracy and the hundreds of millions of Americans harmed by the crisis of corruption unfurling within the court,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her statement. “Congress has a legal, moral and democratic obligation to impeach.”

Can Supreme Court justices get impeached?

The Constitution does allow justices to be removed from their office by impeachment.

It reads: "The Judges, of both supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour." Since justices do not have to run for reelection after being chosen, they stay in their position until they resign, pass away or are impeached — in other words, a "lifetime appointment."

Has any Supreme Court justice been impeached before?

The only justice to have been impeached was Justice Samuel Chase in 1805 because he let his political beliefs sway his court decisions. Chase, who signed the Declaration of Independence, was later acquitted by the Senate and continued serving on the court until he died in 1811.

Justice Abe Fortas in 1969 was the first and only Supreme Court justice to resign under the threat of impeachment due to financial improprieties.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, it's rare to impeach a Supreme Court or federal judge and even rarer to successfully remove them. Since 1803, only 15 federal judges have been impeached.

What does the impeachment process look like for a Supreme Court justice?

The impeachment process for Supreme Court justices is similar to that of a presidential impeachment. First, the House of Representatives has to decide whether to impeach the official. Then, the Senate holds a trial.

The House can impeach with a majority vote — currently, Republicans hold 219 seats and Democrats have 213. The Senate, where Democrats have 47 seats and Republicans have 48, must have a two-thirds majority for a conviction and a removal from office.

What is Justice Clarence Thomas accused of doing?

Both Thomas, who joined the court in 1999, and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have been embroiled in controversy in the last few years. Thomas failed to disclose free luxury trips he took, with one advocacy group estimating that he received almost $4.2 million in gifts over the last 20 years.

Ginni Thomas was caught sending texts to Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, about Trump's allegations contesting the 2020 election while Thomas heard Supreme Court cases regarding the situation. She also confirmed that she had attended the Jan. 6 rally.

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Ron Wyden announced on Tuesday that they asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Thomas committed alleged tax and ethics violations.

Read more from MSNBC: Dems seek special counsel to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas

What has Justice Samuel Alito been accused of?

Alito also did not recuse himself from cases where he had personal bias, such as cases about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riot. Photos circulated of “Stop the Steal” flags flying outside Alito’s home.

Alito accepted luxury travel — including a trip with billionaire Paul Singer, whose company had a case that was presented to the Supreme Court.

In mid-June, Alito faced more scrutiny after secretly recorded phone calls featuring him and his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, were leaked. In some recordings, Alito admitted that he thought it might be impossible for the political left and right to find a middle ground and agreed with the woman recording the phone call that the U.S. should return “to a place of godliness.” Martha-Ann Alito was heard complaining about having to look at a Pride flag in a neighbor’s yard.

Read more from Yahoo News: Secret recordings of Justice Alito and wife Martha-Ann come on heels of flag controversy. A look at the recent Supreme Court issues.

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