Thomas: Corroding Public Trust

For years I have been writing about Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, for years and the antics of his wife and her endorsements of far right ideas.

Just yesterday a more damning report of Thomas and his billionaire benefactor……

Clarence Thomas has a very, very rich friend. This friend, billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow, has for two decades let the Supreme Court justice and his wife travel around the world to exotic locales at his expense, reports ProPublica. The story by Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski notes that Thomas has never reported these vacation flights on financial disclosures, which “appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress, and federal officials to disclose most gifts.” The ethics law experts they interview also say Thomas should have reported his multiple trips on Crow’s superyacht. However, the legalities are murky because the story also points out that the Supreme Court “is left almost entirely to police itself” on such matters. Regardless, “the extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history” of the court, per the story.

“When a justice’s lifestyle is being subsidized by the rich and famous, it absolutely corrodes public trust,” says Virginia Canter, a former government ethics lawyer who has served in the administrations of both parties. “Quite frankly, it makes my heart sink.” Crow tells the outlet the two never discuss cases, and the story makes clear that Thomas has never ruled on a case in which Crow’s company was involved. However, the court does hear cases that affect the real estate industry in general, and Thomas meets other prominent conservatives and business executives on the trips. The vacations—including one to Indonesia in 2019 that would have cost Thomas about $500,000 had he paid himself— appear to stand in contrast to comments the justice once made in a documentary (financed by Crow) about how he likes to travel. “I prefer the RV parks,” he said. “I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There’s something normal to me about it. I come from regular stock, and I prefer that.”

Read the full story.

Let’s look at this situation a bit deeper….

either Clarence Thomas himself nor the Supreme Court has responded to ProPublica’s report detailing how the justice has received lavish vacations and gifts from a prominent GOP donor for 20 years without disclosing them. Democrats, on the other hand, have plenty to stay about Thomas’ relationship with real estate magnate Harlan Crow:

  • AOC: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Thomas to be impeached. “This is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking—almost cartoonish,” she wrote. Attached to the tweet is an image from the story, a painting (based on a real-life photo) of Thomas at Crow’s Adirondack resort smoking a cigar while with Crow with three other prominent conservatives.
  • Durbin: Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin said his panel “will act” in the wake of the report, per the Hill. “The highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards,” he said in a statement. “Today’s Pro Publica report reveals that Justice Thomas has for years accepted luxury travel on private yachts and jets and a litany of other gifts that he failed to disclose. This behavior is simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant, let alone a Justice on the Supreme Court.”
  • Sen. Whitehouse: “This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court—and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government—refuses to perform,” wrote Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.
  • Others: Semafor rounds up the reaction of other angry Democrats here.
  • The rules: Here is how the AP lays things out: Supreme Court justices must file an annual financial disclosure report listing gifts they have received, and it’s unclear why Thomas failed to do so. Under a judiciary policy guide seen by the AP, “food, lodging or entertainment received as ‘personal hospitality of any individual’ does not need to be reported if it is at the personal residence of that individual or their family. That said, the exception to reporting is not supposed to cover ‘transportation that substitutes for commercial transportation’ and properties owned by an entity.” Thomas traveled on Crow’s superyacht and on his private aircraft. As ProPublica notes, the Supreme Court largely polices itself on such matters, something critics say must change.
  • Crow’s statement: ProPublica has provided Crow’s full statement, in which he says nothing improper transpired. He said he has extended “hospitality” to the Thomases “over the years” but that the couple “never asked for any of this hospitality.” He said they did not discuss matters before the court. “We have never asked about a pending or lower court case, and Justice Thomas has never discussed one, and we have never sought to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue,” Crow said. “More generally, I am unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that. These are gatherings of friends.”

This is just another nail in the case for doing some reform…..these so-called ‘Associates” have had their hands out for decades which flies in the face of proper justice from the “referees” of our democracy.

Impeach and Reform Now!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


8 thoughts on “Thomas: Corroding Public Trust

  1. In my personal opinion, Clarence Thomas and His Wife are a joke as far as politics go and is an embarrassment to our nation. But that is only my opinion. Those two stick like glue for some reason and I am suspecting it is because of his lifetime appointment to the superior bench. I have always said that Suckpreme Court judges need term limits — and that they need to be elected instead of being appointed.

  2. His wife has advocated for the overthrow of the constitutional system of how we elect our leaders…that is treason and she should not be allowed to walk away from it. He is well known for being the worst Judge ever to sit on the high court.

  3. Is anyone really that surprised that high-level politicians are completely corrupt? It has been that way since the days of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. These days it is just more blatant. Because the corrupt are so rarely held to account, they don’t care who knows.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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