Justice Clarence Thomas has abused the power of his office. He has broken the law. He should resign.
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Thomas has repeatedly demonstrated that he believes there is one set of rules for himself and his billionaire friends and one for everybody else.
What we know:
- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received several luxury vacations from billionaire and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. These vacations, which included use of Crow’s private jet and yacht trips, totaled several millions of dollars’ worth of gifts that were not appropriately disclosed as required by federal law. Thomas knew he was legally required to disclose these gifts (he used to, then stopped in 2004), but he failed to do so on numerous occasions in the decades since.
- Not only has Thomas received lavish vacations that he didn’t disclose, but he also sold property to Crow totaling $133,363 — despite having listed the value of the property as “$15,000 or less” in financial disclosures just years before.
- Thomas never disclosed the sale, despite a federal disclosure law requiring him to do so. After acquiring the property, Crow spent tens of thousands of dollars on upgrades and improvements to the home.
- In a public statement on ProPublica’s reporting, Thomas claimed he thought Crow’s lavish hospitality was “not reportable” because Crow “did not have business before the Court.” Subsequent reporting has shown that in addition to being a Republican financier, Crow has had a direct financial stake in at least one case before the Supreme Court for which Thomas did not recuse.
- Further ProPublica reporting has shown that Harlan Crow paid the private school tuition of Thomas’s grandnephew, who Thomas says he “raised as son.” Had Crow paid for all four years of Mark Martin’s education at the two boarding schools he attended in Georgia and Virginia, the price tag could have exceeded 150,000.
- The Washington Post has reported that Leonard Leo – the nation’s foremost right-wing judicial activist – “arranged for the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be paid tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work just over a decade ago, specifying that her name be left off billing paperwork.”
What every branch of government can do today:
- Justice Thomas should immediately update and correct all his public disclosures to include any gifts that are required to be disclosed.
- Chief Justice Roberts and the U.S. Courts Judicial Conduct Committee should open an investigation into Justice Thomas’s failure to disclose these massive gifts and all efforts to improperly influence the justices’ deliberations and final decisions.
- The hearings Congress holds must investigate Thomas’s relationship with Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and others who were present on these trips and who likely sought to influence Thomas. These investigations should ensure that Thomas was not improperly influenced in his decisions and unearth any schemes to improperly influence Thomas and the other justices of the Supreme Court.
- Congress must immediately pass a binding code of ethics for the Supreme Court to create needed accountability, as the Court’s self-policing is clearly failing.
- The United States Department of Justice Public Integrity Section should immediately open an investigation into Justice Thomas’ improper acceptance of lavish gifts and all schemes to influence the justices’ decisions.
- Given his repeated ethical violations over several decades and inability to credibly carry out his public duties, Justice Thomas should resign from the United States Supreme Court.
What the Alliance for Justice is doing:
Accountable to None is a landmark report that details the many ethical violations by sitting Supreme Court Justices, and how Congress can and should bind them to an enforceable code of ethics.
News & Media:
New Justice Thomas Revelations Reveal Even Deeper Corruption – May 4, 2023
Justice Thomas Broke the Law and Accountability is Essential – April 13, 2023
AFJ Calls For Justice Thomas’s Resignation and Immediate Ethics Investigations – April 6, 2023
On our blog:
How to Police a Court that Won’t Police Itself – May 1, 2023
AFJ In the News:
Washington Post: Clarence Thomas enters the danger zone
USA Today: GOP billionaire Harlan Crow purchased property from Justice Clarence Thomas, according to new report
Courthouse News: Thomas’ luxury vacations footed by GOP megadonor test boundaries on high court ethics
Washington Times: Liberals renew calls for Clarence Thomas’ resignation over luxury travel with GOP donor
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