Calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to resign have intensified after documents released this week revealed more trips gifted to the U.S. Supreme Court by wealthy benefactor Harlan Crow.
On Thursday, Thomas released his 2022 financial disclosure form together with Justice Samuel Alito, three months after the other seven justices filed theirs. The document shows that Thomas took three trips last year on a private jet owned by Crow, a major GOP donor who was recently revealed to be among the conservative billionaires who offered the conservative justice multiple luxurious trips throughout the past 20 years.
Crucially, Thomas had failed to include these trips and gifts in his previous financial disclosure forms, with this being the first time he officially reported accepting Crow’s hospitality.
“The people deserve better than corrupt Supreme Court justices more interested in cashing in from extremist billionaires than serving the people. Clarence Thomas must resign,” Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The people deserve better than corrupt Supreme Court justices more interested in cashing in from extremist billionaires than serving the people.
Clarence Thomas must resign. https://t.co/d9gRXHpzzh
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 31, 2023
“This late-come effort at ‘Clean-up on Aisle Three’ won’t deter us from fully investigating the massive, secret, right-wing billionaire influence in which this Court is enmired,” wrote Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
“I take some satisfaction at being the one who pressed for the clarification by the Judicial Conference of the ‘personal hospitality’ standard, which I view as a clarification of what the standard was all along, not new or changed requirements,” he added.
“If justices of the Supreme Court had questions about disclosure, they had a Financial Disclosure Committee of the Conference to ask. I should not have had to press this, and they should not pretend it’s new.”
This late-come effort at “Clean-up on Aisle Three” won’t deter us from fully investigating the massive, secret, right-wing billionaire influence in which this Court is enmired.https://t.co/bzIFAcrlju
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) August 31, 2023
Earlier this year, ProPublica—a New York-based non-profit, independent newsroom conducting investigative journalism in the public interest—revealed that Thomas had accepted gifts from friend Crow, a Republican donor, for the past two decades.
The gifts included luxury vacations, like a trip to Indonesia in June 2019, which ProPublica said was worth over $500,000. Thomas has not included this trip in his financial disclosure forms.
In August, ProPublica published a second report on Thomas showing at least 38 vacations that he enjoyed at the expense of conservative billionaires acting as patrons and benefactors.
The trips included a voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas, several private jet and helicopter flights, luxury stays and a dozen VIP passes to professional college sporting events, among others.
In the same month, The New York Times revealed that Thomas’ signature RV was bought thanks to the generous loan of a wealthy friend.
In the aftermath of the revelations by ProPublica, which sparked outrage among members of the public and Democratic lawmakers and questions over increasing ethics requirements for Supreme Court justices, Thomas defended himself, saying he had always “always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”
The justice has said in a statement: “Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
A group of House Democrats, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for the DOJ to launch an internal inquiry into Thomas’s billionaire-funded trips.
Newsweek contacted the Supreme Court for comment by email on Friday.
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