(UnitedVoice.com) – In recent years, officials have discussed making changes to the Supreme Court’s ethics code to make it stricter. As the highest court in the country with, arguably, the most powerful people in America, there’s a concern about partisans trying to influence the justices. In March, the Judicial Conference of the United States adopted new rules that require the SCOTUS judges to disclose stays at resorts and other commercial properties and travel by private jets.
A recent report by investigative journalists revealed one justice has taken dozens of luxury trips and gifts from a GOP megadonor. There are now calls for his resignation, and the judge has responded to the report.
On April 6, ProPublica dropped a bombshell report, revealing Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has been secretly involved with billionaire Harlan Crow for more than 20 years. The megadonor has repeatedly allowed the justice to travel on his Bombardier Global 5000 jet and his 162-foot megayacht. For example, in 2019, Thomas flew on the plane to Indonesia, where he then spent nine days traveling from island to island on the yacht with his family. The vacation would have cost the justice more than half a million dollars if he’d paid for it himself.
Every summer, Thomas heads to the Adirondacks to spend a week at Crow’s private 105-acre resort, Camp Topridge. He also spends time at the billionaire’s Texas ranch and all-male retreat in California.
7/ The justice has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling Texas ranch.
Every summer, Thomas typically spends about a week at Camp Topridge, Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks. pic.twitter.com/q7ezUAM6LM
— ProPublica (@propublica) April 6, 2023
The report reignited calls for Thomas to resign from the court. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) was among those demanding he step down.
When Supreme Court justices are cashing in like this it's no surprise the Court continues to obstruct & overturn the will of the people.
We need a Supreme Court code of ethics, and Thomas must resign. https://t.co/n06oNU26is
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) April 7, 2023
ProPublica reported the extent of the gifts the justice has accepted “have no known precedent in the modern history” of the court. Experts accused Thomas of violating a law that requires officials, including justices, to report most gifts. The justice disagrees.
Thomas Speaks Out
The New York Times released a statement from Thomas where he denied any wrongdoing. He said that he has disclosed what he believes needed to be disclosed per the guidance he was given when he joined the court. The justice said that he was told that he didn’t have to report “hospitality from close personal friends” as long as they didn’t “have business before the court.” He explained the Crows have been his “dearest friends” for more than 25 years, and they have taken family trips together a number of times.
Thomas went on to say that he would start reporting the trips in the future, per the new guidelines that the Judicial Conference issued.
Copyright 2023, UnitedVoice.com