Supreme Court Justice Thomas reportedly accepted lavish gifts from billionaire GOP donor

“[The justices] are blind to the fact that the public’s faith in the institution is waning, and the public’s faith is the only thing that gives the court’s ruling any force of law,” said Sarah Turberville, director of the Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing criticism after a scathing report revealed he accepted lavish gifts from a GOP donor.

ProPublica, a nonprofit organization that publishes investigative news, reported on Thursday that Thomas and Harlan Crow became friends after the conservative justice was appointed to the bench in the ‘90s.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas joins other members of the Supreme Court as they pose for a new group portrait, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Since 1996, Crow, a Dallas businessman and billionaire, has given Thomas access to luxurious trips and gifts throughout the years, according to ProPublica, citing documents and conducted interviews.  

Thomas reportedly sailed on Crow’s superyacht around the world on several occasions, and was a passenger on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. The report also stated that every summer, Justice Thomas served as a guest at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondack Mountains located northeast of New York. 

ProPublica found that for more than two decades, Thomas has neglected to disclose the lavish gifts he accepted from Crow, which violates a post-Watergate disclosure law that requires justices and other federal officials to disclose certain gifts.

The staggering report also found that Crow donated half a million dollars to a Tea Party group founded by Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. That donation allegedly contributed to Mrs. Thomas’ $120,000 salary.

In a statement responding to ProPublica’s investigation, Crow said, “The hospitality we have extended to the Thomas’s over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.” 

It continued, “We have always placed a priority on spending time with our family and friends. Justice Thomas and Ginni never asked for any of this hospitality.”

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife and conservative activist Virginia Thomas arrive at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The billionaire also denied having any influence in Thomas’ decision-making as it pertained to how the justice rules on Supreme Court cases.  

Crow said, “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.”

This latest report calls Thomas’ integrity into question and has some people asking whether the gifts he received from Harlan had any impact on how he rules in cases despite the billionaire’s denial of any bias. 

Progressive members of Congress quickly called for Thomas to be impeached.

“This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. “Thomas must be impeached.”

Ocasio-Cortez was joined by her fellow member of “The Squad,” U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who wrote on Twitter, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached.”

Colin Kaepernick participates in a throwing exhibition
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

For years, many organizations, including the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a non-partisan independent watchdog, and the American Bar Association, have called on the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics so that justices self-preserve their integrity and keep the illusion that they are unbiased, as theGrio previously reported.

Sarah Turberville, director of the Constitution Project at POGO, previously told theGrio that justices need to adopt “stronger ethical standards.” 

“[The justices] are blind to the fact that the public’s faith in the institution is waning, and the public’s faith is the only thing that gives the court’s ruling any force of law,” she said.

In an earlier interview with theGrio, Donald Sherman, senior vice president for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said justices believe “they’re above” the law and therefore do not have to adhere to an ethical code.

“I think they view themselves as being the best arbiters of whether there is a conflict or whether there is an ethical issue and don’t feel like they should be bound by any independent enforcement structure,” he stated.

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