A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to report lavish gifts in a Friday afternoon letter.
“Justice Thomas’s consistent failure to disclose gifts and benefits from industry magnates and wealthy, politically active executives highlights a blatant disregard for judicial ethics as well as apparent legal violations,” they write.
In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, the letter is signed by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Hank Johnson (D-GA).
The letter lists many of the trips and treats Thomas has been gifted by the likes of billionaire Harland Crow.
“All told, Thomas has received at least 38 destination vacations, 26 private jet flights, eight helicopter flights, VIP passes to sporting events, stays at luxury resorts, and an invitation to an exclusive golf club,” they write. “The total value of the undisclosed trips given to Thomas since his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991 is estimated to be several million dollars, according to ProPublica.”
The group points out that violations of the Ethics in Government Act’s disclosure requirements “can carry both civil and criminal legal penalties.”
Thomas’ luxe treatment at the hands of benefactors, some of whom have had business before the Court and many of whom operate in right-wing political and legal circles, has been revealed in a steady drip since ProPublica broke the news of his decades of Crow-sponsored vacations in April.
Most recently, the outlet compiled a list of the dozens of other billionaire-sponsored luxury vacations he’s taken.
Justice Samuel Alito, too, has enjoyed high class Alaskan salmon fishing thanks to billionaire Paul Singer, who is a prolific donor to Republican causes and has had business disputes involving his hedge fund before the Court.
Thomas and Alito have both insisted that they’ve done nothing wrong, and the political right has quickly closed ranks around them. Alito tried to pre-but the article about his escapades in the Wall Street Journal.
Some members of Congress, including Senate Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) have made half-hearted gestures at holding the justices accountable. But with a Republican House and Senate filibuster, a bill that would impose a code of ethics on the Supreme Court — one of the least aggressive and most popular forms of Court reform — will almost certainly not become law this term.
Read the letter here: