On April 6, the investigative journalism website ProPublica published Published a series of revelations About the fact that Clarence Thomas, a frequent opponent of democratic and social rights, accepted an undisclosed “gift” worth millions of dollars from Harlan Crow. Crowe is a billionaire donor to the Republican Party and also keeps a collection of Nazi artifacts in his Texas mansion.
For more than two decades, Thomas and his wife enjoyed lavish, all-expenses-paid vacations on the Crewe luxury yacht and various private resorts, which Thomas failed to disclose in his financial filings. He was joined by leaders of the right-wing Federalist Society, which lobbies conservatives in the federal courts.
A week later another article from “Pro Publica” followed. Accordingly, Thomas hid it Three properties sold Also to Crewe in 2014, which was owned by his family. This included the house where his 94-year-old mother still lives.
Crowe then undertook various renovations, however No rent required From the judge's mother. As revealed last Thursday, Crowe I paid thousands of dollars Thomas grew up attending his son's private school. The judge did not announce these benefits either.
An extraordinary friendship
The relationship between the billionaire and the chief justice is scandalous above all because Crowe is also a major donor to the Republican Party. Incidentally, Crow is also chairman of the board of trustees of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. In 2009 He donated $500,000 To the conservative lobbying organization Liberty Central — founded by Virginia “Jenny” Thomas, the wife of the chief justice.
The most damning one was published by the Washington Post on May 4 Investigation reportWhich revealed that Leonard Leo, former president of the Federalist Society — and a leading figure in pushing the courts to the far right — arranged for Jenny Thomas to receive a secret stipend of ten thousand dollars a month from Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway.
But the prevalence of lavish, often unreported gifts, free trips, lucrative speaking fees, and financial deals with wealthy and well-connected people and institutions is not limited to Thomas or the Republicans who have pushed it into the courts.
The facts published in recent weeks are as follows:
- Shortly after joining the Supreme Court in 2017, Justice Neil Gorsuch — Trump's first appointee — was named CEO of a major law firm. Real estate sale, which often has a business case before the court. Gorsuch announced the sale but did not reveal the identity of the buyer.
- Jane Roberts, wife of Chief Justice John Roberts, received $10.3 million in kickbacks from elite law firms to hire high-paid lawyers for the Supreme Court between 2007 and 2014. This information was revealed by an anonymous whistleblower, not Chief Justice Roberts.
- Retired Democratic Justice Stephen Breyer made at least 225 sponsored trips between 2004 and 2018, including to Europe, Japan, India and Hawaii, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Some of the trips were sponsored by the Pritzker family, ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the 10 wealthiest families in the United States. Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is a member of the family.
Republicans defend their judge
Even before the landmark ruling on abortion rights, Thomas made negative headlines. In January 2022, when the Supreme Court had to decide whether to turn over National Archives documents from Trump's term to the congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Thomas He was the only judge, who voted against it. As it later became known, his wife is a conservative activist Supported Trump's bidTo turn his electoral defeat into victory.
While lower court judges should expect scrutiny and avoid “the appearance of impropriety in any action,” the Supreme Court It is not mandatory behaviours basics. Despite high demands from Democrats, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Chief Justice John Roberts declined an invitation to attend a Senate hearing last Tuesday. Although Republicans also see the need to act, they are unlikely to help Democrats on this issue.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the left, by trying to impose a code of conduct on the Supreme Court, is simply trying to “destroy” the legitimacy of the conservative-dominated body. However, at the same time The Chief Justices urgedTo seize the opportunity to enhance public confidence. “We would all be better off if they did.”
Regardless of whether Thomas violated the law or ethical standards, the leaked facts further undermine the Supreme Court's already damaged reputation. After a conservative majority of justices struck down national abortion rights a year ago, public confidence in the Supreme Court has already declined to a historic low He falls.
(Author page from Csaba Káncz Available here.)