It’s not simply Harlan Crow. It’s not simply the rich and well-connected he rubs elbows with on the Horatio Alger Affiliation. In response to a brand new ProPublica report, Clarence Thomas has loved at the least 38 luxurious holidays — together with non-public jet journey and VIP tickets to sporting occasions — from numerous conservative benefactors over his a long time on the courtroom. And, as with the opposite Supreme Courtroom aspect advantages which have already been reported, Thomas doesn’t seem to have disclosed the presents as required by legislation. “It’s so apparent,” former White Home ethics lawyer Richard Painter instructed the outlet. “All of it must be reported.”
“It’s simply the peak of hypocrisy to put on the robes and dwell the life-style of a billionaire,” added Don Fox, former normal counsel of the USA Workplace of Authorities Ethics.
The handfuls of newly-revealed Thomas presents — whose funders embody Crow, the billionaire Texas developer; David Sokol, previously of Berkshire Hathaway; the late businessman H. Wayne Huizenga; and oil billionaire Paul “Tony” Novelly — additional underscore the pressing want for ethics reform on the Supreme Courtroom. “I mentioned it could worsen; it can preserve getting worse,” wrote Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a sponsor of the Supreme Courtroom Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.
That invoice superior by way of the Senate Judiciary Committee final month. However Republicans have dug their heels in towards it, casting requires reform as political assaults on the conservative courtroom, and the courtroom itself has been resistant to alter — with Chief Justice John Roberts insisting that the establishment might proceed to deal with issues internally. The ProPublica report Thursday, nevertheless, makes clear that the courtroom shouldn’t be left to police itself: Although not one of the billionaires named within the piece had enterprise earlier than the courtroom, ProPublica notes that they have been all aligned along with his judicial philosophy, and commenced their friendships with him after his ascent to the bench in 1991.
The Supreme Courtroom didn’t return Vainness Truthful’s request for remark. Neither Thomas, Novelly, nor the late Huizenga’s son — who’s president of the household’s holding firm — didn’t reply to questions from ProPublica. (Thomas has beforehand denied wrongdoing.) Sokol, in a prolonged assertion to the outlet, prompt Thomas’s non-public jet journey was essential for safety causes and defended the conservative justice as “humble and moral”: “We now have by no means as soon as mentioned any pending courtroom matter,” Sokol mentioned. In different phrases: There’s nothing to see right here — take our phrase for it.
Individuals shouldn’t have to try this. However except and till the dam lastly breaks for frequent sense reform, they’ll don’t have any alternative.