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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Caught Receiving Luxurious Gifts From Republican
The United States Supreme Court, widely regarded as the most esteemed judicial body in the world, holds the ultimate authority in the American legal system. The Court's reputation for impartiality stems from the expectation that its justices operate above partisan interests.
However, a recent exposé by ProPublica casts doubt on this supposed non-partisan nature. Today's release of the investigative report delivers a bombshell revelation that could send shockwaves through those who value the integrity of the American justice system.
Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court justice nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, has been reported to have received lavish gifts from a known Republican donor, Harlan Crow, for many years. ProPublica reported that in June 2019, right after the Supreme Court’s final opinion of the term, Thomas and his wife went on vacation to Indonesia for nine days on a superyacht owned by Crow.
Thomas typically spends a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks, flies on his private jet, and has gone with him to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. Thomas has not reported these gifts, which apparently violate a law passed after Watergate, requiring federal officials to disclose most gifts.
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Thomas has also violated long-standing norms for judges' conduct, according to ethics experts and four current or retired federal judges. ProPublica uncovered the details of Thomas’ travel by drawing from flight records, internal documents distributed to Crow’s employees, and interviews with many people ranging from the yacht’s staff to members of the secretive Bohemian Club to an Indonesian scuba diving instructor.
Crow has gained a unique form of access to one of the most powerful people in the country by extending “hospitality” to the Thomases. Thomas’ acceptance of these gifts has “corroded public trust,” according to Virginia Canter, a former government ethics lawyer. There are few restrictions on what gifts Supreme Court justices can accept. However, members of Congress are generally prohibited from taking gifts worth $50 or more and would need pre-approval from an ethics committee to take many of the trips Thomas has accepted from Crow.
It’s hard to imagine what Republican’s in Congress would be saying had someone like George Soros been donating, off the books, to a liberal judge on the Supreme Court.