Justice Clarence Thomas
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
In what activist Sherrilyn Ifill called a crisis in which everyone needs to start treating it as such, more stunning revelations have surfaced over lavish gifts accepted and not previously disclosed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Now, Democratic lawmakers are taking to social media to demand Thomas step down. The calls for his resignation come after another shocking investigative report by ProPublica. The exposé, released on Thursday, Aug. 10, delves into undisclosed luxury vacations and gifts Thomas received from affluent individuals. The revelation has again ignited a firestorm of outrage and ethical concerns. “Justice Thomas has brought shame upon himself and the United States Supreme Court with his acceptance of massive, repeated, and undisclosed gifts,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted on the social media platform now known as X. “No government official, elected or unelected, could ethically or legally accept gifts of that scale. He should resign immediately.” The damning ProPublica report exposed that Justice Thomas received a minimum of 38 destination vacations, 26 private jet flights, numerous VIP passes to sporting events, and two lavish resort stays, all financed by billionaire backers, during his tenure on the bench. The report argued that Justice Thomas may have violated legal requirements by failing to disclose these extravagant travels and luxury engagements. ProPublica reported that Thomas, typically “perched in the skybox at sporting events, had at least two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast. “This accounting of Thomas’ travel, revealed for the first time here from an array of previously unavailable information, is the fullest to date of the generosity that has regularly afforded Thomas a lifestyle far beyond what his income could provide. And it is almost certainly an undercount,” the report asserted. ProPublica continued: “While some of the hospitality, such as stays in personal homes, may not have required disclosure, Thomas appears to have violated the law by failing to disclose flights, yacht cruises, and expensive sports tickets, according to ethics experts.” Politico noted that at least four other House Democrats also called for Thomas’ resignation, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). “Unprecedented. Stunning. Disgusting. The height of hypocrisy to wear the robes of a #SCOTUS and take undisclosed gifts from billionaires who benefit from your decisions,” Jayapal posted on X. “Resign.” Democrats in the Senate have attempted to push legislation that would reform the Supreme Court’s ethical guidelines to increase transparency. That bill passed committee but is unlikely to get through a full Senate. “I said it would get worse; it will keep getting worse,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who helped spearhead the bill, said on X in response to the report. “The latest ProPublica revelation of unreported lavish gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas makes it clear: these are not merely ethical lapses,” Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin wrote on X. “This is a shameless lifestyle underwritten for years by a gaggle of fawning billionaires.” Perhaps even more significant, the pattern exposes consistent violations of judicial norms, experts, including seven current and former federal judges appointed by both parties, told ProPublica. Earlier this year, ProPublica revealed Texas real estate billionaire Harlan Crow’s generosity toward Thomas, including vacations, private jet flights, gifts, the purchase of his mother’s house in Georgia, and tuition payments. The new report said the New York Times also noted revelations about wealthy business people Thomas met through the Horatio Alger Association, an exclusive nonprofit.