Progressives call for ouster of Justice Thomas

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 3:20 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The fallout from a ProPublica report that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose gifts for decades continues in Washington. Ethics questions are looming as lawmakers and activists increase their calls for consequences. Some are calling for an immediate resignation.

Recent revelations highlighted Thomas receiving gifts from Republican billionaire mega donor Harlan Crow. The gifts included luxury trips on yachts and private jets, stays at fancy resorts, six-figure bibles, and doing real estate deals with Crow. These all went undisclosed in financial forms.

“it’s not enough to amend and try to hide your corruption. It’s too late for that,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia).

Johnson, alongside colleagues and activists called for the historic ouster of a justice. Disclosures are a standard practice for Members of Congress and judges in the U.S.

“Justice Thomas has been brazenly compromised and corrupted by Republican dark money,” said Johnson.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Illi.) wants a code of ethics to be implemented for Supreme Court Justices, currently nonexistent. He also wants Thomas to testify before his committee, which he acknowledges is unlikely.

Republicans on that committee, like Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) say Thomas is unfairly targeted.

“Everybody should follow reporting requirements and my understanding is that Justice Thomas has followed the requirements,” said Hawley.

Thomas says colleagues advised him he did not need to report these gifts because they were from a friend who did not have any business before the court. Disclosure guidance for the court recently changed and Thomas says he plans to adhere to it going forward. Hawley is not concerned about his behavior.

“What I have a lot of concerns about is the multi decade effort now to target Clarence Thomas by these liberal activist groups,” said Hawley.

Durbin is considering a hearing surrounding these ethics questions. It is not clear exactly when that might take place.