Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is coming under more and more pressure in the USA due to media research: According to the non-profit investigative platform ProPublica and the "Washington Post", the 74-year-old disregarded regulations on the disclosure of benefits for decades and made incorrect statements about his earnings.
For the past two decades, Thomas has disclosed his family's rental income of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Nebraska real estate company called Ginger, Ltd, Partnership in the annual reports that members of the Supreme Court are required to disclose their finances, the " Washington Post". However, this company, which was founded by his wife and her relatives in the 1980s, has not existed since 2006.
In that year, the family's company was closed and a separate company was formed, according to state incorporation documents. The new company, Ginger Holdings, LLC, has a similar name but is not mentioned in Thomas' filings. Instead, the judge continued to state income from the closed company - between $50,000 and $100,000 annually in recent years.
Even if the decades-long misstatement were just a typographical error, it is one in a long line of errors and omissions in Thomas' financial records. In early April, ProPublica revealed that the arch-conservative judge had repeatedly accepted invitations to luxury trips from major Republican donor Harlan Crow for more than two decades without disclosing them.
Thomas, who earns an annual salary of $285,000, has vacationed on Crow's superyacht numerous times, flown on the businessman's private jet from Dallas, taken him to Bohemian Grove, an exclusive men-only retreat in California, and lounged on Crow's sprawling ranch in East Texas, ProPublica reported. In addition, the judge typically spends about a week each summer at Crow's private resort in the Adirondacks, a mountain range in northeastern New York state. In addition, Thomas sold three properties in Georgia to Crow in 2014, including the home where his 94-year-old mother, Leola Williams, currently resides. In his financial reports, however, there is nothing to read about either the luxury trips or the real estate sales.
Thomas said in a statement that colleagues, whose names he didn't identify, told him he didn't have to report vacations and that he had always tried to comply with disclosure guidelines. Regarding the property sales, a person close to the judge told CNN that Thomas always filled out his forms with helpers and that it was a mistake not to report the transaction. The judge intended to amend his financial information accordingly.
It wouldn't be the first time Thomas has corrected his information: In 2011, according to CNN, he amended previous forms to report income that his wife, conservative activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, received between 1998 and 2003 from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank - after the non-governmental organization Common Cause raised questions about it. Thomas explained at the time that the information was "accidentally omitted". He did not understand the instructions for submission.
In 2017, according to the broadcaster, Thomas hid refunds related to his teaching at Creighton University School of Law. He also added transport costs and meals during his teaching at two universities to his information for 2018 after the interest group Fix the Court became aware of the missing information.
Crow acknowledged to ProPublica that while he's shown hospitality to the Thomas family "over the years, it's no different than the hospitality we've shown to our many other dear friends." Besides, the judge never asked for it. He and his wife also never discussed a lawsuit with Thomas, the Texas billionaire assured. "We have never attempted to influence Judge Thomas on any legal or political issue."
Crow has made more than $10 million in publicly reported political contributions, according to ProPublica, and supports efforts to move the U.S. judiciary to the right.
Thomas caused a stir last year with a statement on the overturned abortion precedent "Roe v. Wade". In it, the 74-year-old announced that other fundamental judgments, such as the right to contraception, same-sex marriage or sex between same-sex partners, would now have to be put to the test. He also did not back down from cases involving his wife's involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. According to media reports, after Donald Trump was voted out of office in 2020, Ginni Thomas tried to take action against the election result. That is why demands were made that Thomas should not sit on the bench in cases related to Trump. But the judge ignored them.
In light of the allegations against Thomas, the Democratic majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week called for an investigation into his behavior. Supreme Court chairman John Roberts should "immediately" begin an investigation into "how such conduct could have taken place under his supervision," according to a letter from the Democratic members of the committee. A hearing will be held "in the coming days" on "the need to restore confidence in the Supreme Court's ethical standards."
Sources: ProPublica, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC