Clarence Thomas makes a statement of defense

The Statement by Thomas is remarkable both in its existence and in its content – usually he is not particularly concerned with answering the little people.

Harlan and Kathy Crow are some of our dearest friends and we have been friends for over 25 years. Like friends, we have accompanied her on a number of family outings in the more than quarter century that we have known her. Early in my tenure on the court, I sought advice from my colleagues and others in the judiciary and was advised that this type of personal hospitality from close personal friends who had no business dealings with the court was not reportable. I have endeavored to follow this advice throughout my tenure and have always endeavored to comply with disclosure guidelines. Those guidelines are now being changed because the Judiciary Conference Committee on Financial Disclosures for All Federal Judiciary announced new guidelines just last month. And of course I intend to continue following this guide in the future.

First things first: Harlan and Kathy Crow are among Clarence and Ginni Thomas’ dearest friends and have been friends for over 25 years – but Thomas has been on the Supreme Court for well over 25 years. This is a donor to Republicans and right-wing organizations who have befriended a Supreme Court Justice. They can be friends, but “Oh, we’ve been friends for so long it shows it’s not about my position on the pitch,” contradicts the timeline.

“Like friends, we have joined them on a number of family trips.” Those “family trips” include private jet flights at specified times on a superyacht, accompanied at least once by someone who was a Trump administration official at the time. Thomas also reportedly spends about a week most years at Crow’s private resort, where a painting hangs of the two men relaxing and smoking cigars, with Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo. But we should believe that we are not discussing anything that in any way affects Supreme Court matters, even though Leo’s entire life’s work is to take over the courts from the right. Just a couple of guys sitting around not to talk about similarities, which is also their life’s work.

Early in my tenure on the court, I sought advice from my peers and others in the judiciary, and was told that this type of personal hospitality from close personal friends who had nothing to do with the court was not reportable.” In addition to Leo’s Presence on Some of These “Family Outings” crow is one longtime board member of the American Enterprise Institute, a major right-wing think tank. During these years, which coincide closely with his dear personal friendship with Clarence Thomas, AEI Submitted amicus briefs in several Supreme Court cases.

In defending that the guidelines were only just changed, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern argue that while the updated financial disclosure guidelines close loopholes that apply directly to Thomas, it was pretty clear under the previous rules that private jet flights were not personal hospitality. Under the old wording personal hospitality means “hospitality provided for non-business purposes by a person, not a company or organization, at that person’s or his family’s personal residence or at property or facilities owned by that person or family.” Is a private jet a ” Attachment”? And that language still seems to refer to a private resort owned by a company, rather than a personal family property.

Also, there was a time when Thomas disclosed gifts from Crow. Mostly he revealed things like a Bible that had belonged to Frederick Douglass, a gift he estimated at $19,000. But he has also included private plane flights in the disclosures — a practice the Los Angeles Times now notes he stopped after the newspaper reported on the gifts.

Thomas says he will now disclose in the future that we all know about his vacation anyway. But while his legal obligation may be disclosure, the ethical issues involved in accepting such generosity from a major political donor and AEI board member do not go away. On the other hand, Clarence Thomas is not particularly interested in ethics. (And the claim that matters are never discussed in court? That falls into the “would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous” category.)


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Olly Dawes

Olly Dawes is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Olly Dawes joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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