Trending Topics

‘Using His Position Like an Out-of-Control Billionaire Baller’: Clarence Thomas Under Watchful Eye of Senate Panel as New Reports Raise Questions About His Grandnephew’s Private-School Tuition and Wife’s Secret Payments

Demands for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to step down or be impeached continue to mount as more investigations reveal questionable details of his relationship with Republican billionaire donor Harlan Crow and hidden payments to his wife.

A May 4 investigation by ProPublica found that Crow paid the private school tuition for Thomas’ relative that he raised as a son. That same day, an investigation by The Washington Post found that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas received tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of a conservative nonprofit. Months later, the organization showed interest in a case that was heard by the Supreme Court.

House Democrats Hold A News Conference Calling On Justice Clarence Thomas To Resign
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 19: Analilia Mejia, Co-Executive Director of Center for Popular Democracy, speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol calling for immediate resignation of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on April 19, 2023, in Washington, DC. Center for Popular Democracy Action (CPD) held a news conference to call on the resignation after ProPublica reported that Justice Thomas had been taking expensive vacations financed by billionaire Harlan Crow, who had also bought an undisclosed property from Thomas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The new findings follow reports that Crow purchased Thomas’ childhood home and paid for $36,000 in renovations while his mother still lived in the home. Neighbors told ProPublica that she still lives there, but the Supreme Court justice did not report the transactions.

Related: ‘Flying All Over the World…Like an Instagram Model’: Comedian Roy Wood Jr. Roasts Justice Clarence Thomas, Rattles Crowd at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Thomas also failed for years to report the many vacations he and his wife would take with Crow and his family where they traveled by private jet and luxuriated in the billionaire’s yacht. A company affiliated with Crow later had a case before the Supreme Court.

As the reports pile up, members of Congress have called for action against Thomas, who can be impeached by lawmakers, if he chooses not to step down under the mounting pressure.

At least nine Democrats in the House and two in the Senate have condemned the conservative justice.

“Justice Thomas has shown an established pattern of disregarding ethics rules and hiding conflicts of interest, which raises serious questions about his ability to impartially hear cases that have enormous influence on Americans’ lives,” said U.S. Rep. Don Bayer for Virginia, who has co-sponsored legislation to create term limits for Supreme Court justices.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said he was “deeply disappointed” and “angered,” and “Thomas has been using his position as a Supreme Court Justice to live like an out-of-control billionaire baller.”

In addition to Crow paying for Thomas’ grandnephew’s $6,000-a-month tuition for one year, allowing his mother to live rent-free in the home he purchased and buying lavish gifts and getaways, Thomas also reported rental income from a Nebraska real estate firm that has been has been closed since 2006. The justice reported that he claimed between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

His wife’s consulting firm reportedly received $80,000 between June 2011 and June 2012 and was expected to receive $20,000 more from the company of GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway, The Polling Company, with no indication of what the payments were for, according to The Washington Post.

However, The Post found documents that show Leonard Leo, a conservative judicial activist, told Conway in January 2012 he wanted to “give” the justice’s wife “another $25K” and to bill a nonprofit he advises, the Judicial Education Project. He told Conway to ensure that the paperwork had “No mention of Ginni, of course.”

In December of that year, the Judicial Education Project filed a legal brief supporting a challenge against rules associated with the Voting Rights Act, which is meant to protect minority voters. Thomas issued an opinion in favor of the challenge, which blocked a requirement for states to seek federal clearance before changing voting rules.

Leo told The Post that Ginni Thomas’ work had no influence on her husband’s decisions in the court and “is completely ignorant of who this man is and what he stands for.”

Ginni Thomas made a similar argument last year when it was revealed that she worked behind the scenes to push for the results of the 2020 election to be overturned and attended a rally that erupted into the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot.

As for reported vacations, Crow said the vacations were just family trips with close friends where court cases never came up in discussions. Crow also spoke on private tuition payments, expressing in a statement to ProPublica that he and his wife have “supported many young Americans” at a “variety of schools.”

“It’s disappointing that those with partisan political interests would try to turn helping at-risk youth with tuition assistance into something nefarious or political,” the statement said.

Thomas did not address questions about the tuition payments. As for any trips taken, he said he was advised that he did not have to disclose the trips. Still, he reported gifts from Crow in the past, and he also disclosed tuition payments for his grandnephew’s tuition by other friends.

Crow said he purchased Thomas’ mother’s home to preserve it to open a museum one day. He also bought two vacant lots down the street in Savannah, Georgia.

It’s still unclear what the lone Black male Supreme Court justice’s fate will be as more concerns about his ethics are made public.

Public approval of the Supreme Court has hit a record low following rollbacks in the abortion law.

The Constitution calls for the impeachment of a supreme court justice by the House and conviction by the Senate.

More than half of Americans (58 percent) disapprove of Thomas accepting certain gifts without disclosing them, according to an April YouGov poll.

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin said Sunday that the committee is paying close attention while the revelations continue to unfold.

“The bottom line is this: Everything is on the table. Day after day, week after week, more and more disclosures about Justice Thomas – we cannot ignore them,” the Illinois Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The thing we’re going to do first, obviously, is to gather the evidence, the information that we need to draw our conclusions. I’m not ruling out anything.”

Back to top