‘This Man Is a Shame’: Unfazed Clarence Thomas Under Fire After Reports Reveal More Undisclosed Trips Aboard GOP Billionaire’s Private Jet and Nearly $4.2 Million In Gifts

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fire again over his repeated acceptance of luxury gifts and free travel after Senate Democrats released a series of documents showing the veteran jurist failed to disclose three private flights he took with billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow between 2017 and 2021.

Two of the flights were round trip, while one involved multiple destinations, as detailed in a document provided by Crow’s attorneys to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The newest revelation in the case follows the bombshell report by ProPublica last year that revealed Justice Thomas had regularly taken gifts from a number of billionaire Republican megadonors, including former Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol, former Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga, and Crow, a Dallas real estate tycoon, among others.

Clarence Thomas Claims Critics Have Plotted to 'Bomb' His Reputation Amid Calls for His Resignation
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. He was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and is the second African-American to serve on the high court, following Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Justice Thomas never reported any of it on his annual financial disclosures despite receiving ultra-expensive gifts over the span of more than 20 years.

The Senate Finance Committee is also investigating Thomas’ financial dealings over the past two decades amid increased calls for tougher ethics rules and for Thomas to resign. 

The newest documents reveal Justice Thomas hopscotching across the country at will, indicating he flew on Crow’s private jet from St. Louis to Kalispell, Montana, in May 2017, before proceeding to Dallas. Then, in March 2019, the conservative justice took the billionaire’s private jet from Washington, D.C., to Savannah, Georgia, and back. In June 2021, Thomas flew in secret from D.C. to San Jose, California, and back, according to the logs obtained by the Judiciary Committee.

The most notable revelation is that Thomas took three trips that were not previously disclosed. 

This news comes shortly after a report from a group called Fix the Court showed that Thomas had received more gifts than any other Supreme Court justice in history, with the total value of these gifts since 1981 exceeding $5.87 million, with almost $4.2 million received in just the last 20 years, according to the readout from the committee.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, criticized Thomas for what he described as a clear failure on ethics and propriety.

“Nearly $4.2 million in gifts and even that wasn’t enough for Justice Thomas, with at least three additional trips the Committee found that he has failed to disclose to date,” Durbin said in a press release. “The Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Supreme Court’s ethical crisis is producing new information — like what we’ve revealed today — and makes it crystal clear that the highest court needs an enforceable code of conduct, because its members continue to choose not to meet the moment.”

Previously, Thomas only acknowledged receiving 27 gifts on federal disclosure forms before Fix the Court released their research, while his lack of transparency has led to ongoing discussions on Capitol Hill about judicial ethics.

Legal experts suggested that the failure to disclose the trips was not likely to result in any sort of penalty for Thomas.

The Code of Conduct for Justices, established in November 2023, lacks any provisions for consequences in case of violations, nor does it provide a mechanism to determine if such violations have taken place.

Without any real enforceable power, the code has increasingly drawn criticism amid various ethics scandals engulfing the Supreme Court over the past year. 

More recently, the controversy surrounding Justice Samuel Alito and the display at two of his residences of far-right flags that referenced the Jan. 6 attack has only highlighted the code’s ineffectiveness.

Last June, Alito also sought to dispel a ProPublica report alleging he went on a luxury Alaskan fishing excursion 15 years ago with a billionaire Republican donor whose hedge fund was the subject of several high court rulings in which Alito never recused himself.

Meanwhile, some gifts Thomas received helped cover various living costs, including private school tuition for his grandnephew, car batteries and tires for the family vehicles, ProPublica reports. 

Crow, however, was the person who really elevated the lifestyle of the conservative justice following some financial struggles during Thomas’ early years on the high court.

Crow reportedly paid for Thomas to take extravagant vacations around the world on a private jet ,while also funding exotic cruises aboard a luxury yacht, and the purchase of a luxury RV with a $267,000 loan that Thomas was not required to pay back, ProPublica reported. 

The reasons behind the generosity toward Thomas remain uncertain, raising concerns about potential attempts to influence and corrupt the nation’s highest court.

Previously, Crow insisted that he and Thomas were close friends and that Thomas had not ruled in any cases involving his holdings.

Yale Law School Professor George Priest, who vacationed with Thomas and Crow in the past, told ProPublica that he thinks Crow’s generosity was aimed at improving Thomas’ quality of life rather than trying to sway his legal opinions.

Lawmakers are leveraging each ethical controversy as a platform to call for a code of conduct that imposes real consequences for actions that are seen as eroding trust in the Supreme Court.

“As a result of our investigation and subpoena authorization, we are providing the American public greater clarity on the extent of ethical lapses by Supreme Court justices and the need for ethics reform,” Durbin also noted in his statement. “Despite an approval rating near all-time lows and never-ending, self-inflicted scandals, Chief Justice Roberts still refuses to use his existing authority to implement an enforceable code of conduct.”

Just as with all of the other revelations about Thomas, the new report has prompted criticism of the Supreme Court justice and calls for him to be removed or resign.

“Stop framing this as ‘Thomas needs to resign’—he’ll never ever never never ever do it—start pushing impeachment. With every revelation about Clarence Thomas’ gifts from billionaire donor Harlan Crow, it becomes more clear: Congress needs to impeach Thomas,” one X user wrote.

“Taking the money shows he has no integrity. Resigning would require integrity. He has served the far right his entire career,” another user wrote. “This man is a shame on every bar card holder and he has zero shame for introducing the same to SCOTUS.”

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