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United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, often referred to as the Uncle Ruckus of Black America, is facing renewed calls to resign after ProPublica released a bombshell report detailing lavish gifts Thomas received from a billionaire over the last 20 years that he failed to disclose.
ProPublica is an investigative journalism nonprofit that exposes governmental abuses of power and betrayals of public trust.
In a report released early Thursday morning, the publication revealed Justice Thomas has been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Republican megadonor Harlan Crowe in the form of lavish trips and vacations on Crowe’s private yacht, private jet and at his private residence. Thomas never disclosed the gifts.
“For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe,” ProPublica stated.
In light of the findings, members of Congress have renewed calls for Justice Thomas to resign.
“For the good of the Court and of the country, he needs to resign,” Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted on Thursday.
The release of the report comes months after Justice Thomas faced calls to resign following the discovery that his wife had worked to overturn the 2020 election. He also refused to recuse himself from an election case involving disputed absentee ballots in Pennsylvania for the 2020 election despite his wife’s Republican activist ties. He was the only Justice to dissent in that case.
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According to former judges and ethics lawyers who spoke with ProPublica, the extent of Justice Thomas’ lavish gifts is unprecedented among members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” said Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton. “It was a question of not wanting to use the office for anything other than what it was intended.”
According to Virginia Canter, who served both political parties as a government ethics lawyer, told ProPublica Justice Thomas “seems to have completely disregarded his higher ethical obligations.”
While there are few restrictions on Supreme Court Justices accepting gifts, the bombshell report highlights a man who continually flaunts any ethical guidelines as the longest-serving member of the current Justices.
“This is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking – almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached,” said Democratic US Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court – and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government – refuses to perform,” said Democratic US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Billionaire Crowe didn’t deny the findings regarding Clarence Thomas, but he said they were “no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.”