Mega-yacht cruises, private flights… Clarence Thomas, the most conservative US Supreme Court justice, has for more than twenty years accepted several luxury stays from a billionaire known for his donations to the Republican Party, says a newspaper survey published Thursday.
Reactions to what was seen as raising ethical questions on the part of Democrats quickly multiplied, with an elected official calling for his immediate resignation.
Online investigative magazine ProPublica says it has interviewed “dozens of people” and reviewed internal documents to prove that the judge accepted these gifts from businessman Harlan Crowe without declaring them.
“Amazing” discoveries, the Fix The Court Association, which campaigns for Supreme Court reform, estimated in a press release, the Temple of American Law.
This underscores, in her view, the need for stricter rules on gifts received by members.
The friendship between the judge, who has seniority on the court, and the real estate mogul was already the subject of a New York Times article in 2011, which called it “extraordinary and morally sensitive.”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Thomas’ name has been linked to controversy: His wife, Jenny, an activist and lobbyist, has taken part in Donald Trump’s crusade to prove — wrong — that the 2020 presidential election will be stolen.
Once the SMS and emails she had sent for this purpose were revealed, the left criticized an apparent conflict of interest and called on her husband to step down from any electoral file.
He was nominated by Republican President George H. W. Bush in 1991, and confirmed despite accusations of sexual harassment by a former aide. He has always denied them, claiming that he is the victim of a “lynching”.
In its investigation, ProPublica indicated that Clarence Thomas went almost every summer to a businessman’s estate in the Adirondacks, in New York State, and that he accompanied him to the “Bohemian Grove” club in California, an elite all-male club. .
“To preserve what remains of the people’s respect for the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Thomas must resign immediately,” left-wing Representative Hank Johnson wrote on Twitter.
For his part, influential Democratic Senator Dick Durbin asserted that “the nation’s highest court should not have the lowest moral standards.”
He said the disclosure “shows once again that Supreme Court justices must be subject to a binding code of conduct, like all other federal judges.” “ProPublica’s material is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”
The judge’s remarks in a documentary, in which he presented himself as a man of the people, resurfaced on Thursday.
“I have no problem going to Europe, but I prefer the United States (…), I prefer crossing rural areas,” he said. “I prefer mobile homes. Best Walmart (supermarket) parking on beaches and things like that.”