Justice Clarence Thomas (R) began his lifetime tenure to the United States Supreme Court with the help of some old men who knew their behavior towards their subordinates would get them in trouble if they held Thomas accountable for his deplorable behavior towards Anita Hill. Since confirmation, Thomas has become more like himself, as the saying goes. In 1991 he was an arrogant, contemptuous middle-aged man who assumed anyone criticizing him or his behavior had a mental deficiency. Ah, but how much he's grown in those 32 years, right?
Ah, ha ha, ha. Between his extremist views on just about everything, to his intellectually dishonest theory of jurisprudence, to his flatly lying about his wife's corruption, we can add new charges of eye-popping sleaze more befitting a Chicago alderman than a Justice of the United States:
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Friday he had been advised “by colleagues and others in the judiciary” that luxury trips financed by a close billionaire friend and conservative activist should be considered personal hospitality that did not have to be disclosed.
Thomas’s statement came more than 24 hours after a ProPublica report revealed that he had accepted luxury trips around the globe for more than two decades, including travel on a superyacht and private jet, from Harlan Crow, a Dallas business executive and influential donor to causes related to the law and judiciary.
“As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them,” Thomas said in the statement. “Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
The arrogance and disdain for even minimal application for the rules that everyone else has to follow boggles the mind.
Alexandra Petri wasted no time laughing right in his face, particularly at his ridiculous assertion that "I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that:"
Well, that describes me. I am not above anyone, except in the slight technical sense that I do control what rights you get to have. But you need not worry: I understand you and I am not contemptuously pandering to you: I genuinely think that you drive to Walmart for the delight of it! The simple joy of moving the carts around and putting them back, stopping at the little stop sign, and yelling indistinctly at your children not to run in front of other people’s cars! A classic American vacation!
I prefer to be where the rest of you — the rest of us! — love to be, which I assume from how much time you seem to spend there must be the parking lot of Walmart. Or an RV park! Yes, that is all I wish. The simple life.
So, you see, I could not possibly disclose any of these things, for they were not blessings but curses. These are the weights I must bear in my position. If someone with the power I wield were not meant to accept these heavy burdens, surely we as a court would have adopted a formal ethics code. But there is no need: It is understood that I take no pleasure in any of this. The American people need not worry. The yachts were suffering enough.
Uh huh. Vanity Fair's Eric Lutz isn't laughing:
Lest we forget, Thomas has already shown, time and again, exactly what he thinks of those ethical obligations. After all, this is the justice who refused to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election, despite his wife supporting—and encouraging—Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn that year’s election results. But the lifestyle that Thomas' friendship with Crow has afforded him shine an even more glaring light on his indifference to the principles of judicial integrity and independence—and underscore the need for real accountability on the nation’s high court, a lack of which has called the court's legitimacy into question.
The Supreme Court's conservatives have steadfastly resisted such calls, lamenting the public's deteriorating trust while refusing to do anything to earn it. “All of our opinions are open to criticism,” Chief Justice John Roberts said last year, amid public outcry over its disastrous Dobbs decision—an activist ruling if there ever was one. “But simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the court.”
Roberts, of course, was arguing with a straw man. Public trust hasn’t cratered because people “disagree” with one opinion. It has plummeted because its right-wing majority—strong-armed into existence by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans—has abandoned the pretense that it is much more than the enforcement arm of the GOP. The conservatives have run roughshod over precedent; reverse-engineered their legal rationales for seemingly ideological decisions; and, in the case of Dobbs’ author Samuel Alito, openly mocked critics.
I remind everyone that Congress has the power to set term limits on the Supreme Court. (The Constitution provides lifetime appointments to the Federal courts, but not to any specific court.) We need 67 votes in the Senate to toss Thomas on his ear, as the Senate failed to do when they had the chance in October 1991. But we only need 50 votes in the Senate and 217 in the House to retire his ass tomorrow.