There have been a lot of concerns, over the past few years, about Clarence Thomas and his fitness for the exalted office he holds. Most of that has revolved around the fact that his wife, Ginni Thomas, has been active in far-right politics. I feel like corruption from conservatives in government should be expected. Everything about their philosophy says that they ought to be able to take whatever they can get, and so I’m not especially surprised to hear that Clarence Thomas has been getting lavish gifts from a billionaire in the form of jet rides, vacations and more, without disclosing them as he is required to do.
In late June 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.
If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.
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. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.
The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.
This is what happens when you create unaccountable power. What are you gonna do, call the cops on a member of the Supreme Court? Sure, he ought to be impeached, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m not saying Democrats are much better, but conservatives have long, long had their game plan for when they get caught breaking rules or laws – claim that it’s all a political ploy by enemies who don’t know when to stop, threaten violence from right-wing extremists, and promise political retribution that’s now justified because “they” struck first. I continue to have little hope that any powerful person in the United States will ever be held to account, unless their victims are other members of the ruling class.
Still, I suppose it’ll be interesting to watch this unfold, and it’d be lovely to be proven wrong, as always. You may find this video on the topic from Beau of the Fifth Column to be interesting. I was intrigued by his claim that the hardest part for Thomas to justify won’t be the hundreds of thousands of dollars in vacations and the like, but the use of his benefactor’s private jet.
I hope he’s right about the story not going away, but I fear that the commercial media’s attention span won’t be long enough to keep it going.
Why isn’t he being impeached already?
For so many reasons..