More than 100 former associates of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have vouched for his character and integrity following a spate of ethical attacks against him.
“The judge is constantly the subject of political headlines aimed at his character, legal philosophy, marriage and even his race,” the 112 signatories wrote in a candid statement Letter received from Fox News Tuesday.
“Recently, the stories question his integrity and his ethics towards the friends he maintains. They bury the lede. “These friends are not parties before him as a judge,” the former court clerks continued. “We all saw the same thing with our own eyes: His integrity is unassailable. And its independence is unshakable.”
The letter recalled Thomas’s humble beginnings in separated Georgia in the 1950s and his ancestry as a descendant of West African slaves. They argued that the story of the rise of justice “should be told in every American classroom, around every American kitchen table, in every anthology of realized American dreams.”
Signers include Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham, former Justice Department official John Yoo, and three current federal judges: Allison Rushing of the 4th Circuit, James Ho of the 5th Circuit, and David Stras of the 8th Circuit.
Two other notable signers are John Eastman, the main legal architect of Donald Trump’s plans to overturn the 2020 election results; and John Wood, a former lead investigator on the House Special Committee who investigated Eastman as part of his probe into the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.
Thomas, 75, is the oldest current Supreme Court Justice and one of its most conservative members. He has come under fire in recent months after a spate of reports showed he had accepted luxury travel and other benefits from wealthy friends and refused to reveal it.
Already in April ProPublica unveiled that Thomas accepted luxury trips “virtually every year” from Dallas-based real estate guru and GOP donor Harlan Crow.
the following week, ProPublica reported that one of Crow’s companies bought a house in Georgia owned by Thomas and several family members, but again the judiciary did not disclose this.
Crow also helps pay tuition for a private school for one of Thomas’ great-nephews, who the judiciary had custody of — something the judiciary also declined to disclose. The same outlet was unveiled in May.
earlier this month, ProPublica reported that Thomas accepted at least 26 international private jet flights, eight helicopter flights, 38 vacations, 12 VIP passes to sporting events and two resort stays during his time on the Supreme Court.
Thomas’ defense attorneys have pointed out that he was not required under the Supreme Court’s ethics rules to disclose these benefits and that he has decided to do so in the future. They also note that none of the friends who offered Thomas such gifts did business in court, and claim that ProPublica’s coverage is a string of hits from a publisher backed by dubious progressive bundlers.
Some Democrats, including far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have called for a Justice Department investigation into Thomas, while others have urged Congress to accuse him.
Thomas is far from the only judge to have faced an ethical review in recent months.
Already in April Politico reported that Judge Neil Gorsuch sold a Colorado property to the CEO of a major law firm for approximately $1.825 million nine days before his confirmation in the Supreme Court in 2017.
Gorsuch initially did not disclose the identity of the buyer, whom Politico identified as Brian Duffy – whose company Greenberg Traurig has since been implicated in over a dozen Supreme Court cases.
The newest judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, admitted last September that she “inadvertently omitted important information about reimbursements for travel, board memberships and consulting income” that her doctor-husband earned in cases of medical malpractice in her disclosure forms. Bloomberg reported.
In light of these controversies, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Il.) has filed a lawsuit alleging tightening of the Supreme Court’s ethics requirements.
However, there are constitutional questions about how much power Congress has to regulate the Supreme Court.
Proponents of stricter ethics requirements, such as Durbin, have urged Chief Justice John Roberts to enact these reforms himself, but the Supreme Court has so far refused to do so.
Judge Samuel Alito has argued publicly that Congress has no authority to unilaterally impose such reforms on the Supreme Court.
Amid the turmoil and declining public approval Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently said she was forced to develop “thick skin.”
“Public scrutiny is welcome,” Barrett said during a recent Wisconsin justice conference this week, adding that she wishes she wasn’t so recognizable.
“People just didn’t realize who the judges were,” she added. “I think that’s better.”