Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be investigated for his “ethical lapses” amid a report that he accepted dozens of luxurious trips from a major Republican donor, attorney Glenn Kirschner urges.
Speaking on his YouTube show Justice Matters on Saturday, Kirschner said, “Somebody should place Clarence Thomas under oath, subject to the penalties of perjury, and compel him to testify about precisely which members of the judiciary told you, informed you, instructed you that, Clarence you don’t have to disclose the millions of dollars of luxury gifts and accommodations given to you by a hard right Republican donor.”
On Thursday, the investigative journalism organization, ProPublica, published a report detailing dozens of trips that Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, took, which were paid for by Republican donor Harlan Crow, citing interviews and documents related to the travel.
The report comes as Thomas continued to face public scrutiny over the past several months. In September, the Supreme Court received its lowest approval rating among Americans, according to a poll from Gallup, as only 40 percent said they approved. Additionally, Thomas has faced calls for his resignation after reports showed his wife, Ginni, advocated for overturning the results of the 2020 election.
In his video, Kirschner continued, asking who will place Thomas under oath and who will investigate his ethical lapses that likely “violated federal law.”
In response to ProPublica’s report Thomas issued a statement obtained by Newsweek saying, “Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years.”
Thomas continued: “As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them. 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.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin of Illinois, took to Twitter on Thursday saying, “Justice Thomas’ lavish undisclosed trips with a GOP mega-donor undermine the trust that our country places in the Supreme Court.” Durbin concluded saying it is “time for an enforceable code of conduct for Justices.”
However, former Georgia Congressman and Republican Vernon Jones came to Thomas’s defense on Twitter saying, “the left hates him,” and “Justice Clarence Thomas is a Patriot.”
Meanwhile, constitutional law professor at Stetson University, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, told Newsweek on Saturday, “At the very least, Justice Thomas’s relationships should be examined to see whether they intersect with litigants who had cases before the Supreme Court. And the same should go for all nine justices so that the American people have faith in the highest court in the land.”
Thomas concluded in his statement: “I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.”
Update: 4/8/23, 10:35 p.m. ET. This story has been updated to include a statement from Ciara Torres-Spelliscy.