The disclosure of three journeys from the previous year arrives at a time when the highest court in the US is under increased scrutiny for its associations with wealthy benefactors.
In a friendly manner, United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas openly disclosed that he had the pleasure of taking three trips last year using a private plane owned by prominent Republican supporter Harlan Crow. This occurrence is noteworthy as it represents the first instance in years where Thomas has acknowledged receiving any form of hospitality from Crow.
In a report released to the public on Thursday, Justice Clarence Thomas, at the age of 75, stated that he is adhering to the recent travel reporting guidelines set by the federal judiciary. This disclosure arises amidst an increased emphasis on ethical conduct within the Supreme Court, following several revelations that Thomas has been receiving undisclosed lavish gifts from Crow, a wealthy businessman and supporter of conservative initiatives.
Harlan Crow displayed his friendly nature by acquiring the house in Georgia where Thomas’s mother continues to reside, ensuring their comfort and security. Furthermore, he went above and beyond by generously funding two years of private school tuition for the child raised by Thomas and his wife, Ginni. In a similar vein, it was revealed in July that Justice Sonia Sotomayor has effectively utilized her staff to promote book sales during her college visits over the last decade as reported by the Associated Press news agency.
Every year, Clarence Thomas makes his way to Crow’s Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, as revealed by a report from ProPublica, the renowned investigative news outlet.
Clarence Thomas made two additional journeys to Dallas, where he addressed conferences organized by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. During one of these trips in mid-May, court authorities advised him against using commercial transportation due to security concerns arising from the disclosure of the court’s preliminary abortion ruling which overturned Roe v Wade.
The justice finally admitted that Crow had purchased the house in Savannah, Georgia, where Thomas’ mother currently resides. Thomas and his family members were co-owners of the property, along with two adjacent properties. The transaction was finalized in 2014, however, Thomas mistakenly believed that it did not need to be disclosed due to a capital loss incurred from the sale.
In reporting that he and his wife have assets worth $1.2m to $2.7m, Thomas also corrected several other mistakes from earlier reports. These include the omission of accounts at a credit union that last year were worth $100,000 to $250,000 and a life insurance policy in his wife’s name that was valued at less than $100,000.
According to Thomas, he is contemplating the addition of additional private plane travel to his previous reports. The annual financial reports for Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito were made public on Thursday, which was almost three months later than the release of the other seven justices’ reports. Both Thomas and Alito were given 90-day extensions.
Alito’s reported assets range from $2.8 million to $7.4 million. Although the majority of his investments are in mutual funds, he still holds shares in energy and other companies, which occasionally require him to recuse himself from Supreme Court cases.