Four Senate Democrats sent out fundraising emails Friday to capitalize on allegations that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took gifts from a GOP mega-donor friend.
Fundraising emails from Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., who were reviewed by Fox News Digital, cited the news of gifts to Thomas as They were calling for the passage of the Supreme Court Ethics Act, which would require a code of conduct for Supreme Court justices.
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“In order to restore public confidence in the Supreme Court, there must be a clear code of ethics that holds a judge accountable for their actions if they engage in conduct that crosses the line,” said Durbin, who is President of the Senate. Judiciary Committee, said in the email.
A series of stories about Thomas’ alleged history of gifts from GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow has sparked outrage among Democrats. A ProPublica report on Thursday detailed how Thomas supported his great-nephew in 1997, who then had Crow pay for his tuition at two private schools. A previous report showed that Thomas took a luxury vacation with Crow.
Whitehouse described the allegations as a “clear violation of existing ethics rules”.
“You have creepy right-wing billionaires, phony front groups, judges receptive to overtures, big money and secrecy,” Whitehouse said in her email. “And over the past few months, we’ve had a front-row seat, thanks to Judge Thomas, to see how these ingredients combine to tarnish the judiciary.”
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Thomas, in an April statement, described Crow as a “dear friend” and said it was never necessary to report their travels together.
“As friends, we have joined them on several family trips over the more than a quarter of a century we have known them. At the start of my tenure at the Court, I sought advice from my colleagues and other members of the judiciary, and I was advised that this type of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who had no business before the Court, was not to be reported,” Thomas said.
Mark Paoletta, a close friend of Thomas and an attorney who served in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, defended the Supreme Court justice in a statement Thursday. Paoletta said Crow recommended Randolph-Macon Academy, her alma mater, for Thomas’ great-nephew. Crow, Paoletta said, then paid a year of tuition and then another year when he went to boarding school.
“This story is another attempt to fabricate a scandal about Judge Thomas,” Paoletta said. “But let’s be clear about what’s supposed to be outrageous now: Judge Thomas and his wife dedicated 12 years of their lives to fostering and caring for a beloved child – who wasn’t theirs – just like Judge Thomas’ grandparents had made it for him. ”
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Hirono, in his fundraising email, complained that Thomas had “no consequences for his corruption”.
“The Supreme Court – whose justices are some of the most powerful people in the land – has shown no interest in adopting a code of ethics that ensures they are held to the same standards and transparency that anyone would expect on their own workplace,” Hirono said. . “So if they don’t do it, Congress has to ask them to do it.”
The nine Supreme Court justices signed a letter in April saying they adhered to a general code of conduct and that individual oversight by Congress was not necessary.
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Murphy, in his fundraising email, said Supreme Court justices must be held accountable.
“It’s outrageous,” Murphy said of Thomas’ story. “Congress cannot allow Supreme Court justices to so brazenly flout the conflict of interest rules that apply to all other federal judges.”
“My Supreme Court Ethics Act corrects this problem by requiring the Judicial Conference, which governs the federal courts, to create a binding code of conduct that applies to all federal justices and justices,” Murphy continued. “Support for this legislation is growing by the day in Congress, but we can’t lose momentum.”
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