Democrats Investigate Supreme Court Justice

Photo by Adam Szuscik on Unsplash

On Tuesday (June 27), a group of House Democrats called for an independent investigation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas following reports that the conservative justice received a generous gift from a major Republican donor, Harlan Crow.

In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, eighteen House Democrats, led by Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman (N.Y.), urged the Chief Justice to establish an independent investigative body to probe the alleged ethical lapses by the justices, emphasizing that they believed there should be a “substantial” investigation into Thomas.

The group also suggested that the High Court institute an ethics counsel to advise the justices about carrying out ethical disclosures and recusals.

In Tuesday’s letter, Goldman opined that it had “become abundantly clear” to lawmakers that the High Court didn’t have internal mechanisms that were “sufficient to prevent” either real or perceived “impropriety of its members or to hold to account justices who break ethics rules.”

Recently, Thomas has been under intense public scrutiny stemming from reports about luxury vacations that he received from Crow without disclosing them. It was also reported that Crow paid for the private school tuition of Thomas’s great-nephew and bought multiple properties owned by Thomas and his family.

Following Thomas’s scandal, Justice Samuel Alito also came under fire when it was revealed that he had accepted a fishing trip from GOP donor and billionaire hedge fund owner Paul Singer. Singer’s hedge fund later had business before the Court, which Alito presided over alongside other judges.

Goldman highlighted that although the Court hadn’t conducted “a proper investigation into allegations of misconduct by Justices Thomas and Alito,” the lawmakers knew Roberts had the ability “to do such an investigation when you desire.”

The group of House Democrats then pivoted to the Court’s “quick action” following the leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization opinion in May of last year.

While they acknowledged that the leak was a “serious matter that jeopardized the legitimacy of the Supreme Court,” the allegations against Thomas and Alito warrant similar investigation because they “similarly pose grave threats to the legitimacy of the Court.”