Supreme court justice’s comment to Republican congressman in 2000 worried conservatives, according to ProPublica report
According to the most recent hard-hitting report on questionable ethics at the Supreme Court, ProPublica, Clarence Thomas told a Republican congressman that the justices of the United States Supreme Court should receive a pay raise or “one or more” would quit. This prompted “a flurry of activity” among right-wingers because his “importance as a conservative was paramount.”
Cliff Stearns, the Republican from Florida whom Thomas had a conversation with in the year 2000, stated to the newsroom of the non-profit organization, “We wanted to make sure that he felt comfortable in his job and that he was being paid reasonably.”
During that time period, a Democratic president named Bill Clinton would have proposed a successor for any justice who had resigned from their position. When the Senate was under Republican control, the confirmation process would have been carried out.
ProPublica reported that Thomas had a conversation with Stearns while he was on a flight after delivering a speech at Awakening, which was a “conservative thought weekend” that took place at Sea Island, Georgia, in January of 2000.
Awakening featured activities such as golf, shooting courses, and aromatherapy, in addition to panel discussions with politicians and businesses.
ProPublica stated that the event organizers were the ones who financed for Thomas’s trip. They also mentioned that the justice disclosed 11 free trips on his yearly disclosure form for that year, but he did not include the trip to Awakening, which is considered to be “an apparent violation of congressional disclosure law.”
As a result of ProPublica publishing a series of in-depth exposes, Thomas’s financial situation has been brought to the forefront of public attention this year, which has sparked an ethics crisis.
Among the gifts he accepted from Republican supporters, he neglected to declare the majority of them. These gifts included luxury travel and resort stays, school tuition, and the purchase of land.
Thomas, who is a staunch conservative and serves on a panel that is dominated by the right by a margin of 6-3, has been in his position since a confirmation in 1991 that was dominated by charges of sexual harassment.
In response to reports that were published by ProPublica and other publications, he has denied any misconduct and indicated that he will comply with the requirements of disclosure.
They have demanded that he resign or be impeached and removed from his position, both of which are extremely unlikely scenarios given that the court is now in the hands of conservatives and Republicans are in control of the House of Representatives and are running for the Senate.
The justice was reportedly having financial difficulties at the time that he was having his talk with Stearns, according to ProPublica. “Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed visiting with you on the flight back from Jacksonville to Dulles,” the congressman said in a letter that was uploaded on the website on January 11, 2000. The letter was dated 11 January 2000.
A bill that would increase the wages of members of the Supreme Court is something that I intend to investigate. As we both agreed, it is of great importance to the people of the United States to have the Constitution understood correctly. At this point, we need to have the appropriate incentives as well.
Using a statement from the philosopher Immanuel Kant, Stearns advised Thomas to “have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived.”
Some of the replies to the story that was published by ProPublica on Monday included the former host of MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, referring to Thomas as a “loyal judicial prostitute.”
While Stearns was speaking in the House, he also sought assistance from a lobbying firm. It was brought to the attention of judicial administration that Thomas had suggested that resignations might be impending. In his annual report, the Chief Justice of the United States at the time, William Rehnquist, stated that “the most pressing issue facing the judiciary: the need to increase judicial salaries.”
🚨Clarence Thomas’s salary complaints sparked rightwing fears he would resign
"Clarence Thomas told a Republican congressman that US supreme court justices should get a pay raise or ‘one or more’ would quit." @guardian.
— The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) December 18, 2023
A Republican senator from Kentucky named Mitch McConnell, who is now the minority leader, put forth the idea of lifting a restriction that prohibits justices from giving paid speeches. It was unsuccessful, and the wages of members of the Supreme Court have not changed, with the exception of keeping up with inflation.
However, another investigation from ProPublica stated that “during his second decade on the court, Thomas’ financial situation appears to have markedly improved.” An advance of $1.5 million was given to the justice for his memoir, and he also got presents from wealthy persons.
While Thomas was making a public appearance in June 2019, he was questioned about the wages of the court.
Thomas remarked, “Oh my goodness, I believe that it is sufficient.” My wife, Ginni Thomas, who is an activist belonging to the right-wing, and I are doing well. Even though we don’t live a lavish lifestyle, we are doing well.
It was reported by ProPublica that a few weeks later, Thomas boarded the private jet belonging to [the mega-donor Harlan] Crow in order to travel to Indonesia. This was Crow’s 162 foot boat, and he and his wife were on their way to an island cruise for their vacation.
Caroline Ciccone, president of the monitoring organization Accountable.US, stated in a statement that the ProPublica article demonstrated once more how Thomas “has long seen his position on our nation’s highest court as a way to upgrade his own lifestyle.”
“When the court itself was not providing him with the luxury perks he desired, his billionaire benefactor social circle stepped in to make it happen,” Ciccone said referring to the situation.