"Gifts," my eye

The recent stories about all the "gifts" that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has received from billionaire businessmen over the years make my blood boil. Senator Gatsby Wyden wants to make it seem like the judge is cheating on his taxes, but as I've written a couple of times, that's not the real issue.

The real issue is whether these are really "gifts," or bribes. Maybe not bribes in specific cases, although that is certainly possible, but benefits that the "donors" are bestowing on Thomas to convince him to stay on the Court, voting the way they like, until the undertakers carry him out. They're getting something for their money, and I can't believe it's just "owning the libs."

As far as I can tell, none of these guys knew anything about Clarence until he became Supreme Court Justice Thomas, thanks to Bush Sr. That's a good indication that it's Thomas's position of influence, and not his lovable character, that is the motivation for the millions of dollars' worth of freebies that the industry and finance guys are relentlessly showering on him and his insurrectionist wife.

Don Fox, the former general counsel of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the senior ethics official in the executive branch, said, “It’s just the height of hypocrisy to wear the robes and live the lifestyle of a billionaire.” Taxpayers, he added, have the right to expect that Supreme Court justices are not living on the dime of others.

Fox, who worked under both Democratic and Republican administrations, said he advised every new political appointee the same thing: Your wealthy friends are the ones you had before you were appointed. “You don’t get to acquire any new ones,” he told them.

The Supreme Court recently slapped together a code of ethics for itself – after nearly 250 years, I guess maybe it was time – but the rules have no enforcement mechanism, short of impeachment, and apparently the individual Justices are free to disregard them without any real consequences. They are the American kings and queens, pretty much above the law that they apply to everyone else in government.

That has to change. Congress and the President need to do what Chief Justice John Roberts won't, or can't, do. If you wear the black muumuu, you don't get to make billionaire "friends" and sponge off them your entire career on the bench, regardless of whether or not you disclose the "gifts" (which Thomas frequently doesn't do, anyway). I'm sure most of the judges in the country agree.

And one more thing: I see several former Bush soldiers out there in the "Never Trump" camp, acting like they're the voice of reason compared to Orange Caligula. They'll get nowhere with me. They were a blight when they had the reins. The installation of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court is a pretty good Exhibit A.


  1. Congress is allowed to trade on insider information, like NVIDIA, which has made them millionaires. Add in the money they get from "donations" and it should be no surprise they pass the worst legislation possible. The whole system is dirtier than a 3rd world open pit sewer. If they ever leave office (very rare) they get to take a big salary with perks working as a lobbyist. The Supremes are just trying to get in all the action.

    1. But it’s not the Supremes. It’s just Clarence Thomas. He’s the worst of them all by orders of magnitude.

    2. Justice Breyer’s more than 230 trips for events—63 of them outside the U.S.—including the 17 trips the Pritzker family’s Architecture Foundation paid for Justice Breyer to take to London, Paris, Beijing and Copenhagen. Justice Kennedy and his wife traveled to Europe many summers for a month to teach seminars.
      Or the $1 million prize the Berggruen Institute awarded Ginsburg in 2019, which she distributed to her favored charities.

    3. Thanks for proving my point.

  2. This discussion reminds me of a playground argument among adolescents


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