Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received hundreds of thousands in gifts

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted gifts value hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the last twenty years of his tenure, nearly ten times the quantity of gifts his fellow justices received throughout the same period, in accordance with a recent evaluation.

Thomas received 103 gifts totaling greater than $2.4 million between 2004 and 2023, in accordance with the justice reform group Repair the dish said a report on Thursday.

In contrast, Thomas' fellow judges accepted only 93 gifts totaling about $248,000 throughout the same period, in accordance with the nonprofit organization.

The lion's share of that value went to Thomas's conservative colleague, Samuel Alito. Fix the Court's evaluation found that Alito accepted 16 gifts totaling $170,095.

Fix the Court identified one other 101 “probable gifts” – with a complete estimated value of nearly $1.8 million – that Thomas received in the shape of free travel and accommodations from billionaire businessman Harlan Crow and on the exclusive Bohemian Grove club.

Including these gifts, Thomas's total haul over the past twenty years is value nearly $4.2 million.

Fix the Court's evaluation relies largely on investigative reporting by media outlet ProPublica last 12 months that focused on Thomas and Alito and sparked calls for ethics reform on the Supreme Court.

The group also considered data from the Congressional Record, judges' annual financial disclosures, other news sources and its own law clerk-led research.

The value and variety of gifts Thomas received also exceeded those of eight retired or deceased Supreme Court justices whose terms overlapped along with his service on the Court, which began in 1991.

The late Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who served on the court for greater than 34 years, received 73 gifts before her retirement in early 2006, placing her second behind Thomas in the whole variety of gifts.

But the whole value of O'Connor's gifts was lower than $36,000.

Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice who died in 2016 while on the court, accepted 67 gifts value about $210,000 during his tenure, which began in 1986.

The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whose profession on the Court spanned 33 years until 2005, accepted only six gifts totaling lower than $13,000.

“Supreme Court justices should not accept gifts, let alone the hundreds of multimillion-dollar freebies they have received over the years,” Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, said in an announcement.

“The ethics crisis at the court will only calm down when judges issue stricter rules on accepting gifts,” Roth said.

The Court found that the whole amounts it calculated for the worth of gifts were prone to be lower than the actual values ​​since the evaluation took into consideration the price of some gifts, equivalent to free travel or tickets to sporting events, on the expense of the lower limit.

The count can be based on some assumptions. For example, the group assumed the price of flying a non-public plane per hour was $10,000 and counted each leg of a round-trip flight as a separate donation.

The Supreme Court didn’t immediately reply to CNBC's request for comment on Fix the Court's findings.

ProPublica was the primary to disclose that Thomas had accepted luxury trips from major Republican donor Crow for years without declaring them in his financial statements, although ethics experts said he was required to achieve this.

Thomas said his judicial colleagues had told him that he didn’t need to disclose these travel costs.

Nevertheless, the evaluation provides recent material for the Supreme Court's increasingly vocal critics, who’re calling for reforms within the wake of a series of politically explosive rulings and ongoing ethics scandals.

The court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, made some concessions, including adopting a proper – but unenforceable – code of ethics in November.

With this document, the court desired to “clear up the misunderstanding” that the nine judges of the court “do not see themselves as bound by any ethical rules”.

The federal judiciary introduced recent rules this 12 months that require Supreme Court justices to evaluate the worth of Travel-related gifts on their financial disclosure forms.

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