Democratic lawmakers are seeking more information about the full extent of Mr. Crow’s gifts to Mr. Thomas. Following news reports that the judge failed to report private jet travel, real estate transactions and other gifts from Crowe over the years, the court is required to strengthen its ethics rules and prevent potential conflicts and dismissal decisions for judges. There are growing calls for greater transparency.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D.I.) said in a joint announcement. “It is essential that those with a stake in the court fully understand how undisclosed gifts can be used to gain private access to judges.”
Senate Democrats are backing a bill that would impose disclosure rules on courts as strict as those applied to members of both chambers of Congress. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that the court act independently as an independent branch of government to demonstrate to the public that it adheres to “the highest standards of conduct.”
Three other justices (Elena Kagan, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett) have said publicly in recent months that the court should or intends to adopt formal ethics. policy.
In May, Senate committee leaders asked Crow to provide an itemized list of gifts of $415 or more that he had given Thomas., This is the maximum amount allowed for gifts to federal judges, including judges, but it is not made public. Lawmakers also asked for a full accounting of the lodging and transportation expenses provided by Crowe to the judge and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. In response, Crowe’s lawyers sent a letter saying the committee had not identified a “legitimate legislative purpose” for the investigation and did not have the authority to investigate Crowe’s personal relationships with the judge. Ta.
Through negotiations, Crowe then offered the committee to provide answers to some of the requests for only the past five years, which senators argued was insufficient.
Clarence Thomas’ RV loan forgiven, Senate committee report says
Crowe said he never tried to influence Thomas’ decisions in court. He said Mr. Thomas did not think it necessary to publicize the free trip from his personal friend.
In a statement Monday, Mr. Crowe’s office said that Mr. Crowe said that “serious constitutional and privacy concerns have been submitted to the committee but remain ignored and unaddressed.” “Nevertheless,” he said, he provided extensive information to the committee. Crowe’s office argued that the committee has already passed a bill that lawmakers say requires the requested information.
“It is clear that this is nothing more than a stunt designed to undermine a sitting Supreme Court justice for ideological and political purposes,” Crowe’s office said in a statement.
Leo struck a defiant tone in a statement Monday night, saying he would not “give in to the vile, hateful liberal McCarthyism that seeks to destroy the Supreme Court simply because it follows the Constitution, not for any political purpose.” Ta.
The committee also announced Monday that it would vote on subpoenaing conservative donor Robin Arkley II. Arkley offered Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. a free fishing trip to Alaska organized by Leo in 2008, ProPublica reported. Mr. Alito defended his own decision not to disclose the trip in his annual financial report.
Federal ethics laws require executives in all branches of government, including Supreme Court justices, to file annual disclosures listing investments, gifts and outside income. The justices are under intense pressure from Democratic lawmakers and transparency advocates because they do not have an ethics policy that specifically applies to the nine justices.
“The Secretary may resolve this matter today and adopt a binding code of conduct,” Durbin and the White House added in a statement. “As long as he refuses to act, the Judiciary Committee will act.”
Separately, the Senate Finance Committee last week released an investigation into a loan Mr. Thomas took from a friend to buy the Prevost Marathon luxury motorcoach in 1999, a transaction reported by The New York Times. The paper first reported it. The committee’s Democratic staff said in a report that Mr. Thomas paid some interest on the $267,230 loan, but in 2008 his friend Anthony Welters reported that Mr. Thomas paid the principal amount. He said he had declared it settled without repaying a substantial portion, or perhaps some of it.