(Washington) The head of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, indicated on Tuesday that he would refuse to testify before Congress after widespread controversy over ethical issues involving his peers, including Justice Clarence Thomas.

Cruises on a mega-yacht, private jet flights… Judge Thomas, the most conservative of the Court, has been at the heart of a controversy since revelations about the largesse he accepted from the businessman Harlan Crow, without declaring them.

John Roberts, who had been invited to testify on May 2 before the Senate, cited “concerns related to the separation of powers and the importance of preserving the independence of the judiciary”, in a missive addressed to the Judiciary Committee of the Senate.

The court leader, himself part of the court’s conservative majority, also attached a copy of the Supreme Court’s ethical guidelines and a statement signed by the nine wise men in which they “reaffirm and reiterate the principles and fundamental ethical practices”.

“Revelations about judges failing to meet expected ethical standards have continued to grow,” Senate Judiciary Committee chief Dick Durbin warned last week in the letter asking Judge Roberts to bear witness.

Clarence Thomas defended himself from any deliberate abuse, assuring that the rules governing declarations around this type of stays had changed and that Mr. Crow had no case pending before the Supreme Court.

This is not the first time that Mr. Thomas’ name has been linked to controversy: his wife Ginni, a lobbyist and conservative activist, was involved in Donald Trump’s crusade to prove – wrongly – that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him.

Once revealed the text messages and emails she sent for this purpose, the left had castigated an apparent conflict of interest and called on her husband to recuse himself from any electoral file.

Nominated by Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Clarence Thomas was confirmed despite accusations of sexual harassment made by a former aide, Anita Hill. He has always denied them, calling himself the victim of a “high-tech lynching”.

Since the recent revelations of this largesse, some elected Democrats have called for his “immediate resignation”.

Conservative judge Neil Gorsuch is also at the heart of a controversy, the site Politico having revealed that he had sold just after his confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2017 a large property in Colorado to the director of the law firm Greenberg Traurig who regularly litigates cases in the high court.