(Washington) Judge Clarence Thomas, considered the most conservative of the American Supreme Court, faces new ethical questions after the ProPublica media revealed on Thursday that a conservative billionaire had paid for the private education of a member of the judge’s family.
Clarence Thomas had already found himself in the storm in early April, when ProPublica revealed that he had accepted, without declaring them, expensive gifts, including private jet flights or cruises on a megayacht, from the same billionaire , Harlan Crow.
In its Thursday article, ProPublica reports that in 2008, Clarence Thomas decided to send his teenage grandnephew — whom he had been raising with his wife “like a son” since he was six — to a private school whose fees tuition was over $6,000 a month.
But a bank statement from Hidden Lake Academy from July 2009 shows that tuition for the teenager that month was paid for by Harlan Crow’s company, Crow Holdings.
According to Christopher Grimwood, a former school official quoted by ProPublica, the payments went beyond that one month.
The American online media also reports that Justice Thomas, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1991, never reported these payments in his annual financial statements.
Real estate magnate, billionaire Harlan Crow is one of the largest donors to the Republican Party in the United States.
Asked by AFP, neither Crow Holdings nor Judge Thomas had responded immediately.
After the April revelations, some elected Democrats called for his “immediate resignation”.
He defended himself by 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.
The 74-year-old judge was not the only one to attract attention.
According to Politico, his conservative colleague Neil Gorsuch sold, just after his Supreme Court confirmation in 2017, a large property in Colorado to law firm director Greenberg Traurig, who regularly litigates cases in the high court.
Once one of the most respected institutions in the country, the American temple of law – which settles important societal debates like the death penalty or abortion – sees its star fade.
Appointed for life, its nine judges are the only federal judges to escape an explicit code of conduct.