Clarence Thomas, in Financial Disclosure, thanks Harlan Crow’s 2019 trips

Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday acknowledged additional luxury trips he accepted from a conservative billionaire, changing a previous financial disclosure to reflect trips he took to an Indonesian island and to a secret men-only club in the redwoods of northern California.

The trips, taken in 2019, were revealed earlier by ProPublica, but this is the first time Judge Thomas has included them in his financial disclosures.

Other Supreme Court justices have reported on their gifts, travels, and money earned from books and teaching. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said she received four concert tickets worth about $3,700 from Beyoncé and $10,000 worth of artwork for her room from the artist and musician of Alabama Lonnie Holley.

The financial disclosures, released annually, are one of the few public records available about judges’ lives, providing selected details about their activities outside the court. The steady pace of revelations about ties between some judges and wealthy donors has only intensified interest in these reports, particularly after the revelation that Justice Thomas had accepted luxury trips and gifts from friends billionaires for decades.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was granted a continuance this year, said the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which provides support to the federal court system and manages financial records. This corresponds to his usual practice. According to Fix the Court, an advocacy group criticizing the court’s lack of transparency, it delayed filing its disclosure for more than a decade.

Last year, Justices Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. requested and were granted extensions when filing their disclosure forms. Neither cited a reason for requesting a delay.

When his form was made public, Judge Thomas included an unusual addendum, a statement defending his acceptance of gifts from Harlan Crow, a Texas real estate magnet and donor to conservative causes. He had “inadvertently omitted” information on previous forms, said the statement, which also sought to justify his decision to travel by private jet. He said he was advised to avoid commercial travel after the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court, under growing pressure and intense public scrutiny, adopted its first ethics code in November. Judges on lower federal courts have long been bound by a code, but the Supreme Court has never been subject to these requirements because of its special constitutional status.

The lack of an enforcement mechanism or ethics complaints process has nonetheless drawn criticism, as has the absence of specific restrictions on gifts, travel or real estate transactions.

However, the nine-page code warns that members of the Supreme Court should not participate in activities that “detract from the dignity” of their work, interfere with a judge’s ability to carry out his or her official duties , “undermine the impartiality of the judge” or “lead to frequent disqualifications. »

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