Remarkable new reporting reveals yet more decades-long corruption and law-breaking by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Also: 'Uncharted waters'?; And Randy Rainbow's latest...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2023, 4:34pm PT  

New revelations of lawlessness by Clarence Thomas (and his wife), literally, never seem to end, as discussed yet again on today's BradCast, on the heels of a stunning new report today detailing years of previously-unknown lawlessness by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

  • We have, been reporting on the scofflaw Thomases (both the corrupt far-right activist Justice and his corrupt, far-right activist wife "Ginni") for well over a decade now. Way back in January of 2011 The BRAD BLOG documented how he had "knowingly and willfully" violated the rule of law by failing to report his wife's annual salary of $120,000 per year from the far-right Heritage Foundation on his annual disclosure forms. The forms made clear that falsifying that section of the report, where he was supposed to list "Non-Investment Income" of his wife, was a violation of the law. He checked the box reading "NONE". Once he was eventually called out for it, after some 20 years of falsifying his annual disclosure forms, he quietly amended his filings. He was otherwise never held to account. (Documents supporting these allegations are available via the link above.)
  • Later that same year, in June, we reported on what was described at the time as "Judicial Insider Trading", after it was discovered that Ginni had quietly opened up a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization back in 2009, in the months just after her husband had heard oral argument in the infamous Citizens United v. FEC case at the Supreme Court. After hearing the case, but prior to the release of the Court's opinion in favor of Citizens United, Ginni's activist group had received more than half a million dollars that the eventual ruling in the Citizens United case, in 2010, would allow to be used for political, election-related activities without disclosure. Ginni drew a salary from those funds as well. (As we also reported at the time, Clarence had failed to recuse himself from the case, despite having received the benefit of some $100,000 in TV ads from the Citizens United group in support of his own wildly controversial and incredibly contentious Senate confirmation back in 1991.)
  • And today, some remarkable reporting at ProPublica by Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski reveals that Clarence Thomas has been the recipient of huge undisclosed gifts in the form of luxury vacations via private planes and superyachts around the world, courtesy of real estate magnate and major Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Thomas' failure to report those trips, at least one of which would have cost at least $500,000 for just the cost of the plane and yacht alone, according to the report, is not only unethical for a member of the U.S. Supreme Court but, as experts cited in the article and elsewhere also point out, it is also unlawful.

    As Slate's legal reporter and Supreme Court expert Mark Joseph Stern tweets today about just one of the trips documented by ProPublica's stunning report, "Just to be clear here, it was a flagrant violation of federal law for Thomas to accept this wildly expensive luxury vacation without reporting it as a gift --- his conduct isn't just unseemly, it's illegal." Stern goes on to add in the same thread, "Thomas has long shown contempt for any law that applies to him."

    Yup. As we've been trying to point out, and report on, and document for years both here at The BRAD BLOG and on air. The extravagance of the gifts from Crow --- who was apparently the person who who gave $550,000 to Ginni's organization in late 2009 --- is somewhat gob-smacking, as we detail today.

    For the record, the graphic at the top of this article is a detail from a portrait by artist showing Thomas and Crow enjoying cigars at Crow's private, 105-acre lakeside resort in upstate New York where, ProPublica reports, Thomas has been a guest every summer for years, along with fellow guests from major companies and Republican think tanks who frequently file amicus briefings with the Court. The painting hangs inside of Crow's Adirondacks resort named Camp Topridge.

    Be sure to check out Kaplan, Elliott and Mierjeski full report.

  • Also today, a few trenchant thoughts, courtesy of Daily Kos contributor "Dartagnan" on the "uncharted waters" of Donald Trump's first (but unlikely last) criminal indictment this week. This one including 34 felony charges for having paid hush-money to a porn star to improve the odds of his 2016 Presidential election, along with his year's worth of cover-up checks written from the Oval Office thereafter in 2017.
  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a boatload of important initiatives being taken right now --- with very little coverage from the media --- by the Biden Administration, including boosting clean energy projects in Coal Country; investing in the U.S. manufacturing of battery-powered heavy duty trucks; cracking down on toxic mercury pollution by coal-fired power plants; and tackling the enormous job of replacing dangerous lead water pipes around the country.
  • And, finally, we close today with a much-needed, long-overdue, hilarious new tune from the inimitable musical satirist, Randy Rainbow...


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