He 'broke the law': Analysis torches Clarence Thomas amid bombshell corruption allegations
A new analysis is pointing out the extent of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' violations in regard to the luxury offerings he's received from Texas billionaire Harlan Crow.
The piece, written by Slate magazine's Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern, weighs in on the recent bombshell report published by ProPublica.
"This story is a perfect example, in miniature, of how Thomas’ network of benefactors ensure the justice’s billionaire lifestyle stays off the books," they wrote. "Paoletta testifies before Congress that ethics reforms are evil; Crow funds the Republican lawmakers who ensure ethics reforms don’t pass; and nobody knows the extent of Thomas’ unceasing stream of gifts until ProPublica reporters wrangle the details from yacht crews and flight records.
The writers also shared their reactions to some of the incriminating images of Thomas with conservative legal activist Leonard Leo.
"If there is a single image that captures this seedy state of affairs, it is a painting of Thomas hanging out with Leonard Leo (Federalist Society co-chair and judicial power broker) and Mark Paoletta (who has served as chief counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence and general counsel of Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget)," they wrote.
They also explained why the images should tell a real story about the political influence of dark money.
"Both are political operatives, though Crow assures us that they would never dare talk about Thomas’ work. This image should be enough to shock anyone into taking action against the spigot of dark money that flows directly from billionaire donors into the court, its justices, and their spouses’ pockets. Continuing to live as though there is nothing to be done about any of this is a choice. We make it every day."
Although many Republicans have sought to defend Thomas as he faces criticism over the report, the writers argue that the truth is simple: the high court justice broke the law.
"We align ourselves with the former view: Clarence Thomas broke the law, and it isn’t particularly close. The best argument in his defense is that the old definition of 'personal hospitality' did not require him to disclose transportation, including private flights. This reading works only by torturing the English language beyond all recognition. The old rule, like the statute it derives from, defined the term as hospitality that is 'extended' either 'at' a personal residence or 'on' their 'property or facilities.'”
They added, "A person dead-set on defending Thomas mightbe able to squeeze these yacht trips into this definition, arguing that, by hosting Thomas on his boat for food, drink, and sightseeing, Crow 'extended' hospitality 'on' his own property. But lending out the private jet for Thomas’ personal use? Come on."
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