Senate Committee Discloses More Free Trips Taken by Justice Thomas

The new information was provided by GOP donor Harlan Crow who was under a subpoena in a congressional investigation.
Senate Committee Discloses More Free Trips Taken by Justice Thomas
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) questions a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in Washington on Sept. 11, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
Matthew Vadum

The Senate Judiciary Committee on June 13 released new information about flights and excursions that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took for which Republican donor Harlan Crow paid.

Justice Thomas previously said he was advised by colleagues that “this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends … was not reportable.”

Some of the data points were not previously disclosed by the court’s longest serving justice.

The information was provided to the committee by Mr. Crow, a Texas billionaire, who is a longtime friend of Justice Thomas. Mr. Crow handed over the information after the committee subpoenaed him last fall as part of its investigation into gifts made to members of the nation’s highest court.

The announcement by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the committee, comes as Democrats have been ratcheting up pressure on Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, the court’s two most conservative members. The escalation in tactics against the conservative jurists began soon after the court’s June 2022 decision, written by Justice Alito and joined by Justice Thomas, that overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), finding there was no constitutional right to abortion and returning the regulation of the procedure to the states.

Democrats say both Republican-appointed justices are biased in favor of former President Donald Trump, a Republican, and should be recused from two Trump-related election subversion cases that have been argued and are now being deliberated by the court.

Both justices have received gifts from outside parties without initially disclosing them, which Democrats say is evidence of corruption. Republicans counter that neither justice broke the law and there is no evidence that the gifts influenced either justice’s conduct on the bench.

The information Mr. Durbin made public consists of free travel that Mr. Crow gave Justice Thomas that was omitted from the justice’s financial disclosures, including the amendment that the justice filed last week to his 2019 financial disclosure report.

The committee expects to release a report on its investigation later this summer.

The new information includes private jet travel in May 2017 from St. Louis, Missouri, to Kalispell, Montana, and a return flight to Dallas, along with private jet travel in March 2019 from the nation’s capital to Savannah, Georgia, and back. There was also private jet travel in June 2021 from Washington to San Jose, California, and back.

The documents also showed private jet travel for a July 2019 trip to Indonesia; an eight-day yacht excursion for a July 2019 trip to Indonesia; and private jet travel for a July 2019 trip to Santa Rosa, California, “all of which Thomas failed to disclose in his amendment to his 2019 financial disclosure report last week,” Mr. Durbin’s committee said in a written statement.

Mr. Crow’s documents also “show different dates for the July 2019 Indonesia trip, further calling into question the accuracy of the details Justice Thomas decides to disclose,” the statement indicated.

The committee also pointed to a recent report by Fix The Court, a left-wing activist group, which found that Justice Thomas has accepted almost $4.2 million worth of gifts over two decades on the court.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Supreme Court’s ethical crisis is producing new information—like what we’ve revealed today—and makes it crystal clear that the highest court needs an enforceable code of conduct, because its members continue to choose not to meet the moment,” Mr. Durbin said in a statement.

Justice Alito said last year: “No provision in the Constitution gives [Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”

The new information was released after Senate Republicans blocked consideration on June 12 of the Democrat-sponsored Supreme Court ethics reform bill.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Justice Thomas and Mr. Crow for comment.