Cruises on a megayacht, private jet flights… The most conservative of the judges of the American Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, has accepted for more than twenty years many luxury stays from a billionaire known for his donations to the party Republican, says a press survey published Thursday.
Reactions to what was considered to raise ethical questions were quick to multiply on the side of the Democrats, an elected official calling for his immediate resignation.
The online investigative magazine ProPublica says it interviewed “dozens of people” and went through internal documents to prove that the magistrate had accepted these largesse from businessman Harlan Crow without declaring them .
“Amazing” revelations, estimated in a press release the association Fix The Court, which campaigns for a reform of the Supreme Court, temple of American law.
This confirms, according to her, the need for implementation of stricter rules on gifts received by its members.
The friendship between the judge, who has the most seniority in the Court, and the real estate magnate had already made the subject of a 2011 New York Times article, which called it “unusual and ethically sensitive.”
It is not the first time that Mr Thomas' name has been linked to controversy: his wife Ginni, a lobbyist and activist, was involved in Donald Trump's crusade to prove – wrongly – that the 2020 presidential election will had been stolen.
Once the text messages and emails she sent for this purpose were revealed, the left had castigated an apparent conflict of interest and called on her husband to recuse himself from any electoral file.< /p>
Nominated by Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991, he was confirmed despite accusations of sexual harassment made by a former aide. He has always denied them, saying he was the victim of a “high-tech lynching”.
In its investigation, ProPublica indicates that Clarence Thomas goes almost every summer to a property of the businessman in the Adirondacks, New York, and that he accompanied him to “Bohemian Grove” in California, an elite all-male club.
“To preserve what remains of the people's respect for the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Thomas must immediately resign,” tweeted left-wing lawmaker Hank Johnson.
For his part, the ' influential Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has argued that 'the highest court in the land should not have the lowest ethical standards'.
The revelations 'show, yet again, that the judges of the Court supreme must be held to a binding code of conduct, like all other federal judges,” he said. “The ProPublica article is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”
Statements by the magistrate in a documentary, in which he presented himself as a man of the people, remade surface Thursday.
“I have no problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States (…), I prefer to cross rural areas,” he said. . “I prefer motorhomes. I prefer Walmart (supermarket) parking lots to beaches and things like that”.