The Supreme Court of the United States holds the highest court position in the country’s judiciary system, and its Judges are typically regarded as some of the most upright public servants in the system.However, recent revelations suggest that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may be guilty of both tax evasion and questionable ethical decisions over the past several years. Authorities are now investigating the allegations.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Thomas has been a justice with the Supreme Court Justice for the last 32 years since he was nominated by then-president George H. W. Bush.

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Thomas is the court’s longest-serving, most conservative member. While other justices have come and gone, he has stayed and by all accounts has remained the same.  

In Trouble With The Law Before 

During his thirty year tenure as a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas has faced a few challenges. Most frequently, he faced struggles with forging positive relationships with his peer justices.

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Before Thomas was elected for his position, he was charged with a sexual harassment by a former colleague. Despite this he still was awarded his position with the Supreme Court. 

Gifts Clarence Thomas Has Received `

Thanks to an in depth investigation, it is now known by the public that Thomas has received school tuition for his children, money for a high-end recreational vehicle, and private flights around the world.

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A few reports also say that gifts were given specifically to supplement Thomas’s minimal salary as a Supreme Court Justice, if that is in fact the case that money would definitely be taxable.  

Under Investigation Again 

Thomas is under investigation once again, but this time it is for tax evasion and questionable ethical practices.

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It is alleged that Thomas has been hiding that he has been receiving significantly valuable gifts  from supportive billionaires over the past few years. Some are saying these “gifts” not only should be taxed but also violate an understood code of morality that public servants are expected to follow. 

Living The Luxury Life 

In addition to this it has been confirmed that Thomas has been given multiple free luxury vacations from those that support him. Though, the judge claims these trips were given by friends out of the kindness of their hearts.

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Clarence Thomas stated, “As friends do, we have joined them on several family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them.”

Gifts Used As Bribes

However, it remains uncertain whether the untaxed presents were just friendly gifts or if they were being given as a way to bribe him.

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A law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, Brian Galle explained, “If there are in fact people saying more or less, ‘We’re offering these goodies to the justice so that he will stay in his role’. . . it sounds like it would be taxable income for him.”   

Thomas Failed To Report His “Gifts” To The IRS 

The initial concern arises with the new information that Thomas never reported his elaborate and valuable gifts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) 

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Even if the gifts were just simple gestures, the judge would still need to pay taxes on them, period. 

Denies Gifts Altered His Decisions As A Supreme Court Justice

Naturally, Thomas denied any of the gifts had altered his decisions or court rulings.

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He stated, none of his friends who offered him tuition, money, flights, or vacations had “business before the Court.” 

Will He Go To Jail If Convicted 

While the allegations are serious in nature, the only true threat for Thomas is that he will owe the IRS a significant sum of money in back taxes, and in the worst case scenario he will be removed from his position in the court.

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Despite all of this it is highly unlikely that Thomas will ever see a day behind bars, even if he is convicted of accepting and hiding expensive gifts or even bribes.

IRS Continues Investigation 

As of March 2024, Clarence Thomas hasn’t been officially charged with any crimes as of March 2024. However, this doesn’t mean that he will avoid this outcome in the future.

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Not reporting the entirety of one’s income is considered a serious crime, so the IRS and other government entities will continue to investigate until they make a decision on whether they want to charge him or not.  

If Found Guilty Of Similar Crimes Other Judges Will Be Removed 

While it is unclear what will come of the situation with Thomas, some are arguing he is already experiencing a sort of favoritism. Any other judge who was charged with the same crimes would be charged almost immediately and certainly be removed from their position.

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A lecturer at Syracuse University’s College of Law, David Cay Johnston explained, “What Clarence Thomas has done would result in not only any judges in America being removed from the bench, but there is a good chance it would result in criminal prosecution for income tax fraud and for false filings in his mandatory financial ethics disclosure statements.”

It’s Common Practice 

An organization called Watchdog reported in 2019 that justices have taken at least 1,306 trips they were reimbursed for since 2004.

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Justices across the political spectrum have accepted trips, lodging, food expenses, and transportation.   

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The now deceased liberal Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsgberg, agreed to a trip in 2018  that was paid for in full by billionaire Morris Khan.

Source: Wikimedia/Supreme Court of the United States, Photographer: Steve Petteway [1]

Khan paid for Ginsberg to take a trip to Israel where she received an award from the Genesis Prize Foundation. What makes this situation even worse is that just the year prior Khan had been involved in business with the court.  

Stephen Breyer

It is estimated that Between the years of 2004 to 2016, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer accepted and took over 225 paid trips.

Source: Wikimedia/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Photographer: Steve Petteway

One of these trips was an exclusive trip to one of the islands on Nantucket, the flight was paid for by billionaire David Rubenstein. 

Antonin Scalia

Conservative Justice Anton Scalia, who passed away 2016 allegedly took at least 258 trips that were paid for during the time he was on the court. It is reported that these trips were paid for by private sponsors.

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Scalia was on one of these trips at Cibolo Creek Ranch resort in West Texas when he passed away. 

Neil Gorsuch

In a report from Politico, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a property he had been trying to sell for a while just nine days after his Supreme Court confirmation.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Senator Luther Strange

The property ended up being purchased by the CEO of a law firm that was connected to several cases that had come before the Supreme Court in the past. 

Disclosures By The Justice Are Vague

Critics have scrutinized the disclosures made by Supreme Court justices as being extremely vague. The gifts section of these disclosures seems to be fairly unclear. 

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For example, the disclosures don’t include an estimated monetary value for the services justices are given.

Salaries Of The Supreme Court Justice’s

It may be a bit perplexing to most as to why Supreme Court justices would take these gifts when they are paid so well.

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In 2021 Supreme Court Justices made $268,000 per year, with the chief justice making $280,500.  

Demands For Transparency

Executive director of Fix the Court, Gabe Roth, aims to increase the transparency of the Supreme Court to the American public.

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Roth said in 2019,“Once again, the justices took dozens of trips across the country and around the world last year in which a third party paid for their dining, airfare, and accommodations, with the public left in the dark about how lavish these trips may have been.” 

Environment Of Dark Money

Against the backdrop of Supreme Court justices filing unclear disclosures and accepting luxurious gifts is a growing awareness of hidden money in US politics.

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Organizations like ProPublica, the New York Times, and the Lever uncovered the largest secret politician donation in American history in 2022. It is reported that a secret $1.6 billion payment to a Republican political group went undisclosed because of American tax laws.

Court Has Refused Appeals For Transparency

While certain individuals call for greater transparency in justice financial disclosures, some justices have expressed resistance to these suggestions. In 2006 Republican Senator Chuck Grassley proposed the creation of an inspector general position to oversee the Supreme Court justices.

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Liberal Justice Ginsberg compared the suggestion to the USSR under Joseph Stalin. “Stalinism, saying that such oversight ‘is a really scary idea’ that ‘sounds to me very much like how the Soviet Union was.” 

Trust In The Supreme Court Is Declining 

Situations like the one involving Thomas and other justices alike are contributing to the increasing distrust that Americans have for the court.

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A Gallup poll in 2022 found that confidence in the US Supreme Court dropped to a historic low. Only 25% of Americans expressed having confidence in the Supreme Court. The situation definitely needs to change if the court wants to regain the trust of the American people.