A story from the L.A. Times reports that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received over $40,000 in gifts from 1998 to 2003. Some of those gifts included $1,200 worth of tires and a $5,000 personal check to "help pay a relative's education expenses." The Peach finds these "gifts" to be somewhat disturbing, considering in 2005 Justice Thomas is expected to make nearly $200,000 for his bench job alone.
When asked to comment on the gifts, Mark Harrison, head of the American Bar Association's Commision on the Moral Code of Judicial Conduct, had this to say:
"Why would someone do that-- give a gift to Clarence Thomas? Unless they are family members or really close friends, the only reason to give gifts is to influence the judge."The Peach has also discovered that one of these extravagant contributions came from Harlan Crow, whose other gift-giving activities included a donation last summer of $25,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry.
The next highest "accepter of gifts" was Sandra Day O'Connor, who received a paltry $5,800 during the same time period.
The SCLM has already failed miserably to shine a rigorous spotlight on Supreme misconduct when it allowed Justice Scalia to go shoot ducks with Dick Cheney with total impunity. The Peach can only hope that Justice Thomas' flagrant disregard for the ethical rules of his profession will arouse a little more scrutiny. What could be more important to the preservation of our democracy than investigating the possibility that the Supreme Court could be transformed into a corrupt rubber-stamping machine for Bush administration interests and policies?