Supreme Court Ethics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Supreme Court Ethics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Supreme Court Cases

  • The Supreme Court is facing significant cases on abortion, presidential immunity, and the Chevron Defense precedent.

Public Trust in the Supreme Court

  • Public trust in the Supreme Court has dropped to a 50-year low due to unpopular decisions and ethical scandals involving justices accepting luxurious gifts and vacations without proper disclosure.

Ethics Concerns

  • Unlike other federal judges, Supreme Court Justices are exempt from the ethics code and are essentially self-regulated, leading to concerns about the appearance of impropriety and conflicts of interest.
  • Some justices have failed to disclose gifts and trips, including Justice Alito's fishing trip on a private jet provided by a hedge fund manager with cases before the court.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas has been under scrutiny for accepting lavish gifts and vacations from conservative billionaires, raising questions about his impartiality and potential conflicts of interest.

Justice Clarence Thomas's Undisclosed Gifts and Trips

  • ProPublica uncovered Clarence Thomas's undisclosed trips and gifts through photos and social media posts.
  • Thomas received lavish vacations, private jet flights, and other benefits from wealthy friends like Harland Crow, who owns a controversial collection of Nazi memorabilia.
  • Thomas failed to disclose these gifts and trips, which experts say violates judicial guidelines.
  • Crow also purchased properties in Savannah, including Thomas's childhood home, and paid for his grandnephew's private school tuition.
  • Thomas's motor home, which he frequently boasts about, was purchased with a loan from a wealthy friend that was later forgiven.

Conflicts of Interest and Recusal

  • Despite clear conflicts of interest, Thomas rarely recuses himself from cases, including those related to January 6th, in which his wife, Ginni Thomas, was actively involved in overturning the election results.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but Thomas did not recuse himself from cases related to January 6th.

Financial Support from Billionaires

  • Several billionaires have provided financial support to Thomas, including trips on private yachts and other gifts.
  • Thomas's views on certain legal doctrines have changed over time, potentially influenced by his relationships with wealthy individuals and organizations.

Crisis of Legitimacy

  • The Supreme Court is facing a crisis of legitimacy due to the perception that it is influenced by politics and money.

Proposed Solution

  • The host proposes a solution: offering Justice Thomas $1 million per year to resign from the Supreme Court, along with a luxury motor coach, as an incentive to leave the court.
  • Clarence Thomas is offered a million dollars a year and a condo on Wei if he resigns from the Supreme Court.
  • The offer is made to test who Clarence Thomas's real friends are.
  • Clarence Thomas has 30 days to decide whether to accept the offer.

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