Demand Progress

Clarence Thomas’ $270,000 luxury R.V. is why we need a Supreme Court Ethics Act!

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    Clarence Thomas’ $270,000 luxury R.V. is why we need a Supreme Court Ethics Act!

    Petition to Congress:
    We urge you to pass the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas loves his $270,000 luxury R.V. He’s repeatedly posed with the vehicle and praised how it gives him access to “regular” America. But a New York Times report just revealed that the R.V. was yet another undisclosed lavish gift from Thomas’ wealthy friends, in this case healthcare executive Anthony Welters.1

    Over the past few months, we learned of Thomas’ billionaire friends like Harlan Crow showering him with hundreds of thousands in other undisclosed gifts, paying private school tuition on his behalf, providing his mother rent-free housing, and secretly funneling money from a right-wing advocacy group to his wife.2

    Justice Thomas has never recused himself in Supreme Court cases involving his wealthy right-wing friends. This outrageous corruption cannot stand. Congress must take action now to rein in this out of control Court.

    Clarence Thomas’ quarter-million dollar R.V. is a Prevost Marathon, the “Rolls-Royce of motor coaches,” according to the New York Times. He first bought the vehicle in 1999 with the help of a mysterious “loan” from Welters that he never disclosed, possibly in violation of the law.1

    As one ethics lawyer told the New York Times, “justices just should not be accepting private loans from wealthy individuals outside their family.”1

    Clarence Thomas, of course, has little regard for ethical standards. Last month, we learned that several high-powered lawyers with Supreme Court business sent direct, cash payments to Justice Clarence Thomas’ aide via Venmo. Earlier this year, ProPublica revealed Justice Thomas’ corrupt relationship with billionaire and right-wing megadonor Harlan Crow.3

    Thomas is far from alone on the court in his corruption scandals. Justice Samuel Alito also accepted undisclosed luxury gifts and travel from hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. 4 Similar ethics scandals have now emerged about every conservative Supreme Court Justice.

    Alito recently told a Wall Street Journal interviewer that Congress has no authority to hold the Supreme Court to basic ethics standards, and Thomas continues to deny any ethical breaches. Despite what these corrupt Justices think, the Senate is finally moving forward with establishing a Supreme Court code of ethics. Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.

    Now we need to tell Congress to support the Act and impose ethics standards on this out-of-control court.


    1. New York Times, “Clarence Thomas’s $267,230 R.V. and the Friend Who Financed It,” August 5, 2023.
    2. Washington Post, “Judicial activist directed fees to Clarence Thomas’s wife, urged ‘no mention of Ginni,'” May 4, 2023.
    3. The Guardian, “Lawyers with supreme court business paid Clarence Thomas aide via Venmo,” July 12, 2023.
    4. ProPublica, “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court,” June 20, 2023.