Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing a potential appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it is unlikely he would even show up.
Chairman Dick Durbin said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he expects Thomas to reject the invitation to testify about gifts he accepted but did not disclose from a Texas billionaire.
The Illinois Democrat asked Chief Justice John Roberts last week to appear before the committee next month to discuss judicial ethics rules in the wake of a ProPublica report that found Thomas had gone on several luxury trips funded by Harlan Crow.
Durbin said that Roberts’ appearance before the committee would be voluntary and that there were no conversations about subpoenaing any of the justices. However, he urged Roberts to appear and explain what changes he will make.
“Why this Supreme Court, these nine justices, believe they are exempt from the basic standards of disclosure, I cannot explain. And I think [the] chief justice should appear before our committee and explain something or explain the changes that he’s going to make,” Durbin said.
Thomas has defended his decision to accept the trips he and his wife received from Crow without disclosing them to the court, saying he has “always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”
However, further reporting showed that Crow also bought property from Thomas, a real estate deal he also did not disclose. It is unclear what action may be taken against Thomas, if any.
The Supreme Court is usually thought of as a pillar of integrity and justice, but this controversy has presented a challenging situation for the court. The American people deserve to know the truth, and that’s why it is so important for the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate this matter thoroughly.
It is unclear if Justice Thomas will agree to appear before the committee, but if he does not, it could raise further questions about his ethical conduct. Regardless, the American people deserve to have their questions answered and know the truth.