October 26, 2023

Whitehouse Statement on Justice Thomas Apparently Receiving Gifted RV Without Proper Disclosure

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Courts Subcommittee and member of the Senate Finance Committee, today released the following statement regarding the Finance Committee’s findings on the financing of Justice Thomas’s RV

“This should have been easy for Justice Thomas:  he could have simply disclosed this obvious gift from someone who is apparently a friend, and who seems not to be a litigant before the Court or part of the Leonard Leo and Federalist Society Court-fixer network.  But it took the diligence of Chairman Wyden and Senate Finance Committee investigators to unearth this story.  If Justice Thomas won’t even disclose this information, one wonders what the network of billionaires is hiding behind specious legal arguments about the Senate’s authority to investigate; there’s likely serious mischief afoot.”

Court fixer Leonard Leo and the billionaire benefactors surrounding the right wing of the Supreme Court have declined to provide substantive responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight requests regarding recently reported judicial ethics scandals.  Congress has a well-established role in oversight of the judiciary and updating ethics laws that apply to federal officials, including justices and judges.  Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act, which the justices are subject to, and created through statute the Judicial Conference, which administers that law.

“In effect, the billionaires are arguing that Congress can’t oversee how agencies Congress created are implementing laws Congress passed — a self-evidently preposterous argument,” said Whitehouse.  

Whitehouse’s Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act would require Supreme Court justices to adopt a code of conduct, create a mechanism to investigate alleged violations of the code of conduct and other laws, improve disclosure and transparency when a justice has a connection to a party or amicus before the Court, and require justices to explain their recusal decisions to the public.  The legislation was approved by the Judiciary Committee in July.

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921