Two appeals court justices refute the Democrats’ attempt to create a new scandal involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals disregarded the term “scandal” and stated that he did not believe Justice Thomas had done anything unethical.
At a gathering at Princeton University, Judge Hardiman and Judge James Ho of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals responded to questions regarding Justice Thomas.
“The thing that I thought was weird about the Justice Thomas thing is the ‘scandal,’ to use your word, there was no intimation at any time, ever, that his billionaire friend ever had any business before the Supreme Court. So, how’s he helping his friend? He’s not even in a position to help his friend because his friend had exactly zero cases in the Supreme Court,” Judge Hardiman said, responding to a student’s question.
“You know, I decide cases involving lawyers in Pittsburgh. And I know these lawyers, some of them are former law partners of mine. I belong to organizations with them, I go to lunch with them. Should I not hear their cases? If you have such suspicion about our integrity, you could really end up in a situation where judges can’t even do their jobs because at some point you’re attached to everybody,” he said.
According to ProPublica, the “billionaire friend” in question is Harlan Crow, who purportedly sent Justice Thomas lavish gifts.
“I think that’s a great answer,” Judge Ho responded, who is a former clerk for Justice Thomas at the Supreme Court, said. He said there was a difference between “an actual instance of corruption” and “the mere perception” of it.
“I think the appearance issue is absolutely important” because “the judiciary basically rests on its credibility” and therefore “it is absolutely vital to what we do that people believe in what we do,” the judge said.
In addition, a close associate of Justice Thomas asserted that there is ample evidence to refute claims that he frequently violated ethical standards.
This comes at a time when liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is facing criticism after it was revealed that her net worth has increased considerably since her appointment to the court.
According to financial disclosure documents, Sotomayor, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama, has amassed a modest fortune.
According to Fox News:
In 2007, the sum of Sotomayor’s total investments was between $50,001 and $115,000, according to her financial disclosure form for that year. She reported only two assets: a checking account and a savings account, both at Citibank.
In 2008, Sotomayor’s financial disclosures show she had the same two assets, this time totaling $15,001 to $65,000. The following year, during which Sotomayor was both nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, she held the same investments for the same range of value.
Since then, Sotomayor’s net worth has skyrocketed, putting her among the ranks of the nation’s millionaires. In 2021, her investments totaled somewhere between $1.5 million and $6.4 million, according to financial disclosure forms. Last year, investments were roughly the same, in between $1.6 million and $6.6 million.
Sotomayor’s yearly salary was about $180,000 as a federal appeals court judge before Obama nominated her, supplemented by about $25,000 a year from teaching at New York-area law schools. That salary went up several thousands of dollars upon becoming a Supreme Court justice.
With the exception of the chief justice, who earns just under $300,000, each justice is paid $285,400.
The income Sotomayor has earned from authoring books is a contributing factor to her vastly increased assets and net worth.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that her staff “prodded” public institutions that hosted the justice to purchase her memoir or children’s books. Since her appointment to the Supreme Court, she has earned at least $3.7 million from these works and continues to receive six-figure royalties annually.
Sotomayor’s publisher, Penguin Random House, has played a significant role in organizing her events, including pressuring public organizations to commit to purchasing a specific number of copies and requiring attendees to purchase books before receiving reservations.