WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – Following brand-new allegations about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, lawmakers on Capitol Hill question whether Thomas has been acting ethically during his years on the court.
Democratic lawmakers say they are keeping a close eye on all of the latest allegations against Thomas but say they’re still figuring out what action, if any, Congress can take.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin urges the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take action after new reports indicate that real estate billionaire Harlan Crow paid for the private school tuition of Justice Thomas’ nephew that Thomas himself said he raised as a son.
“The reputation of the Supreme Court is at stake here,” Sen. Dick Durbin said. “The credibility of the court, when it comes to its future decisions is at stake.”
As the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Durbin has been an outspoken critic following the allegations against Thomas that also include reports that Crow paid for the justice and his wife to take luxury vacations around the world.
Senator John Cornyn defends the Supreme Court justice.
“This is part of a 32-year campaign to discredit Clarence Thomas,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said. “There’s no indication at all that any of this had any impact on his official duties as a judge.”
However, that’s exactly what Democrats say they’re worried about and say the Supreme Court should adopt a new code of ethics. But getting that done will be difficult as Senator Dianne Feinstein has been absent from Congress and the Judiciary Committee for health issues.
Republicans are also unlikely to go along with that plan.
“In fact, they were on the offensive. They said that anyone who questions what he’s been doing with this Harlan Crow, is somehow prejudiced against him,” Sen. Durbin said.
Justice Thomas has not denied the allegations. Instead, he says his legal advisors told him he didn’t need to disclose the transactions.
On Friday morning, the Washington Post reported that conservative legal activists paid Thomas’ wife tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work but urged that Ginny Thomas’ name not be mentioned at all in the billing paperwork.