CLC Seeks Release of Judicial Panel’s Response to Justice Thomas Complaints
Washington, D.C. – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) sent a letter to the Judicial Conference, calling on this committee of federal judges to immediately release the Report of the Proceedings from their September 12, 2023 meeting – something they have thus far failed to do.
This report should include the Financial Disclosure Committee’s response to multiple requests, from last April and August, for the Judicial Conference to refer to the U.S. Attorney General evidence that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose substantial gifts received over 20 years.
The Judicial Conference has the authority to refer the Justice Thomas matter to the U.S. Attorney General, in what appears to be violations of the Ethics in Government Act by Justice Thomas that could potentially lead to civil and criminal penalties.
Kedric Payne, Vice President, General Counsel and Senior Director for Ethics at Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and former Deputy Chief Counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, issued the following statement:
“The public has a right to know that every Justice serving on the Supreme Court is doing so in the interests of all, and not on behalf of just wealthy special interests. The Judicial Conference must make recent proceedings from its Financial Disclosure Committee public so that we know how this enforcement body will respond to Justice Thomas’s failure to comply with federal disclosure laws for over two decades.”
The Financial Disclosure Committee was expected to address the issue of Justice Thomas’s undisclosed gifts at their bi-annual meeting in September 2023, in response to CLC’s April requests for the Judicial Conference to enforce the disclosure requirements. But the meeting minutes that are usually disclosed within two-months of a meeting have been inexplicably delayed– which is concerning given that ethical woes among Supreme Court justices have captured national attention.
At a time when public faith in the nation’s highest court is at an all-time low, the Judicial Conference needs to act swiftly to release information on what their next steps regarding Justice Thomas’s ethics violations will be. Otherwise, wrongdoing by Supreme Court Justices risks being further normalized at the expense of transparency around who is shaping justices’ legal decision making – which would be to the detriment of our democracy.