The Leadership Conference Calls on Congress to Act in Response to Reports of Justice Clarence Thomas Failing to Disclose Lavish Gifts

Courts News 04.6.23

Contact: Rachel Hooper, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after reporting from ProPublica showed Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose lavish gifts:

“Supreme Court justices are powerful people who have lifetime appointments and who make decisions impacting the lives of all people in America. It is an institution that must be above reproach. Sadly, several news stories have raised questions about the very integrity of the nation’s highest court. Today, we read yet another deeply troubling account about a sitting Supreme Court justice. Reporting by ProPublica suggests Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has failed to disclose lavish gifts he’s received from billionaire Harlan Crow. Despite its incomparable power, the Supreme Court is the only federal court that has no binding ethical code of conduct.

“We renew our call for Congress to work swiftly to modernize and strengthen our courts, including accountability to ethical rules. Congress should immediately pass ethics reform legislation that includes an extension of the Code of Conduct for United States judges to apply to Supreme Court justices, in addition to further necessary transparency measures. This is long overdue.

“We welcome and commend Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Durbin’s commitment to taking action in the wake of this newest reporting. In addition to creating a binding code of ethics, oversight efforts from members of Congress are critically important, as their constituents deserve a federal judiciary and federal judges and justices who are fair, who instill public trust in the court’s decisions, and who understand the broad impacts of their actions both on and off the bench. We urge additional oversight efforts to address this urgent issue.

“We need our courts to protect the rights of all of us, and we need to be able to trust that judges and justices are approaching this important mandate without bias and free of undue influence. Our communities depend on federal courts, including the Supreme Court, and the jurists who serve on them to fairly administer justice — and we must do everything to ensure that they do.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit