(LibertySociety.com) – Roger Severino, an attorney and policy expert from The Heritage Foundation, is speaking up regarding the recent report from ProPublica about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his travels with a lifelong friend. “This is politics. Plain and simple,” claimed Severino in an interview with Fox News Digital. He alleged that Democrats are “grasping at straws” because they are unhappy with recent decisions by the Supreme Court that take an originalist stance on the Constitution.
Severino also said Supreme Court justices have always accepted hospitality gifts from friends that are not required to be disclosed, claiming that Justice Breyer took over 200 trips during his time serving on the highest court. He also explained Justice Thomas has never been accused of being influenced by his friend’s hospitality, as he makes his decisions in cases based on the Constitution. Severino also called out the alleged hypocrisy of Democrats, as some left-leaning Justices have engaged in activities that could possibly influence their decisions.
Severino went on to say that just because Justice Thomas’ friend, Harlan Crow, is very successful and has lots of money, it doesn’t mean that he cannot be friends with him. Experts that were cited in the ProPublica article admonished Justice Thomas, but some that have commented on the report believe that he did nothing wrong. Stephen Gillers, who is an ethics expert at New York University School of Law, agrees with Roger Severino that Justice Thomas was correct not to report anything that would be considered personal hospitality. He said that trips are only required to be reported if they are paid for by a business.
Shortly after the report was released, Justice Thomas responded, maintaining that he has always reported what was required, and that he was advised that personal vacations with friends did not need to be reported. Justice Thomas and Harlan Crow have been friends for over 25 years and have taken many family vacations together. Harlan Crow also released a statement after the report was released, stating that he has not ever discussed any type of cases that were pending or tried to influence Justice Thomas in any type of way.
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