Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Accepted Art Gifts

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Accepted Art Gifts From Billionaire Harlan Crow, the ProRepublica Journalistic Investigation Shows.

Apr 13, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Judge


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received art gifts from Harlan Crow. Crow is also a donator of the Republican party. Overall, journalists from ProPepublica carried out this investigation. Art gifts are not the only thing justice received from this billionaire. There are also vacations and visits to his yacht.  This has been going on for decades.


Supreme Court Justice’s Various Gifts

Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States. Source: Wikiepdia


When it comes to art, Judge Thomas received a portrait of him and his wife, Virgina Thomas. The artists who painted it was Sharif Tarabay. The portrait also comes from Crow. Also, there is one more portrait. In this one, the judge is talking while an African-American statue is in the background. In this case, it is not clear from whom the gift comes.


The artworks are created in a hyper-realistic style, complete with the brightness and crisp texture of a smartphone photograph. Among the donations are some very expensive gifts. Crow is also a major donor to the Judge Foundation at Yale. The name of the foundation is “Justice Thomas Portrait Fund”. Crow donated $105,000. The ProRepublica journalists learned this information through taxes.


Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas


This is not the end. Crow also donated a bronze statue. Thomas’ eighth-grade teacher was a Catholic nun named Sister Mary Virgilio Reidy, which the statue depicts. The statue lies in the New York City’s outlying areas. Sister Mary Virgilius Reidy looks over two young black children while mounted on a granite platform, gazing intently into the boy’s eyes.

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What Other Professionals Think of His Actions?

Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States. Source: Wikiepdia


Thomas did reveal one present, a $19,000 bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass, which was likewise of a religious nature. There are few limitations on the types of presents that justices can accept. Judges at the federal level hold a special position of public trust. They are employed for life. Also, a benefit created to shield them from the demands and possibility, for political corruption.


Federal justices below the Supreme Court are bound by a rule of conduct that forbids them from even giving the “appearance of impropriety”. Virginia Canter, a former government ethics lawyer who served in administrations of both parties, said ” Thomas seems to have completely disregarded his higher ethical obligations”. She is not the only one. There is also Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton.


Inside of the Supreme Court. Source: Wikipedia


When it comes to Thomas, he released a statement. He acknowledges embracing of his close friend’s hospitality and insists that he complied with disclosure-related ethical standards. He omitted, however, to mention the artistic donations or the Sister Mary Virgilius Reidy statue that was commissioned and gifted.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.