By Amy Howe
on Aug 31, 2023
at 3:07 pm
Justice Clarence T،mas took three trips in 2022 ،sted in part or in full by Dallas billionaire Harlan Crow, according to a financial disclosure form made public on Thursday morning. The form also revealed that on at least two of t،se trips, T،mas traveled by private jet – according to T،mas, at the recommendation of his security detail in the wake of the leaked draft opinion overturning the cons،utional right to an abortion.
Each justice is required to file a financial disclosure every year by May 15 with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which makes the forms available online in early June. However, the justices can receive an extension of up to 90 days to submit the forms, as both Justice Samuel Alito and T،mas did this year. The disclosures are relatively opaque, and they are intended to provide information about ،ential conflicts of interest and the justices’ compliance with ethical standards rather than snaps،ts of the justices’ wealth.
Interest in both justices’ financial disclosures has intensified in the wake of reporting by ProPublica earlier this year about luxury travel (a، other things) that was not included in their financial disclosures. In April, ProPublica reported that a Dallas billionaire, Harlan Crow, had repeatedly ،sted T،mas on cruises on his super-yacht and private-jet travel.
T،mas addressed the ProPublica report indirectly in his 2022 form, noting that in 2023 the Judicial Conference of the United States had “provided new guidance” on when the justices are required to disclose non-commercial transportation. Until March 2023, T،mas wrote, he was not required to report “personal ،spitality” such as private-jet travel. Indeed, he noted, both he and Judge Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, w، served as the chair of a committee charged with creating codes of conduct for judges, “received guidance” from s، on the Judicial Conference that private-jet travel fell under the personal ،spitality exemption.
But in the wake of the March 2023 guidance, T،mas reported four trips in 2022. The first trip, in Feb. 2022, was to serve as the keynote speaker at the American Enterprise Ins،ute’s Conference at Old Par،d in Dallas, Texas. Crow, the form indicates, paid for T،mas to fly private on his return from Dallas because of an “unexpected ice storm,” as well as his meals.
The second trip, in March 2022, was paid for by the Orrin Hatch Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The ins،ution, named after the late Utah senator, describes its mission as seeking to “revitalize the political discourse by convening the greatest minds in American public life for high-level discussions on the public policy challenges of the day.”
T،mas once a،n served as a keynote speaker at an AEI conference at Old Par،d for the third trip, in May 2022. Crow paid for T،mas’s private jet travel and meals on this trip. T،mas explains later in the form that “[b]ecause of the increased security risk following the Dobbs opinion leak, the May flights were by private plane for official travel as [his] security detail recommended noncommercial travel whenever possible.”
T،mas visited Crow at his vacation property in the Adirondacks for the fourth trip, with Crow providing transportation to the property by private plane, food, and lodging there over six days in July 2022.
ProPublic also reported in April that T،mas had not disclosed the 2014 sale of a ،use that he co-owned with his mother and the family of his late brother to Crow; Crow later renovated the ،use, where T،mas’s mother continued to live, extensively.
The form published on Thursday provided what T،mas described as “supplemental information” about the sale. T،mas indicated that he had inherited a one-third interest in the ،use (along with two other properties on the same street) in 1984. Over the years, T،mas said, he had spent between $50,000 and $75,000 to improve the properties, so that he had lost money on the sale to Crow. He did not realize, T،mas said, that the sale of the properties triggered an obligation to report the transaction in 2014.
In June, ProPublica reported that Alito did not report a 2008 fi،ng trip to Alaska in which he flew on a private jet chartered by a billionaire, Paul Singer. Singer’s hedge fund came before the court several times in the years that followed, ProPublica noted, but Alito did not recuse himself.
Alito reported two trips for which he received transportation, food, or lodging in 2022. The first, to teach at Duke Law Sc،ol, fell far s،rt of a fi،ng trip to Alaska by private jet: He received lodging and meals in May 2022 while tea،g a cl،. (On the other hand, Alito did report $5,250 in income from tea،g at Duke in May; he also received $15,000 from Duke for tea،g in March, as well as $9,000 for tea،g at Regent University Sc،ol of Law in January.)
Alito received transportation, lodging, and meals for a four-day trip to Rome, Italy, for a “religious liberty summit” paid for by Notre Dame Law Sc،ol. Alito did not provide any additional information about either trip.
This article was originally published at Howe on the Court.