Leonard Leo Arranged Secret Payments to Ginni Thomas Ahead of Voting Rights Case

The Supreme Court docket is wanting much less like a bench and extra like an public sale home, mentioned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

U.S. Supreme Court docket Justice Clarence Thomas and his spouse Ginni Thomas are underneath contemporary scrutiny as yet one more revelation, this one reported by the Washington Publish on Thursday night exhibits Ginni acquired tens of hundreds of {dollars} in off-the-book compensation from a strong right-wing nonprofit shortly earlier than the group “quickly would have an curiosity earlier than the court docket” — a pivotal voting rights case.

Based mostly on paperwork reviewed by the Publish, right-wing judicial activist Leonard Leo used his function as an advisor to the nonprofit, the Judicial Training Undertaking, to ask GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway, later a high aide to President Donald Trump, to pay Ginni Thomas a big sum however hold her identify off the monetary information.

“Leo, a key determine in a community of nonprofits that has labored to assist the nominations of conservative judges,” the reporting explains, “advised Conway that he wished her to ‘give’ Ginni Thomas ‘one other $25K,’ the paperwork present. He emphasised that the paperwork ought to have ‘No point out of Ginni, after all.’”

In response to the brand new revelations, Kyle Herrig, president of the general public curiosity advocacy group Accountable.US, mentioned “Leonard Leo has written the definition of court docket corruption. These shady schemes are a name to motion to result in ethics reform on the highest ranges of the judiciary.”

In protection of the secrecy of the funds to Ginni Thomas’s agency — which in accordance with the Publish totaled $80,000 between June 2011 and June 2012, however could have been extra general — Leo mentioned in a press release to the newspaper that it was essential to hold her identify out of any disclosures due to how “disrespectful, malicious and gossipy folks” might be within the political sphere.

“I’ve all the time tried to guard the privateness of Justice Thomas and Ginni,” Leo claimed.

Crucially, months after these funds had been made to Ginni Thomas, the Judicial Training Undertaking filed an amicus transient within the case Shelby County v. Holder, taking the facet of these against a key provision within the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Because the Publish notes:

The court docket struck down a components within the Voting Rights Act that decided which states needed to get hold of federal clearance earlier than altering their voting guidelines and procedures. Clarence Thomas was a part of the 5-to-4 majority.

Thomas issued a concurring opinion within the case, arguing that the preclearance requirement itself is unconstitutional. Thomas’s opinion, which was in step with a earlier opinion he wrote, favored the result the Judicial Training Undertaking and a number of other different conservative organizations had advocated of their amicus briefs. He didn’t cite the Judicial Training Undertaking transient.

However progressive political observers mentioned the corruption was not possible to not see — particularly given the wave of revelations about lavish items and monetary preparations between Justice Thomas and billionaire Harlan Crow, a right-wing mega-donor.

“That is corruption. Plain and easy,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in response to the most recent revelation. “And every day that passes, the Supreme Court docket is wanting much less like a bench and extra like an public sale home. Thomas ought to resign instantly and Roberts ought to see to it that he does.”

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