Justice Thomas Decries 'Nastiness and Lies' Amid MountingScrutiny

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke out against the "nastiness and lies" he and his wife have faced in recent years. The justice has faced scrutiny over his wife's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his acceptance of lavish gifts from billionaire friends.

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Justice Thomas Decries 'Nastiness and Lies' Amid MountingScrutiny

Justice Thomas Decries 'Nastiness and Lies' Amid MountingScrutiny

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken out against the "nastiness and lies" he and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have faced in recent years. During a judicial conference in Point Clear, Alabama on Friday, Thomas expressed dismay at critics, although he remained vague about the specific criticisms he was referring to.

Justice Thomas hasfaced increased scrutinyand criticism due to his wife's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his own acceptance of lavish gifts from billionaire friends, including private jet trips and a superyacht. The justice has been accused of partisanship and has faced calls for recusal in cases related to the 2020 election.

Why this matters: The controversy surrounding Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court has significant implications for the institution's legitimacy and the public's trust in the judiciary. As the court prepares to hand down rulings on contentious issues, the perception of partisanship and bias could further erode confidence in the court's ability to make impartial decisions.

"My wife and I, the last two or three years, just the nastiness and the lies... There's certainly been a lot of negativity in our lives, my wife and I, over the last few years, but we choose not to focus on it," Thomas said during the wide-ranging conversation at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference, where he was interviewed by federal judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle.

Thomas also reminisced about past years on the court, when he said it would have been impossible to imagine anyone leaking opinions, likely referring to the 2022 leak of the draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The justice described Washington as a place where "reckless people will bomb your reputation or your good name or your honor" and stated that he prefers RVing to being in the US capital.

Following revelations of Thomas's secret acceptance of gifts from GOP billionaire mega donor Harlan Crow, Thomas updated his financial disclosures. The controversy prompted the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct for the first time. Vice President Harris expressed alarm over the current court and Thomas in particular, stating, "This court has shown itself to be an activist court... I worry about fundamental freedoms across the board."

The Supreme Court is poised to hand down numerous rulings on contentious issues before the current term ends in late June or early July, including access to the abortion pill mifepristone, Donald Trump's immunity from prosecution for election interference, and the scope of federal agencies' powers. A Marquette University Law School poll found 40% of respondents approved of the Supreme Court's work, while 60% disapproved. Gallup's ongoing opinion surveys show the court's ratings by the public remain near record lows.