Trump-appointed judge slams ‘pot shots’ at U.S. Supreme Court and defends Clarence Thomas over alleged ethics violations.

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Amul Thapar made his remarks to broadcaster CNN
He slammed liberal critics of Clarence Thomas for misinterpreting his rulings
The 75-year-old Thomas has been under fire over failing to disclose gifts from a billionaire friend
By JAMES FRANEY, SENIOR U.S. POLITICAL REPORTER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

A Donald Trump-appointed judge has hit out at recent media attacks on Justice Clarence Thomas and slammed the ‘pot shots’ taken at the Supreme Court.

Judge Amul Thapar, a federal appeals court judge based in Cincinnati, rejected allegations that one of the most senior legal minds in America had acted improperly after his alleged failure to disclose lavish gifts provided by a billionaire friend.

‘Judges are just like every other human being. We have a diverse group of friends, and those friends don’t influence the way we do our job,’ Thapar told CNN in an interview.


Thapar was promoting a new book that analyzes Clarence Thomas’s rulings during his time as a Supreme Court justice

 

The 54-year-old attorney made his remarks during a PR blitz for his new book on Thomas ‘The People’s Justice.’

Liberal critics accuse the 75-year-old of an overly rigid approach to interpreting the constitution that produces his conservative rulings on abortion and gun rights.

But Thapar said there is no evidence that Thomas’s links to Dallas real estate magnate Harlan Crow had influenced his decisions.

‘You can judge their works, and what they do, against what they’ve done in the past,’ he said. ‘And if it’s consistent, then it’s hard to say anything influenced them.’

He added that it was ‘disheartening that people who know better are taking pot shots at the court.’

Thapar writes in his new book that ‘by cherry-picking his opinions or misrepresenting them, Justice Thomas’s critics claim that his originalism favors the rich over the poor, the strong over the weak, and corporations over consumers.

‘They have called Justice Thomas ‘the cruelest justice,’ ‘stupid,’ and even an ‘Uncle Tom’ a traitor to his race.’


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has gone on weekly vacations with real estate magnate Harlan Crow, including on an adventure to Indonesia aboard a megayacht and private jet. He issued a response citing a ‘personal hospitality’ exception to gift rules


Crow called Thomas a dear friend, and got to know him after he joined the Supreme Court. Crow is a Dallas-based real estate magnate

 

Clarence Thomas has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks after it emerged that he had failed to declare hospitality provided by his wealthy friend Harlan Crow.

He had been aboard the billionaire’s superyacht to Indonesia, New Zealand and Greece and made free use of his private jet.

The 74-year-old also took vacations at Harlan Crow’s countryside lodge in Adirondack Park, New York.

The retreat offers opportunities for boat rides and fishing, and features exotic furnishings

Crow also paid the pricey private school tuition of a great-nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, which the judge failed to declare.

A July 2009 bank statement showed that Crow’s business had paid a $6,000 monthly bill for a boarding school attended by Mark Martin.

Thomas had legal custody of the teenager at the time.

In April, he released a rare statement noting that he and his wife had been friends with Crow ‘for over twenty-five years.’

‘As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them,’ Thomas wrote.

He said he had followed the advice of others in deciding what required disclosure as per official guidelines and that Crow himself did not have business before the court.

The real estate mogul has made more than $10 million in donations to Republican political groups.

He also stumped up half a million dollars to a conservative lobbying group founded by Ginni Thomas.

The justice’s wife has drawn her own criticism for supporting Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss.


Billionaire Harlan Crow helped foot the tuition bill for a relative of Clarence Thomas. This included help for the $6,000 per month Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia


The retreat offers opportunities for boat rides and fishing, and features exotic furnishings

Supreme Court guidelines have since been tightened and now justices are required to declare gifts and free property stays.

But there is nothing in the past that would have prevented a member of the nation’s highest court refusing to reveal lavish travel gifts.

The Ethics and Government Act of 1978 requires justices to file an annual disclosure form where they are required to disclose gifts, but makes exceptions for ‘personal hospitality.’

A Judiciary Policy Guide references the exception, but its language states that it does not apply to travel that substitutes for commercial transportation – which would appear to include luxury jet or yacht travel.

‘The personal hospitality gift reporting exemption applies only to food, lodging, or entertainment and is intended to cover such gifts of a personal, nonbusiness nature,’ according to the guide.

‘Therefore, the reporting exemption does not include: gifts other than food, lodging or entertainment, such as transportation that substitutes for commercial transportation,’ it states.

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