Sen. Dick Durbin, chair of the Judiciary Committee, said Sunday he expects Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would likely refuse to testify in front of the committee about gifts he accepted but did not disclose from a Texas billionaire.
The Illinois Democrat asked Chief Justice John Roberts last week to appear before the committee next month to discuss judicial ethics rules in the wake of a ProPublica report that found Thomas had gone on several luxury trips Crow had subsidized.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Durbin why the panel didn’t ask Thomas himself.
“I think I know what would happen to that invitation. It would be ignored,” Durbin said, without elaborating as to why he thought that would be the case.
Roberts’ appearance before the committee would be voluntary, and Durbin has said last week that there were no conversations about subpoenaing any of the justices. But Roberts should appear, Durbin urged Sunday.
“Why this Supreme Court, these nine justices, believe they are exempt from the basic standards of disclosure, I cannot explain. And I think [the] chief justice should appear before our committee and explain something or explain the changes that he’s going to make,” he said.
Thomas defended his decision to accept the trips he and his wife received from Harlan Crow without disclosing them to the court, saying he has “always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”
Further reporting showed that Crow also bought property from Thomas, a real estate deal he also did not disclose.
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