LA Times [article no longer posted] "Justice Thomas Reports Wealth of Gifts" In the last six years he has accepted free items valued at $42,200, the
December 30, 2004

LA Times [article no longer posted] "Justice Thomas Reports Wealth of Gifts"

In the last six years he has accepted free items valued at $42,200, the most on the high court.

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts since joining the high court, including $1,200 worth of tires, valuable historical items and a $5,000 personal check to help pay a relative's education expenses. The gifts also included a Bible once owned by the 19th century author and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, which Thomas valued at $19,000, and a bust of President Lincoln valued at $15,000.

"I don't see anything wrong in this....I don't see why it is inappropriate to get gifts from friends," said John C. Yoo, now a law professor at the UC Berkeley. "This reflects a bizarre effort to over-ethicize everyday life. If one of these people were to appear before the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas would recuse himself."

When Scalia had the chance to recuse himself in the Cheney case he didn't!

Scalia rejected a demand from the Sierra Club that he withdraw from the case, arguing that his trip on Air Force II did not amount to something of value. Scalia noted that he, his son and his son-in-law had bought round-trip tickets so they could return home on a commercial flight. "In other words, none of us saved a cent by flying on the vice president's plane," Scalia said in a March 18 opinion. He subsequently voted for Cheney in the court case. By law and tradition, the Supreme Court justices are exempted from many of the rules that govern lesser federal judges. Moreover, each of the justices is free to decide how the general ethics guidelines apply to them. For example, when the Sierra Club filed its motion with the high court asserting that Scalia should step aside in the Cheney case, the court referred the matter to Scalia for him to decide.

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