Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has no problem accepting private jet rides and luxury vacations from a Republican mega donor. Meanwhile, on the other side of the court, Justice Elena Kagan is trepidatious about accepting bagels and lox.
In case you need a quick recap: Over the last month, it’s been reported that billionaire businessman Harlan Crowe has showered Thomas with lavish gifts for years, including invites to Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and Crowe’s private resort at the Adirondacks in upstate New York. One nine-day trip to Indonesia would’ve cost Thomas more than $500,000 if he had charted the plane and yacht himself, ProPublica reports.
More recently, we also found out that Thomas sold three Georgia properties to Crowe in 2014, and that Crowe has been letting Thomas’ 94-year-old mother live on one of his properties rent-free for the last decade.
Oh, and Crowe paid for the atavistic jurist’s nephew to attend two very expensive private schools during his formative years. Tuition was over $6,000… per month.
If Thomas’ actions seem illegal, it’s because they probably are. Under the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, Supreme Court justices are required to disclose gifts made to them, their spouses, and their dependents.
The Senate is currently investigating the anti-LGBTQ+ justice’s connections to Crowe.
And yet, Justice Kagan is worried about bagels!
According to The Forward, a group of women who attended high school with Kagan wanted to send her bagels and lox from a legendary bakery on the Lower East Side. But the justice put the kibosh on the bagel delivery, due to her concerns about the Court’s ethics rules.
“It was creating more stress for her than it was worth,” said Ann Starer, who graduated high school two years before Kagan.
The friends intended to send Kagan a care package “as a sign of support for the nightmare of having to go to work with [Brett] Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch every day,” the writer Sarah Schulman posted on Facebook. “She turned it down because her ethical standard is to not accept any gifts. I mean, she said no to lox and bagels!”
The idea was proposed in February 2021 and abandoned shortly thereafter, The Forward reports.
In an email, Kagan told the women she has to “to take these ethics and reporting considerations very seriously.”
Obviously, Thomas, the court’s longest-serving member, doesn’t agree.
There are indications that Kagan, whom President Barack Obama appointed to the bench in 2010, is getting fed up with the court’s far-right turn. During a pair of addresses last year, she dismissed the trope that justices being able to bond outside of politics–like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia–results in a more functional court.
“To be a truly collegial, collaborative court, you have to be talking about more than: ‘Do they talk about baseball together?,'” she told students at a small university in Rhode Island.
She made the same argument when speaking to students at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I don’t see why anybody should care that I can talk to some of my colleagues about baseball, unless that becomes a way for a better, more collaborative relationship about our cases and work.”
Kagan also spoke out about the leaked Roe v. Wade decision, calling it “horrible.”
It must be frustrating for Kagan to watch Thomas and her conservative colleagues run afoul of seemingly every norm, while she declines free breakfast. Scroll down for more reaction to this incredible contrast…
The two sides really are not the same.— Box of Frogs (@BoxofFrogs19) May 11, 2023
And therein lies the difference between liberals and “conservatives.”— CopernicusSees (@CopernicusSees) May 11, 2023
Quite a difference between the ethics of Justice Kagan and Justice Thomas. She didn’t need to consult her friends.— Jan Girando (@jgirando) May 11, 2023
Turning down lox and bagels is not an easy thing to do.— Maureen (@BronxGirl1357) May 11, 2023
Or as my mother would have said, we have someone to kvell over in Justice Kagan.— guitr25 (@guitr25) May 11, 2023
Three days later, Harlan Crow flew Clarence Thomas to the bagel shop on his private jet and gave him $100k so he could get extra cream cheese.— Mark Russell (@Manruss) May 11, 2023
The louder and more publicly they thump their Bibles the more flawed and hypocritical they seem to be.— Cosmic Loper (@CosmicLoper) May 11, 2023
Maybe Elena should hold ethics seminars at the Supreme Court for her conservative colleagues.— Steve Fermier (@SteveFermier) May 11, 2023
Thank you for reporting on this story, as I believe Justice Kagan to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, whether she knows it or not. (Much like my single, elderly aunt.)
What! What kind of shmuck would turn down an everything with a shmear and some nova Oy vay.
an ethical person? not something you would understand I guess. also, pretty sure you’re not Jewish — don’t do imitations of Jewish people #cringe
She’s a rarity. I admire her for being so ethical.
When I think about intellectually and ethically bereft Clarence Thomas replacing an icon like Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court, I lose faith in the institution, but it was just revived a bit by this article.
If you’ve ever had anything from Russ & Daughters, you realize how difficult it would be to turn down a gift from there!
Very. Them or Zabars. Or Katz’s. Discuss. I’m kvelling.
And the chance that her high school classmates would have any business coming before the SCOTUS is far less than the billionaires greasing Clarence Thomas.
I miss Cokie Roberts in times such as these. She’d have ripped him and the hag-whiter-than white wife to shreds. Bastards.
Good point. Thomas knew for a fact that he was accepting gifts from involved parties. There’s almost no imaginable scenario in which these random, middle-aged women would have any matter that would rise to the Supreme Court.
Will Queerty report on the fact that Ron DeFascist just signed a GOP-passed law into effect allowing outright discrimination against LGBTQ people???
It’s illegal, it’s hateful, it’s disgusting, it’s outright discrimination and a violation of the 14th Amendment, and that vile [email protected] is doing this all to become President/Fascist Dictator of the US, with the complicity of the GQP. Maybe the dizzy gay Republicans will wake up now that the attacks are open and clear as day but who knows. The rest of us had better fight back and get ready for far worse; this extremist gang want to turn the US into Putin’s Russia or the Taliban’s Afghanistan, whichever they can achieve first!
And while we are reminiscing about our lovely and fabulous President Obama, his youngest Sasha, graduated from USC today! Congrats! Keep Hope Alive People. Yes We Can!