It seems like the Supreme Court corruption stories will never end.
ProPublica reported earlier this month that Justice Clarence Thomas has enjoyed 38 vacations due to the largesse of “industry titans and ultrawealthy executives”: Yacht trips around the Bahamas. Dozens of private jet flights, and 8 helicopter flights. VIP passes to sporting events. Luxury resort stays. Exclusive golf club invitations. On multiple occasions, wealthy benefactors sent an entire 737 jet – just for Thomas. It’s beyond the pale.
Thomas is not an outlier when it comes to judicial corruption. Other justices have flaunted legal canons and pushed back against efforts to promote integrity and transparency. Justice Samuel Alito has even argued that Congress has no “authority to regulate the Supreme Court – period.” Attitudes like that show just how out of touch the Supreme Court is with everyday Americans.
We expect judges to not only be impartial, but to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. It’s literally the second canon in the Code of Conduct for United States Judges!
The Supreme Court continues to protect the interests of the wealthy and the powerful while ignoring the concerns of everyday Americans. With justices like Thomas and Alito thumbing their noses at ethical canons, it’s no wonder that Americans have lost faith in the judiciary. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Supreme Court’s approval rating is at an all-time low.
But judicial ethics reform is only the tip of the iceberg. We need to address the broader threat to our democracy exemplified in the revelations surrounding Justice Thomas: Big Money in politics.
A New Push to Stamp Big Money Out of Politics
In June, Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts introduced a constitutional amendment to tackle Big Money once and for all. The Free and Fair Elections Amendment would set sharp limits on federal campaign contributions and spending, bar corporate spending on elections, allow states and localities to regulate campaign spending, and force Congress to pass a public campaign financing system – or lose their salaries.
The amendment would overturn several notoriously problematic Supreme Court decisions, including Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United – which have thwarted much-needed campaign finance reform.
Perhaps the best part: the amendment is self-executing. Once ratified, it does not require Congress to take additional steps to pass reforms.
The Society of Stampers is committed to stamping Big Money out of politics. As recent news shows, we need to be vigilant! You can take the Stamper pledge here, or get your own customized stamp at our shop.