Clarence Thomas — who let a GOP megadonor foot bills for him for years — said being a Supreme Court justice 'is not worth doing for what they pay'

  • Clarence Thomas's financial dealings have come under scrutiny following a series of reports.

  • In a 2001 speech, Thomas said serving on the Supreme Court wasn't worth it for the money.

  • A group of Democratic lawmakers wants to withhold funding from the court until it adopts a code of ethics.

Justice Clarence Thomas — who has accepted lavish vacations and other financial benefits from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow for years — said in a speech in 2001 that serving on the Supreme Court wasn't worth it for what it paid.

"The job is not worth doing for what they pay," Thomas said during a speech in 2001, The New York Post reported at the time. "The job is not worth doing for the grief. But it is worth doing for the principle."

Thomas was speaking to the Bar Association in Savannah, Georgia, according to the Post. In the speech, which was resurfaced this week by The Nation writer Jeet Heer, Thomas discussed his efforts to gain custody of his then-10-year-old grandnephew. The Post reported Thomas cried during the speech and thanked his lawyer who worked on the custody battle.

In 2001, the salary for an associate Supreme Court justice was $178,300, while the chief justice made $186,300. As of 2023, the salary for an associate justice is $285,400, while the chief justice makes $298,500.

ProPublica reported this week that Thomas in 2008 sent his grandnephew, the one referred to in the speech, to Hidden Lake Academy, a residential program in Georgia, and that Crow covered the $6,000 per month bill. The outlet previously reported that Crow had paid for Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, to take extravagant vacations, and that Thomas has sold his childhood home to Crow but did not disclose the sale.

A group of 15 Democratic lawmakers now wants to withhold $10 million from Supreme Court funding until the court adopts a code of ethics, The Hill reported.

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