Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas is facing renewed criticism over unprecedented ethical lapses after new evidence emerged showing that several lawyers who have had business before the supreme court, including one who successfully argued to end race-conscious admissions at universities, paid money to a top aide to Thomas through the social media payment platform Venmo. According to the aide’s Venmo transactions, the payments appear to have been made in connection to Thomas’s 2019 Christmas party.
As reported by The Guardian, “The payments to Rajan Vasisht, who served as Thomas’s aide from July 2019 to July 2021, seem to underscore the close ties between Thomas, who is embroiled in ethics scandals following a series of revelations about his relationship with a wealthy billionaire donor, and certain senior Washington lawyers who argue cases and have other business in front of the justice.”
“Some legal experts say the unusual arrangement raises concerns about conflicts of interest and whether the former clerks were seeking access or favors while working closely with him. Former clerk Arjun Verma says “it appears the justices are allowing someone other than themselves control over their calendar,” raising questions about what sort of influence those people might exert over decisions reached by the highest bench in the land.”
“Vasisht’s Venmo account – which was public prior to requesting comment for this article and is no longer – show that he received seven payments in November and December 2019 from lawyers who previously served as Thomas legal clerks. The amount of the payments is not disclosed, but the purpose of each payment is listed as either “Christmas party”, “Thomas Christmas Party”, “CT Christmas Party” or “CT Xmas party”, in an apparent reference to the justice’s initials.”
However, it remains unclear what the funds were for.
Read more at The Guardian.