Justice Thomas Amends Disclosure Forms To Reveal Wife’s Income

With surprisingly little coverage from the media, Justice Clarence Thomas has amended his financial disclosure after Common Cause exposed his failure to report his wife’s income for many years — including her payments from conservative organizations.

Thomas corrected financial disclosures for the past 13 years that confirmed the allegations of Common Cause that Virginia Thomas worked for Michigan’s Hillsdale College, the Heritage Foundation and the Republican leadership in the House.

He did not reveal the amount of money that she received from these sources.

As noted earlier, this employment would have been viewed as directly relevant (and controversial) during Thomas’ consideration of the Citizens United case.

For many, the incident will be cited as evidence of how toothless these rules have become. There is little deterrent for a justice who fails to disclose required information for 13 years — including information that would have likely been used as a possible basis for a recusal motion. It takes Common Cause to launch a major campaign to get compliance with the requirements.

What will be fascinating is the next case to come before Thomas of a criminal appeal in a failure to disclose case or tax case. There was nothing particularly complex about this reporting form. While criminal defense attorneys often argue that such omissions do not warrant prosecution, Thomas is viewed as fairly hostile toward such defendants coming before the Court. I was just counsel in the case of a judge who was removed from the bench by the United States Senate on articles of impeachment that included his failure to report income in a bankruptcy filing.

Common Cause notes that Thomas’ explanation that he had a 13-year “misunderstanding of the filing instructions” to be implausible.

Here is the changed form: Thomas- FD amendments

Source: New York Times

Jonathan Turley

47 thoughts on “Justice Thomas Amends Disclosure Forms To Reveal Wife’s Income”

  1. U. Mass-Amherst psychology professor Robert Feldman, in his book, “The Liar in Your Life,” Twelve, Hachette Book Group, 2009, puts forth the view, as I understand his book that, except for some autistic people, everyone is a liar. He cautions people to be careful in so saying, though he seems to not have heeded his own advice very well.

    Perhaps Harriet G. Lerner, Ph.D., “The Dance of Deception,” Harper Perennial, 1993, is worth reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading.

    There is an extensive, scholarly, and perchance-remarkable literature regarding deception, dishonesty, society, and personality, available for the reading to those willing to bother.

  2. RE: eniobob, January 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm


    I’m going to substitute one word in your last statement,tell me what you think.

    “Methinks the problem is not with people, it is with the structure of society, which has become** corrupt** beyond human comprehension.”



    Thanks for your question, I find it to be a very good question.

    Your question brings to my mind the little fable of the camel, the tent, and the camel driver.

    One cold night, the camel asks to put his nose in the tent because it is so cold outside the tent. “No problem,” says the camel driver.

    The next night, no less cold, the camel asks to put his ears inside the tent. “No problem,” says the camel driver.

    The next night, no less cold, the camel asks to put part of his neck…; and the next night, asks…; and the next night.

    Not all that many cold nights later, the camel is in the tent and the camel driver asks to put his nose in the tent because it is so cold outside. “NO!” shouts the camel.

    The camel driver freezes to death and the camel is not only free, but has a free tent.

    The complexity of the structure of contemporary society, including what I experience as incomprehensibly unfathomable complexity of the structure of law entraps people into apparent conflict with society regardless of any person’s actual will to avoid such conflict, and that is what leads to corruption.

    It is not the people who are the problem it is the situation. The situation is, for any given event, it is easy to find applicable law and to enforce such law as is so found. That gives rise to the notion that the problem is with the people and not the impossible-to-fully-grasp relevant law in advance of an event which may activate legal concerns.

    So, it is the corruption of the structure of law, corruption no one ever intended nor fully anticipated, which drives the complexity of law, complexity no one ever intended nor fully anticipated, which drives the corruption inextricable from the complexity of law, which drives…

    In simple truth, I profoundly admire anyone who can work professionally as an attorney in these times. Doing so successfully surely entails a level of cognitive intelligence which boggles my little, autistic mind and brain.

    I am agog with awe at the stunning intellectual prowess I surmise is needed for a successful general law practice.

    No less am I replete with lurking concerns about my personal safety if I venture forth from my home or if a law person happens by here by mistake and rings the doorbell or knocks on the door.

    As for myself, but for that surgery stuff, I had a right to die years ago. The average age of death for folks with familial adenomatous polyposis, the last time I checked, was something like 42 years.

    Based on such averages, I have almost thirty extra years under my belt so far. A police officer interacts with me, I am autistic, the police officer does not understand, I am killed, and I have already lived far longer than the “normal” life-span for a person with familial adenomatous polyposis.

    I am far more concerned about a police officer who, because of the conflict and complexity and resulting corruption of the structure of society, kills me by mistake than I am for myself. By average standards, I have already “done my duty” as a living person, whether or not I qualify as a “member of human society.”

    A police officer kills me because he cannot make sense of me and my being autistic, and he may have a terrible life thereafter. That concerns me far more than what might happen to me if a terrible, fatal misunderstanding becomes impossible to prevent because of the corruption of society by its terribly impossible to understand complexity.

    In my personal view, complex and corrupt have effectively become synonymous.

    Thanks for asking…

  3. I haven’t seen the particular financial disclosure form Scalia had to submit during the 13 years, but the ones I have seen clearly say that lying or failure to disclose info on the form is a federal criminal offense. Either 1) the man’s a liar; or 2) too stupid to fill out and/or understand a simple financial disclosure form. I vote for number 1. I read somewhere else that we are talking about close to $700K he failed to disclose.

  4. James M.

    Doh! Good catch. That is indeed what I meant. That’s what I get for typing and watching TV at the same time. lol Thanks!

  5. BIL,

    Didn’t you get the memo? It’s OK to be critical of President Obama because hes an illegitimate, Muslim, foreign-born, Marxist, friend to terrorists.

    However, you can’t be critical of Justice Thomas without being a racist.

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