Opinion: Clarence Thomas has moved on from 'disgusting' DC. The open road is calling for justice

editor's Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM Radio's daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show”. follow him threads, The views expressed in this comment are his own. Reading more opinions On CNN.


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wants everyone to know that he has suffered greatly from the “evil” of Washington, DC. That was Thomas' clear message at a judicial conference Friday that turned into his own personal criticism session, as he went after critics who, he says, “proud themselves to be terrible.”

Thomas — taking a page from former President Donald Trump's hyper-harassment — equates the criticism with wartime bombing: “They don't bomb you, but they bomb your reputation or your good name or your honor. And it's not a crime but they can cause just as much harm that way.” Thomas ended by calling Washington “a disgusting place.”

It is true that Justice has been rightly criticized for his morally questionable actions in recent years. Pundits — including myself — have criticized everything from his acceptance of lavish gifts from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow to his refusal to recuse himself from cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to his wife Ginny's personal efforts to help Trump. Despite Thomas' continued emphasis on moral issues. Overturn the 2020 election results.

But for Thomas, in this sea of ​​despair comes a shining ray of hope: John Oliver. Yes, the comedian and host of the Emmy Award-winning HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has come to Thomas' rescue with a generous offer.

On his show in February, after Oliver explained in detail the ethical issues involving Thomas, the comic addressed the judge directly, saying, “We have a special offer for you tonight.” The comedian then offered terms: “We are willing to pay you $1 million a year for the rest of your life, if you agree to leave the Supreme Court immediately and never return.”

Before you – or Thomas – dismiss it as a parody, Oliver made it clear that it was a solid proposition, explaining: “It's not a joke. If you watch our show, you Know that jokes aren't really our thing. It's a million dollars a year – until you or I die.

But wait, there is more. Oliver also offered Thomas a $2.4 million motor home as part of the deal. And to be clear, this is not a motor home. This is a top-class luxury RV that is equipped with a king-size bed, a fireplace, and four televisions.

If you're wondering why Oliver would include a luxury motor home, this gift has special meaning: As Oliver documented on his show, recent reporting from The New York Times revealed that in 1999, Thomas Had purchased a high-end motor home – a used Prevost Le Mirage XL Marathon that was 40 feet long “with orange flames on the sides.”

But what raised ethical flags was that the cost of this top-notch trip was underwritten by a wealthy friend. No, not a crow. This time it was Anthony Welters, who made his fortune in the health care industry. As reported in August 2023, Welters “provided financing to Justice Thomas that experts said the bank would be unlikely to extend.”

This prompted the Senate Finance Committee to investigate the financing. By December, the committee said its staff found that documents provided by Thomas's lawyers indicated that the judge “did not repay the debt in full, raising questions about tax and ethics compliance.”

In a Senate floor speech this February, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said, “It appears from the investigation of the Finance Committee that the principal on the loan was never repaid—not a dollar of it… Yet that Forgiveness of the loan was never declared on his judicial ethics filings, suggesting that it may not have even been disclosed in his tax filings, creating a whole other set of legal concerns.

But my “disgust” is – as Thomas would put it – to see ethical issues being raised by a sitting Supreme Court justice, who decides on cases that affect business interests as well as many aspects of our lives. .

Let's go back to what Thomas should be happy about: Oliver's proposal. Now the bad news for Thomas was that when Oliver made his very generous offer in February, he noted that the judge had 30 days to respond. Obviously, that time period has passed.

But here's great news for distressed Thomas. Last Monday, Oliver appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” where he reiterated his proposal. As Oliver told Thomas directly, if the judge was watching, “If you want to reach out and resume negotiations, I still have the contract in my desk drawer, and I'm willing to do that.” Am.” ,

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And Oliver said he wasn't kidding. In this, legal experts are also talking about whether Oliver can make such an offer. “To be honest, I'd reopen it,” Oliver said, “as long as he gets out before June makes a decision. I'm willing to open up the discussion again.”

The timing couldn't have been better for Thomas. On Friday, Thomas even said he would love to visit other places where people “don't take pride in doing harmful things just because they have the ability to do it.” Well, what better way to visit these other places than in a brand new $2 million-plus RV with $1 million in your pocket?!

As Oliver summed up his offer to Thomas on his show in February: “A million dollars a year and a brand new condo on wheels, and in return all you have to do is sign a contract and f— off Supreme.” Have to get the court.” For the good of Thomas' psyche – and for the good of America – let's hope he takes it.

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