We speak with longtime Supreme Court reporter Dahlia Lithwick about the mounting evidence of apparent financial impropriety by the court's conservatives. ProPublica recently reported that Republican billionaire Harlan Crow paid two years of private school tuition for Clarence Thomas's grandnephew — payments that Thomas did not include on his annual financial disclosures. This comes after previous reporting revealed Crow also paid money to Thomas and his relatives in an undisclosed real estate deal, and that Thomas accepted luxury travel from Crow virtually every year for decades, while failing to follow a federal law that requires him to publicly report most gifts. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo arranged for Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, to be paid at least $80,000 for consulting work over a decade ago and asked that the payments not specify Ginni Thomas's name in any paperwork. Thomas later cast the deciding vote in a 5-4 ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in a case supported by Leo and his conservative legal network. "Members of the Senate are beginning to understand that it is going to be incumbent on them to step in and issue some ethics rules or demand that the court issue ethics rules for itself," says Lithwick, who covers the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus.
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