Clarence Thomas Was Ready To Quit The Supreme Court, According to Report

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ew reporting shines a light on Clarence Thomas’ salary complaints and the beginning of his financial relationship with wealthy billionaires

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. The court opened its new term Monday with a calendar already full of high-profile clashes, including two cases that could end the use of race in college admissions.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. The court opened its new term Monday with a calendar already full of high-profile clashes, including two cases that could end the use of race in college admissions.
Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Most of us feel underpaid and undervalued at our jobs. And new reporting suggests that even Supreme Court Justices get down in the dumps over stagnant wages.

Despite making $173,600 in January of 2000, the equivalent of $300,000 in 2023, ProPublica reported that Justice Clarence Thomas was so frustrated with his salary that conservatives worried he would quit the bench.

The outlet reported that during an off-the-record speech at a private conservative conference, Thomas said if lawmakers didn’t act to give Justices a raise, “one or more justices will leave soon.”

A considerable part of what makes this reporting so interesting is what we know happens next. In the intervening years, we know that Thomas began to receive heaps of expensive gifts and trips from wealthy donors, including tuition for his grandnephew that he was raising. Much of this went undisclosed.

As of now, there’s no evidence that Thomas told his wealthy friends that he was considering resigning or that his speech was connected with the Republican donor’s decision to begin lavishing the Justice with gifts.

But it does give us insight into how he was feeling about money and why he was amenable to receiving significant financial assistance from wealthy friends.

Thomas is rich by traditional standards. The equivalent of $300,000 in today’s money isn’t anything to sneer at. But many of his colleagues were extremely wealthy on their own. It appears that the pressure to keep up with the Joneses is real for everyone — even members of the Supreme Court. Although, most of us aren’t unfathomably powerful with wealthy friends willing to spend their Billions on us.

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