OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
As Democrats, left-wing pundits, and media outlets continue to call for originalist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be removed over allegations he improperly accepted valuable perks and gifts from a billionaire friend, they have ignored how much wealth one of their preferred justices, Sonia Sotomayor, has accumulated since joining the nation’s highest court.
According to an in-depth report by Forbes, Sotomayor was worth about three-quarters of a million dollars when she was appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, but that has since skyrocketed into the millions, thanks to book deals, speaking engagements, and other benefits of the job, including a lucrative pension.
“Sotomayor was worth around $750,000 at the time. Now, she is worth an estimated $5 million. Her position has brought her fame, and that fame has led to book deals, providing $3.8 million in earnings since she joined the court,” Forbes reported.
“The post also allowed her to hire staff, which she used for many things—including reportedly pumping up her book sales, something that drew scrutiny but apparently stayed within the bounds of the law, if only because Supreme Court justices have fewer ethics restrictions than other government officials,” the report continued.
“Sotomayor has also benefited from another perk of the Supreme Court: an incredibly lucrative pension. Since age 65, the now 69-year-old has been guaranteed her salary, currently $285,400, for the rest of her life—a benefit worth an estimated $2.3 million,” Forbes added.
Earlier this year, far-left ‘progressives’ attempted to paint Thomas as compromised after Pro Publica reported that “billionaire friend” Harlan Crow gave luxury gifts to the justice.
Several of Thomas’ colleagues and associates immediately came to his defense, including Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Hardiman and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Ho.
The two judges appeared at an event at Princeton University on April 12th and addressed questions regarding Thomas.
“The thing that I thought was weird about the Justice Thomas thing is the ‘scandal,’ to use your word, there was no intimation at any time, ever, that his billionaire friend ever had any business before the Supreme Court. So, how’s he helping his friend? He’s not even in a position to help his friend because his friend had exactly zero cases in the Supreme Court,” Hardiman said in response to a student’s question.
“You know, I decide cases involving lawyers in Pittsburgh. And I know these lawyers. Some of them are former law partners of mine. I belong to organizations with them. I go to lunch with them. Should I not hear their cases? If you have such suspicion about our integrity, you could really end up in a situation where judges can’t even do their jobs because, at some point, you’re attached to everybody,” he added.
“I’ve had my former law clerks stand up in court and argue cases. And I don’t think they’ve ever won a case,” the judge said. “And it’s not because they’re not brilliant lawyers. They are. But usually, they’re doing pro bono immigration cases, and sadly, for the immigrants, those cases can be very difficult to win.”
“If someone wanted to make me look bad and I happened to rule in favor of a client in an immigration case that was argued by my former law clerk, oh, there would be a big exposé, ‘oh, Hardiman chose partiality to his law clerk,’” he said.
“I think that’s a great answer,” Judge Ho responded, who is a former clerk for Justice Thomas at the Supreme Court, said. He said there was a difference between “an actual instance of corruption” and “the mere perception” of it.
“I think the appearance issue is absolutely important” because “the judiciary basically rests on its credibility” and therefore, “it is absolutely vital to what we do that people believe in what we do,” Ho added.
“The judiciary, like any human institution, isn’t perfect because none of us are perfect,” he said.