Good Government Group Calls on Justice Thomas to Recuse Himself from Payday Lending Case

Advocate Andy

Group says Thomas's ties to industry are cause for concern

An advocacy group that focuses on ethics in government is calling on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from a case brought to the nation's highest court by an industry group representing payday lenders.

Revolving Door Project says Thomas's connections to backers of the payday loan industry could cloud his judgment in the case.

“Clarence Thomas’ close ties to the Koch Network – which has spent billions trying to make it easier for corporate predators to rip off everyday Americans and face zero accountability – are grounds for his immediate recusal from the CFPB case," said Revolving Door Project senior researcher Vishal Shankar. "He cannot be trusted to rule impartially on matters that would financially benefit his billionaire benefactors, and by extension himself. His repeated abuse of his office for personal gain is a national disgrace.”

The group noted Thomas's industry connections include:

  • Thomas has received lavish undisclosed gifts from billionaire property developer Harlan Crow, whose real estate empire has bankrolled the National Multifamily Housing Council – a landlord lobbying group that has opposed CFPB regulation of the tenant screening industry. 
  • Indicted “coup memo” author John Eastman – a former Thomas law clerk who corresponded with Thomas’ wife Ginni ahead of the January 6th attack on the Capitol – has also filed an amicus brief in CFPB v. CFSA supporting the payday lender plaintiffs.

Revolving Door Project executive director Jeff Hauser summed up the group's position:

"All Justices personally close to proprietors of shady financial services firms should recuse themselves, full stop. And if any Justices persist in hearing this case despite being self-evidently biased, the case for rebalancing the Supreme Court to create an ethical majority will become even stronger."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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