New polling suggests that the actions of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are so corrupt that even Republican voters are largely repulsed by them
A newly released Economist/YouGov poll found that nearly six in 10 Americans disapprove of Thomas accepting fully paid for luxury trips from billionaire donor Harlan Crow without disclosing them. But those disapproving of Thomas’ breach included a 40% plurality of Republicans versus the 34% of GOP voters who approved of Thomas’ corruption. Another 26% of Republicans said they weren’t sure.
Part of what makes that Republican disapproval so notable is the fact that Thomas is a “conservative icon,” as The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes. The same survey found that more than two-thirds of Republicans—67%—hold a favorable view of Thomas, while just 13% hold an explicitly unfavorable view of him. (20% weren’t sure.)
By comparison, independents are evenly split on Thomas, with just 36% holding a favorable opinion of him while 35% view him unfavorably. Among Democrats, Thomas is 35 points underwater, 25% favorable to 60% unfavorable.
Independents and Democrats also hold much more critical views of Thomas accepting the lavish gifts. Among independents, 60% disapproved, while 19% approved, while Democrats disapproved 72%-20%.
Thomas obviously felt enough heat on his breach to issue a statement about it. But what’s likely more important than shaming Thomas is continually demonstrating how today’s Supreme Court has run so amok that it clearly needs to be reformed. In that sense, the brazen actions of Thomas and the other right-wing justices all serve to lay the groundwork for court reform.