Clarence Thomas Cites Safety Concerns For Private Jet Travel After Dobbs Leak
United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas poses for an official portrait at the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building on October 7, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reported taking private jet flights in the spring of last year because of security concerns that followed the leak of a Dobbs draft opinion.

The information appears in a financial disclosure for calendar year 2022 that was released on Thursday. It describes the rationale for the method of travel to Dallas in May of that year and states that the trip was paid for by Republican donor Harlan Crow, a longtime friend to Thomas.

“Because of the increased security risk following the Dobbs opinion leak,” the report said, “the May flights were by private plane for official travel as filer’s security detail recommended noncommercial travel whenever possible.”

The report said the purpose of the reimbursement, which included meals as well as transportation, was for Thomas being a keynote speaker at the American Enterprise Institute’s Conference at Old Parkland. Also revealed were other trips paid for by Crow in 2022. The report additionally offers details about financial and real estate matters dating back several years to clear up what it said were prior omissions attributed to mistakes or to offer extra information outside a covered period on issues that have garnered attention in the media.

POLITICO obtained and published a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in May 2022 indicating Roe v. Wade would be overturned. More than a month later, on June 24, the Supreme Court released Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Planned Parenthood v. Casey cases, which overturned the 1973 Roe decision and returned the issue of abortion to the states.

In delivering remarks at the Heritage Foundation in October, Alito said the leak “made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination, because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.”


Indeed, a man was arrested in June of 2022 and charged with allegedly attempting to murder fellow conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And GOP lawmakers have pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland on enforcing a federal law against protests outside Supreme Court justices’ homes.

Chief Justice John Roberts tasked the Supreme Court’s marshal, Gail Curley, with investigating the leak. The inquiry culminated in a report in January that failed to identify who was responsible.

Thomas and Alito released their 2022 financial disclosure reports on Thursday after receiving 90-day extensions. They have faced growing scrutiny from congressional Democrats over concerns that the justices had failed to properly disclose gifts and paid-for trips, spurred by reports from ProPublica. The filings come after the Judicial Conference issued a new guidance in March that reinforced personal hospitality disclosure rules.

A statement delivered to reporters by Elliot Berke, an attorney who assisted Thomas, said the new disclosure report “answers — and utterly refutes — the charges trumped up in this partisan feeding frenzy.”

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