Cloud Over the Court –
Published: June 22, 2011

The Supreme Court is not bound by the code of conduct for federal judges, but justices have said they follow it voluntarily. Justice Clarence Thomas, however, does not appear to believe that he needs to adhere to those rules.

The code says judges “should not personally participate” in raising money for charitable endeavors lest donors feel pressured to give or feel entitled to special treatment if they do. Judges are not supposed to know who donates to projects honoring them.

On Sunday, The Times reported on Justice Thomas’s conduct connecting a museum in his hometown, Pin Point, Ga., with a major donor to that project, Harlan Crow, a Dallas real-estate magnate who is a big contributor to conservative causes and a Thomas friend and benefactor. A company controlled by Mr. Crow’s partnership paid $1.5 million for the site of the museum, which is scheduled to open this fall. Although the museum is not intended to honor Justice Thomas, his history will be part of it.

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