Terri Gerstein Calls Out Justice Thomas’s Conduct over Accepting Excessive Gifts

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, contributed an article to Slate denouncing Justice Clarence Thomas’s conduct in accepting excessive gifts from Harlan Crow as the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearing on Supreme Court Ethics Reform (“Why Do Most Public Servants Follow Rules About Free Gifts?” Apr. 10). “[T]he real problem here isn’t about disclosure. The real problem for our democracy is the fact that these excessive gifts happened at all. It’s one more example of how wealthy and powerful people buy access to government; how rules don’t seem to apply to people at the top; and how terribly broken and in need of reform our Supreme Court has become. . . . While librarians and teachers and FDA inspectors and lawyers turn down water bottles and bagels, Thomas says yes to all this? Are those pesky ethics and rules just for the little people, too? It’s demoralizing, fuels cynicism, and corrodes trust in public institutions.”