Weekly Spotlight: Yet another damning twist in the Clarence Thomas saga

Thomas’ presence at Koch donor events sheds light on past rulings, and highlights need for his immediate recusal from future Chevron cases

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Last week, a damning ProPublica investigation brought to light that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has attended at least two private donor events for the Koch network in the past. Thomas seems to have had a ‘yearslong, personal relationship’ with billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are well-known for their enormous political influence and are credited with having shaped American politics over the past fifty years.  

This is an especially critical revelation now because of a much-anticipated case arriving before the Supreme Court in the term that starts this week. In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the Supreme Court will consider overturning or significantly weakening the Chevron decision a nearly 40-year precedent that grants federal agencies authority to issue regulations. This is a case that could have dramatic repercussions on the health of our air, water, food, and finances (to name a few). The Koch brothers have been major figures in the crusade to reverse Chevron for years now. If Chevron is overturned, agency power would be drastically reduced, and there would be less industry regulation over everything from the environment to health to consumer protection. 

Thomas used to support Chevron, but critically he changed course in recent years, coinciding with his time with Koch Network and other billionaires seeking to gut Chevron. With the new news of his ties to the Koch network, Democrats in the House are calling for him to recuse from the upcoming case — a demand that we think is necessary.  

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