It’s glorious to live in a technological age where there’s a tweet or a tape of everything. Clarence Thomas spoke before a group in 2001 and told them that being on the Supreme Court was not worth the money, and it was a real pain in the butt to do, but since he was a man of high moral character, he did it. I’m paraphrasing but that’s the gist of his remarks, which you’ll see below. Be that as it may, Thomas found a way to make the position very worth the money. Insider:

Justice Clarence Thomas — who has accepted lavish vacations and other financial benefits from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow for years — said in a speech in 2001 that serving on the Supreme Court wasn’t worth it for what it paid.

“The job is not worth doing for what they pay,” Thomas said during a speech in 2001, The New York Post reported at the time. “The job is not worth doing for the grief. But it is worth doing for the principle.”

Thomas was speaking to the Bar Association in Savannah, Georgia, according to the Post. In the speech, which was resurfaced this week by The Nation writer Jeet Heer, Thomas discussed his efforts to gain custody of his then-10-year-old grandnephew. The Post reported Thomas cried during the speech and thanked his lawyer who worked on the custody battle.

In 2001, the salary for an associate Supreme Court justice was $178,300, while the chief justice made $186,300. As of 2023, the salary for an associate justice is $285,400, while the chief justice makes $298,500.

From what we’ve seen reported recently, the real principle that motivated Clarence Thomas was the idea that he was above the law. That’s the principle that his actions are consistent with.

Help keep the site running, consider supporting.


  1. Gee, Clarence. As a member of the Supreme Court, you actually only work about 9 months of the year (if you subtract the Federal holidays and all the weeks the Court’s in “recess,” then you’re probably talking maybe 7 months total) and $178,300 wasn’t “worth” the job?

    By 2001, you hadn’t worked a REAL job for 20 years. You’d worked under Reagan as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights for less than a year (June 1981 to May 1982) before getting moved to the Chair of the EEOC for nearly 8 years (May 1982 to March 1990) from which you were tapped to become a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit which you served for a year and a half (March 1990 to October 1991) and from there, you were put on the Supreme Court as Bush’s “token Black guy” to replace the far more intelligent Thurgood Marshall (whose shoes you weren’t fit to fill–you weren’t even fit to lick those shoes clean) where you’ve been ever since. A decade on SCOTUS before your little whine about the awful pay. If you REALLY thought the pay was so horrid, why the frak didn’t you just resign/retire?

    Typical right-winger. Hate the government and everything about the way it works but you’re still happy with taking the hard-earned money from the taxpayers (and then you find more ways to screw over those taxpayers).

  2. I’ve read just about every book Hunter S. Thompson wrote, some more than once. I remember Clarence making an appearance way back in one of his stories, involving prostitutes, guns, drugs, and a Cadillac trip in the west. This was long before his rise in politics. Maybe Hunter was making it up, but as time as gone on, it appears that individual is indeed the same animal. Hunter did meet a lot of famous people and he did do a lot of wild things along the way. It’s believable. Criminals with lifetime appointments to make the laws. B E A UTIFUL!

    • Far more likely, he’d be just as corrupt, but richer. As far as counting wealth with these people are concerned, there is no concept of ‘enough’.

  3. I think everyone can all agree on one thing: if this were Justice Kagan, Sotamayor, or Jackson-Brown getting this sort of stuff from George Soros, the shit would be hitting a fan so powerful it’d be flung to the moon.

    I’d say the hypocrisy of cons is appalling but since it has been their M.O. for so long the term “appalling” lacks oomph.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The maximum upload file size: 128 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here