John Oliver offers to pay Clarence Thomas $1m a year if he resigns from supreme court | Clarence Thomas

The late-night talkshow host John Oliver has offered to pay Clarence Thomas $1m annually – as well as give him a $2m tour bus – if the Republican judge resigns from the US supreme court.

Oliver made the proposal on Sunday’s episode of his HBO show Last Week Tonight, saying the supreme court justice had 30 days to accept or it would expire.

The British-born, progressive comedian’s offer came after a steady drumbeat of media investigations in the previous several months established that Thomas failed to disclose that political benefactors bought him lavish vacation travel and real estate for his mother. Thomas also failed to disclose – as required – that he allowed school fees for a family member to be paid off and had been provided a loan to buy a luxury motor coach, all after openly complaining about the need to raise supreme court justices’ salaries.

As a result, Thomas’s impartiality came into question after he sided with the contentious ruling that eliminated the federal abortion rights once provided by the Roe v Wade case.

He also recently listened to arguments over whether Donald Trump can be removed from states’ ballots in the presidential election after the former president’s supporters – whom he told to “fight like hell” – staged the January 6 attack at the US Capitol in Washington DC. Thomas resisted pressure to recuse himself from matters pertaining to the Capitol attack, even though his wife, Ginni Thomas, is a conservative political activist who has endorsed false claims from Trump and his supporters that the 2020 election he lost to Joe Biden was stolen from him – which in turn fueled January 6.

Oliver alluded to all of those circumstances as he extended his lucrative offer to Thomas, saying: “Lot on your plate right now, from stripping away women’s rights to hearing January 6 cases … and you deserve a break, you know, away from the meanness of Washington. So you can be surrounded by the regular folks whose lives you made demonstrably worse for decades.”

The host suggested that Thomas could upgrade his “favorite mode of travel” by signing a contract requiring him to step down from the supreme court in exchange for $1m annually from Oliver along with the tour bus, which is outfitted with a king-sized bed, a fireplace and four televisions.

Oliver joked that Thomas possibly feared that making such a trade might attract negative judgment from one of his top benefactors: the Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow, who was reported to have maintained a private collection of Nazi memorabilia that included a pair of paintings by Adolf Hitler.

But Oliver said: “That’s the beauty of friendship, Clarence. If they’re real friends, they’ll love you no matter what your job is. So I guess this might be the perfect way to find out who your real friends actually are.

“So that’s the offer – $1m a year, Clarence. And a brand new condo on wheels. And all you have to do … is sign the contract and get the fuck off the supreme court,” Oliver remarked. “The clock starts now – 30 days, Clarence. Let’s do this!”

The yearly salary for supreme court justices – whose appointments are for life – is $298,500.

Neither Thomas nor the supreme court immediately commented publicly on Oliver’s offer. Oliver acknowledged he could end up going on “stand-up tours … for years” to be able to afford paying Thomas’s retirement if the justice accepts the proposal.

The arch-conservative is the longest-serving member of a supreme court dominated 6-3 by rightwingers. Thomas has been there since his 1991 confirmation, which was marked by testimony from Anita Hill, who accused him of sexual harassment while he supervised her in two separate jobs, at the US Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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