The University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism announced Thursday that ProPublica won the inaugural Maria Ressa Prize for Courage in Investigative Journalism for “its coverage of the ethical lapses of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” Established in honor of Ressa, a champion of global press freedom who won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, the award recognizes “uncommon courage” from journalists in the face of powerful interests.
In response to ProPublica’s “Friends of the Court” series, the Supreme Court announced in November it had unanimously adopted the first ethics code in its 234-year history and Thomas for the first time acknowledged that he should have reported selling real estate to billionaire Harlan Crow in 2014. Writing in his annual financial disclosure form, Thomas said, he “inadvertently failed to realize” that the deal needed to be publicly disclosed. Thomas also disclosed receiving three private jet trips from Crow, two of which we reported on. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas of Crow and conservative legal activist Leonard Leo as part of the committee’s ongoing effort to investigate ethics lapses by justices.
View other Maria Ressa Prize winners.