Fact-checking claim about Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas and $5,135 bottle of wine

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Tweets: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni posted a photo of themselves enjoying a $5,135 bottle of wine “as American women despair about abortion rights being taken away from them.”

Here's why: False

PolitiFact's ruling: The image seems innocent enough. It shows U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with his wife, attorney and conservative activist Ginni Thomas, holding a bottle of wine.

But some social media users claim that the couple posted it following the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade, suggesting that they were celebrating the predicted dismantling of the landmark case that granted federal protection to those seeking abortion.

"BREAKING: As American women despair about abortion rights being taken away from them, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni post a photo of themselves enjoying a $5,135 bottle of fancy wine. RT IF YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE A DISGRACE!" a May 6 tweet by Occupy Democrats read. Other examples of the claim also appeared on Facebook.

The image appears to be authentic, but it wasn’t taken recently.

A reverse-image search showed that the photo has been posted online since at least September 2018.

Articles that featured the photo were about Crystal Clanton, a conservative activist hired by Ginni Thomas who later faced criticism for making racist comments.

We couldn’t verify the $5,135 price tag the post placed on the particular bottle the Thomas’ have in the photograph, but the same kind of wine currently goes for about $4,000 a bottle.

Our ruling

Social media posts claim an image of Clarence and Ginni Thomas shows them enjoying a $5,000 bottle of wine following the Roe v. Wade draft leak.

This is miscaptioned. The photo is real but it wasn’t taken recently. It dates back to at least September 2018.

We rate these posts False.

Our Sources

  • Twitter, Occupy Democrats tweet, May 6, 2022

  • Facebook search, May 19, 2022

  • Tin Eye, reverse image search, May 19, 2022

  • Mediaite, EXCLUSIVE: Clarence Thomas’s Wife Hired Ex-TPUSA Staffer Known For Saying ‘I Hate Blacks’, Sept. 6, 2018

  • Reuters, Federal judges cleared of misconduct after hiring clerk accused of racism, Jan. 14, 2022 ​​

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Fact-checking photo of Clarence and Ginni Thomas, $5,135 wine