Tag Archives: Clarence Thomas

Is Ginni Thomas’ Expanding Activism a Problem for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?

Rex Curry/ZumaPress Chris Zumma/ZumaPress

This issue was raised by then Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY).  Shortly after tweeting about the Thomas’ questionable political ties, his first round of infamous tweets became public.    Weiner tried to tell anyone that would listen that Thomas should not be on the bench.  Weiner and the late Andrew Breitbart got into a very public Twitter feud over the entire issue.

Just saying…

Mother Jones

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is no ordinary Supreme Court spouse. Unlike Maureen Scalia, mother of nine, or the late Martin Ginsburg, mild-mannered tax law professor who was good in the kitchen, Thomas came from the world of bare-knuckled partisan politics. Over the years, she has enmeshed herself ever more deeply in the world of political advocacy—all the while creating a heap of conflict of interest concerns surrounding her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her role in Groundswell, the coalition of conservatives waging a “30 front war” against progressives and the GOP establishment that was revealed by Mother Joneson Thursday, revives questions about the propriety of Thomas’ activism on issues that have or could become the subject of Supreme Court cases.

Conflict of interest issues were first aired during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991, when critics argued that Ginni Thomas’ political work might compromise her husband’s objectivity. At that time, her political resume included stints as a Capitol Hill aide to a Republican congressman; a staffer at the US Chamber of Commerce, where she fought the Family and Medical Leave Act; and as a political appointee at the Labor Department during the first Bush administration. Thomas didn’t leave politics after her husband was confirmed. “I did not give up my First Amendment rights when my husband became a justice of the Supreme Court,” she has said in the past. She would later return to the Hill as a staffer to House majority leader Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) and work for the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. But in those jobs, Thomas kept a relatively low profile.

That changed around the same time that the tea party exploded in American politics, and Thomas became an outspoken member of the movement. In late 2009, Thomas founded the political advocacy group Liberty Central, which would later become a fierce player in the opposition to health care form. Detractors pointed out that Liberty Central was a potential vehicle for people with interests before the Supreme Court to make anonymous donations that might influence her husband.

The group was formed with a $500,000 anonymous donation that came as the Supreme Court was considering Citizens United, a case that ultimately resulted in loosening the restrictions on corporate giving to political campaigns. The anonymous donor was later revealed to be Harlan Crow, the Texas real estate developer. Crow was also a friend of Clarence Thomas’, and he was later linked to a scandal involving the justice’s failure to publicly disclose gifts from the developer and trips aboard his private jet. (It didn’t help that Justice Thomas had also failed to include his wife’s $150,000 annual salary from Liberty Central on his financial disclosure forms, which he later had to amend.) In January 2011, the good-government group Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Justice Thomas should have recused himself from Citizens United based on his wife’s role at Liberty Central. (Common Cause also asked the IRS to revoke Liberty Central’s nonprofit status. Nothing came of either request.)

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Will a Tea Party Supreme Court guarantee Obama a second term?

One might ask how can we call the Justices of the Supreme Court Tea Partiers.  The fact is, the majority Republicans (5) in the Court support and attend meetings and affairs thrown by the Koch Brothers and their ilk.  Those are the people that initiated the Tea Party and paid others to organize the alleged “grass roots” coalition.

The Week

The court’s conservative wing appears ready to engage in some despicable judicial activism on ObamaCare. Politically, at least, the justices are doing Obama a favor – Robert Shrum

Recall the scorn toward health reform dripping from the lips of Injustice Antonin Scalia. Or think of the tight-lipped Clarence Thomas, who could send a mannequin to sit in his place at the court’s oral arguments for all the difference his brooding presence makes. Along with the more plausibly judicious Samuel Alito, he too had more than likely made his decision. And so on the nation’s highest court, satire replaced stare decisis in a slightly altered version of the Red Queen’s jurisprudence inAlice in Wonderland: First the verdict, then the trial.

Some observers, and administration officials, hold out hope that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy will decide to save health reform from the revanchist claims of right-wing constitutionalism. I’m pessimistic because I lived through Bush v. Gore, when the court acted like a political ward committee, stopping the vote count in Florida to hand the presidency to George W. Bush by the margin of a single judicial vote.

Now comes the historic decision on health reform — which could reach far beyond the case to fray the whole fabric of progress in modern America. To overturn the individual mandate, to throw out all or most of the rest of the law, would be an act of naked judicial activism, which conservatives profess to despise. In truth, though, they practice it vigorously, in barely concealed disguise, when it advances their own ends. Depending on the “reasoning” rationalized by five horsemen of the judicial right, they could jeopardize other basic protections — for example, the prohibition against segregation at distinctly local enterprises like lunch counters, a prohibition that depends on a generous and long-prevailing view of federal regulation of interstate commerce.

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10 little-known Rush Limbaugh facts

Rush Limbaugh is pictured. | Courtesy of Premiere Radio Networks

Politico

America’s top talk radio host is in the middle of a firestorm for calling Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and a “prostitute” before apologizing for his comments after advertisers began leaving his show. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Rush Limbaugh:

1. Enjoys scented candles, and has them lit daily in his Palm Beach home.

2. First job away from home was shining shoes in a barbershop, at the age of 13.

3. During the Vietnam War, after holding a 2-S college deferment, he was reclassified as 1-Y – meaning qualified for military service but available only in time of war or national emergency – for a pilonidal cyst on his butt.

4. Due to his loss of hearing and the need for a cochlear implant, Limbaugh cannot listen to music he wasn’t familiar with before 2001.

5. Owns a Maybach 57S - an extremely rare sports car. Only 63 were sold in 2010, giving the brand a luxury item status that is frequently mentioned by rappers, such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, who cut apart a Maybach 57 in the music video for their hit single, “Otis.”

6. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas officiated at his third wedding. (Limbaugh is currently married to his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers.)

7. Sang at his friend and baseball star George Brett’s 1992 wedding reception, according to Zev Chafets’ 2010 biography, Rush Limbaugh – An Army of One.” (The two met while Limbaugh was the Director of Promotions at the Kansas City Royals in the late 1970s and early 1980s.)

8. The third member of his immediate family to bear Rush as a first name. His full name is Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, and he was known as “Rusty” growing up. (Rush’s name comes from ancestor Edna Rush, whose name was given to Limbaugh’s grandfather, Rush, Sr.)

9. Admitted to Playboy in 1993 that he smoked marijuana twice, inhaled, but didn’t like it.

10. Idolized conservative writer William F. Buckley. “Bill Buckley is indescribable. He’s irreplaceable. There will not be another one like him,” Limbaugh said on his radio show on the occasion of Buckley’s death.

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The Top 15 Most Dangerous Conservative Politicians And Government Officials To Watch In 2012

I’ve only listed the first six here.  The rest can be found on the resource website:

Addicting Info

From the Supreme Court to the halls of Congress to governor’s mansions across the country, conservatives have ruthlessly pushed an agenda that has torn America asunder since 1980. As 2011 comes to a close, conservatives are still trying to push failed policies. This is a list of 15 individual conservatives that pose a significant threat to American society as we move into 2012 and beyond.

1. John Roberts) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court leads four other conservative judges on the bench. Placed on the high court by President Bush, John Roberts has been influential in changing campaign finance laws (Citizens United) and has since ruled in favor of big corporations. And the conservative court isn’t through yet. Conservatives desire to overturn abortion, environmental laws, President Obama’s health care law, and voting rights laws, and you can bet that they are aiming to use the Supreme Court to do it.

2. Eric Cantor) The House Majority Leader has been very busy since his party took over the House in 2010. Cantor has proven that he has more power than John Boehner does, hence the fact that Boehner isn’t even on the list. Cantor is willing to do whatever it takes to slam every right-wing bill through Congress. He also has the backing of Tea Party House members. Cantor is still young, which means he could be a major player on the right for decades to come. It’s also likely that he could be the next Speaker of the House if the GOP keeps control after the 2012 Election.

3. Clarence Thomas) The second Supreme Court Justice to make the list has deep ties to the conservative movement. He has ties to Koch Industries and has received money from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations. He has refused to recuse himself from cases that he has ties to and that is what makes him dangerous. Thomas ruled with the other conservatives in Citizens United even though he had a conflict of interest in that case as well. As long as he is on the bench with Roberts, outside influences can dictate how the conservative wing rules.

4. Mitch McConnell) He may be the Senate Minority Leader but that doesn’t make McConnell any less poisonous to America. He has led the effort to block and stall many important pieces of legislation in the Senate and has blocked Presidential nominees from taking their posts, leaving many departments leaderless. We’ll see more of the same thing in 2012.

5. Paul Ryan) The second member of the U.S. House of Representatives to make the list, Ryan is a major threat because he introduced legislation that would kill Medicare by privatizing it. Essentially, Ryan’s plan throws all American senior citizens under a speeding bus. Ryan isn’t an old man either. He could remain active in politics for decades, which means his ideas will still be around as well. Even if the people of Wisconsin don’t re-elect him to Congress, Ryan could still join any conservative think tank or organization, or become a lobbyist. They would love to have him too. Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are in danger as long as Ryan is around.

6. Scott Walker) The first of two governors on the list has been busy since he took office. The Governor of Wisconsin is on this list because he is an example of just how involved the Koch brothers are in shaping public policy. Under Walker’s “leadership” he has severely weakened labor unions and worker’s rights, weakened environmental laws, weakened pubic education, weakened voter rights, and has put public lands and facilities up for grabs as a way to increase privatization. Some of these facilities are of deep interest to the Koch brothers. As further evidence that Walker is basically a Koch slave, he took a fake call from a person pretending to be David Koch at the height of the collective bargaining debate. Walker could very well be recalled by the people of Wisconsin but Walker intends to sabotage that effort. Walker’s career in Wisconsin may not last beyond this year, but that doesn’t make him any less of a threat, as governors around the country are following his lead and he could always run for federal office later on.

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Clarence Thomas Assailed For Alleged Ethical Lapses By More House Dems

It’s about time that more than just liberal bloggers and Anthony Weiner are noticing Justice Clarence Thomas’ ethics issues…

The Huffington Post

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is turning up the heat on Justice Clarence Thomas based on new information that builds upon previous reports of his alleged ethical lapses.

In late September, Slaughter had sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States to request official action on Thomas’ multiyear failure to disclose his wife’s income from various conservative think tanks and activist organizations. The Judicial Conference is the principal policy-making and administrative body for the federal court system.

On Friday, Slaughter submitted a new letter, this time addressed to Chief Justice John Roberts in his capacity as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference, to update and clarify the September letter.

At issue is the fact that Thomas repeatedly checked a box titled “none” on annual financial disclosure forms in response to a question about the sources of spousal income. Yet during those years, his wife, Virginia Thomas, worked for the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and for the Tea Party lobbying group Liberty Central, which she helped found.

The first letter asserted that Thomas’ nondisclosures persisted “[t]hroughout his entire tenure of the Supreme Court,” which began in 1991. It was fair to infer from his “high level of legal training and experience,” Slaughter wrote, that the justice’s failure presented the type of “willful” behavior that federal law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Department of Justice for investigation.

Friday’s letter, however, states that Thomas actually did report the sources of his wife’s income until 1997, therefore heightening the inference that the justice had not “misunderstood the reporting instructions,” as he asserted in January when he filed seven pages of addenda correcting his omissions over a six-year period. Citing information obtained by the left-leaning watchdog groups Common Cause and Alliance for Justice, Slaughter wrote that “Justice Thomas accurately filed his financial disclosure forms, including his wife’s employment, for as many as 10 years beginning in 1987 when he was Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

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Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to hear a challenge to the POTUS’ Health Care Law.  Having said that, what the hell are Justices Scalia and Thomas doing dining with the probable attorney who will argue the case against the Health Care law?

They don’t seem to care about the appearance of impropriety anymore.  When did we fall down the rabbit hole?   Was it after Bush v Gore or was it after Citizens United?

The Los Angeles Times

The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

The occasion was last Thursday, when all nine justices met for a conference to pore over the petitions for review. One of the cases at issue was a suit brought by 26 states challenging the sweeping healthcare overhaul passed by Congress last year, a law that has been a rallying cry for conservative activists nationwide.

The justices agreed to hear the suit; indeed, a landmark 5 1/2-hour argument is expected in March, and the outcome is likely to further roil the 2012 presidential race, which will be in full swing by the time the court’s decision is released.

The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.

Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles. Another firm that sponsored the dinner, Jones Day, represents one of the trade associations that challenged the law, the National Federation of Independent Business.

Another sponsor was pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, which has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. The dinner was held at a Washington hotel hours after the court’s conference over the case. In attendance was, among others, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and an avowed opponent of the healthcare law.

The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.

It’s nothing new: The two justices have been attending Federalist Society events for years. And it’s nothing that runs afoul of ethics rules. In fact, justices are exempt from the Code of Conduct that governs the actions of lower federal justices.

If they were, they arguably fell under code’s Canon 4C, which states, “A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.“

Nevertheless, the sheer proximity of Scalia and Thomas to two of the law firms in the case, as well as to a company with a massive financial interest, was enough to alarm ethics-in-government activists.

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

Scalia and Thomas have shown little regard for critics who say they too readily mix the business of the court with agenda-driven groups such as the Federalist Society. And Thomas’ wife, Ginni, is a high-profile conservative activist.

Moreover, conservatives argue that it’s Justice Elena Kagan who has an ethical issue, not Scalia and Thomas. Kagan served as solicitor general in the Obama administration when the first legal challenges to the law were brought at the trial court level. Her critics have pushed for Kagan to recuse herself from hearing the case, saying that she was too invested in defending the law then to be impartial now. Kagan has given no indication she will do so.

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Anthony Weiner’s Revenge

Glenn Beck gloated over ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner's fall from grace. But Weiner's work may be finally putting an end to Beck's sleazy gold company sponsor.

I hope that former Representative Anthony Weiner’s eagle-eyed focus on Justice Clarence Thomas’ corruption and deceit is the next thing to be exposed and dealt with…

Mother Jones

When prosecutors charged executives from the precious metals company Goldline with fraud on Tuesday, it marked an unusual victory for someone who hasn’t had many wins lately: former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.

Before he became infamous and ultimatelyresigned for tweeting photos of his private parts to women he met on the internet, Weiner had earned a reputation as a defender of consumer rights. Among his biggest campaigns was an effort to rein in sleazy gold dealers, from those who were taking advantage of the recession with dubious “cash for gold” deals to shady coin operations like Goldline, who, as Mother Jones reported last year, made millions by peddling their wares on the talk shows of right-wing hosts like Glenn Beck.

In May of last year, Weiner released a report highlighting many of the issues that ultimately ended up being part of the prosecutors’ charges Tuesday. His outspoken criticism of the company sparked a very public feud with Beck, who refused to distance himself from Goldline, which had been one of his most loyal sponsors. Beck asked his listeners to send in doctored photos of Weiner showing the congressman with “his nose as a wiener.” He said he welcomed any “Weiner facts” or photos of the congressman “in front of the wienermobile in front of his house, with his wiener dog, with his little wiener children.” Beck set up a website called weinerfacts.com just to post all the photos.

The day after Weiner resigned, Beck gloated about his nemesis’ downfall in a lengthy on-air rant, saying, “We’re going to have to do without, without one of the most unlikable figures in American political history. Remember, there is a guy who was capable of being completely unlikable. Even when he was arguing for healthcare, for 9/11 responders, he was unlikable…He could say anything, look and sound the exact same way. It didn’t matter if he was lying about Goldline or health care or his own wiener shots.”

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Herman Cain waived confidentiality: accuser’s lawyer

If this report is true, Cain did the best thing for all concerned.

Cain maintains that he did nothing wrong but the woman in question will most likely refute his claim, if the terms of the settlement agreement are waived and she’s allowed to tell her side of the story.

However, I fear that the GOP Teapublican media will try and drag her credibility through the mud similar to their Anita Hill assault at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

CBS News Investigates

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain went on the offensive today against allegations that he sexually harassed two women more than a decade ago.

CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford reports his supporters rallied to his defense, even arguing the revelations were calculated attacks motivated by race. Americans for Herman Cain the super PAC backing his campaign, said in an email to supporters “this is what the Left always does. Just like they did to Clarence Thomas, they are engaging in a ‘high tech lynching’ by smearing Herman Cain’s reputation and character.”

Herman Cain political committee invokes “high tech lynching”

But Joel Bennett, the lawyer for one of the accusers, who is a married federal employee who lives in Maryland, told CBS News today that his client is telling the truth.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as an ax to grind,” Bennett said. “I’m sure she feels as though she wasn’t treated properly by Herman Cain.”

But Bennett said said he does not remember the specific allegations, or what kind of settlement they eventually reached.

Is Cain taking scandal from bad to worse?

Cain has said he remembers one woman accusing him of harassment and described the episode on PBS’ Newshour last night.

“I reference this lady’s height,” Cain said. “And I was standing near her and I did this, saying ‘you’re the same height as my wife.’”

Bennett said Cain was talking about the case of another woman, not his client. But Bennett said now that Cain is talking about specifics, the confidentiality agreements may no longer be binding.

“I think the National Restaurant Association ought to waive the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions and let the two women, if they choose to do so, come forward and tell their stories so that it can get a complete public airing,” Bennett said.

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Coulter: ‘Our Blacks Are So Much Better Than Their Blacks’

Are Teapublicans systematically trying to turn back the clock on race relations?

Gawker

Whose blacks are the best blacks? Ann Coulter knows: “Our blacks are so much better than their blacks,” she tells Sean Hannity while discussing Herman Cain and the sexual harassment allegations he’s facing. “Our,” of course, being conservatives (and not, say, the Coulter family); “their,” meanwhile, referring to liberals. And why bother even paying attention to boring old Ann Coulter? Because she has the best blacks. Duh.

See video here…

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Rep. Slaughter Calls for ‘Retroactive Recusal’ of Justice Thomas to Overturn Citizens United

This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time, regarding Justice Clarence Thomas’ tax evasion deception for several years.

Crooks & Liars

Rep. Louis Slaughter (D-NY) told Current TV’s Keith Olbermann Tuesday that a “retroactive recusal” of Justice Clarence Thomas could result in overturning the Citizens United case.

Earlier this year, the liberal group Common Cause argued that both Justices Thomas and Antonin Scaliashould have recused themselves from the Citizens United case because they attended events organized billionaire Charles Koch.

Clarence Thomas - Caricature

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

In addition, Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, may have received financial benefit from the Citizens United ruling, something that was never disclosed by the justice.

Twenty House Democrats Thursday called on the U.S. Judicial Conference to formally request that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate Justice Clarence Thomas’s non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Justice Thomas indicated on his annual financial disclosure forms that his wife had received no income since he joined the bench in 1991, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007.

“What I’m very interested here is the votes that he has cast that may be in conflict,” Slaughter explained to Olbermann. “Of course, his wife can work. But the fact is there are only nine justice on that Supreme Court and it certainly should be a given that a family member of any of those people lucky enough to be a Supreme Court justice should not in any way involve themselves in matters that will go before that court. Now, we all know that she worked very hard for the Citizens United case, which I think is one of the most egregious things that have ever happened in the United States Supreme Court.”

She added: “There is such a thing as a retroactive recusal. We’re looking into that. That case, if you remember, was decided 5-4. If we could take away his vote, we could wipe that out. It would lose. How ’bout that?”

“That’s only the future of the democracy there, isn’t it?” Olbermann asked.

“Yes, indeed. And we are — you know, the judiciary is the last place for all of us to go. We’re only as good — all of us — as the courts are, only as safe as the courts are good. Their interpretations are really what give us the freedoms when you come down to it. They have enormous power.”

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