Tag Archives: Federalist Society

Democrats Introduce Bill that Could Lead to Impeachment for Justices Thomas and Scalia

I’m not sure if Justices Scalia and Thomas can actually be impeached but the idea is intriguing nonetheless…

PoliticusUSA

On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed a law to establish a Code of Conduct  for the Supreme Court.

It’s surely to have Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia quaking in their Tea Party boots because it would mean they would actually have to be independent of political and other influences. They would also have to have the appearance of independence.  They would have to stay away from political activity. That part would be really hard.

As it stands, this law would help guarantee that Supreme Court Justices are held to the same ethical standards we expect of other judges.

As Senator Blumenthal said:

This legislation’s goal is to preserve public trust and confidence – the lifeblood of the Supreme Court – after claims of questionable conduct by some Justices, No Justice, any more than a judge, should advance a partisan cause or sit on a case involving a personal friend or interest. There is no persuasive reason in law or logic why Supreme Court Justices should not be held to the same high standard as other federal judges.

The proposed law holds the Supreme Court to the same standards required of judges in the federal court system. Currently, Justices on the Supreme Court decide for themselves if they should recuse themselves from cases in which they may have a personal stake or in Thomas’ case, his wife has a political or financial stake as a holy roller in the Tea Party.

Justices Thomas and Scalia who attended a few partisan fundraisers also ruled in favor of the conservatives raising questions about their independence.  This was especially true in Citizens United because that ruling undid decades of established law.

Both of these actions violate the code of conduct already in place for Federal court judges.

We saw how well leaving Supreme court Justices to their own devices worked out when Justice Thomas ruled on the Affordable Care act, while his wife Ginni was  paid to lobby against the law.   The fact that Thomas “forgot” ,  to disclose Ginni’s income from lobbying against healthcare – even after she supposedly ceased lobbying against healthcare doesn’t help.  That would have been more than just an oops moment had there been a code of conduct for the Supreme Court. Thomas’  conflict of interest problems are not restricted to benefits to Ginni.

Questions about Thomas and Scalia’s judicial independence are nothing new.  We saw it when both Supreme Court Justices attended a  Koch Brothers fundraiser in 2010 and the Federalist Society fundraiser  they attended in 2011, Thomas’ failure to disclose the sources Ginni’s income for six years also came out in 2011.    A code of ethics for the Supreme Court is a bill whose time came a few years ago and has increasing importance given Ginni Thomas’s involvement with Groundswell.

As noted by Media Matters,

The recent Groundswell memoranda obtained by David Corn of Mother Jones reveal that these conflicts are getting worse.

Ginni Thomas was the founder and leader of Liberty Central, a political nonprofit “dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist ‘tyranny’ of President Obama and Democrats in Congress.” The group wasfunded by Harlan Crow, frequent patron of the Thomas’ projects and causes and a financial supporter of right-wing campaigns such as the “swift boat” attacks on then-presidential candidate John Kerry and the advertising push to confirm President George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. Crow also serves on the board of the American Enterprise Institute, whose Edward Blum brought the two most recent attacks on the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action before the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas favored Blum’s positions against progressive precedent on both civil rights issues.

Had Federal Court judges been as ethically challenged  as Clarence Thomas, they would have been forced to resign. Considering that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, it seems the bar for ethical standards should be the same as those for lower courts – if not higher.

If the Supreme Court had a code of conduct, Thomas would have had to recuse himself on several cases in which his wife’s high profile within the Tea Party would scream of bias.  Had he failed to do so, there would be a legal basis with teeth to seek Thomas’ resignation.  For Thomas and Scalia defenders  tempted to question the constitutionality of holding Supreme Court Justices to ethics, Article 3 of the constitution says justices “shall hold their offices during good behaviour. If independence from pillow talk with a political lobbyist isn’t good behavior, I don’t know what is.

Let’s face it, if you are sleeping with someone within a political party whose agenda is to prevent certain classes of eligible voters from voting, the odds of forgetting that fact while considering the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act are zero – or at least it sure looks that way to any reasonable person.  The same holds true when you at least look like you might be having pillow talk with someone with a political stake in the Defense of Marriage Act.

One can point to Justice Kagan’s ethical standards as proof that Supreme Court Justices can and do take principles like judicial independence and the appearance of it seriously.  Then one is reminded of Justices Thomas and Scalia.

This law would address one of the many problems created by the sort of corruption that has become synonymous with the Republican Party and its puppet masters.  But then, that would mean doing something constructive and it would also mean that the separation of powers are in fact separate, rather than subject to pillow talk between one Supreme Court Justice and one member of the Groundswell propaganda alliance.

 

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Filed under Ginni Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas

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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Filed under Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Of The United States

Virginia Thomas builds tea party network

I wonder if the Senate, while going through the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees, has ever ordered psychological testing for those nominees. 

I know they can’t order the examinations on the nominee’s spouse, but I swear, regarding “Uncle” Clarence and Ginni Thomas, there’s a case to be made for mandatory psych evaluations of SCOTUS nominees…

Politico

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has a new job in conservative journalism that keeps her involved with the recent focus of her political activism and business dealings – the tea party movement.

As a part-time special correspondent for the Daily Caller, Thomas plans to tap into the movement, according to emails sent this month to top tea party organizers around the country, to build a list of “leaders from the grassroots in each state … who have their ear to the ground” and are willing to be surveyed weekly by two “prominent pollsters.” The results will be published on the Daily Caller website.

Thomas’s involvement with the tea party and the conservative movement in general has been a continuing source of controversy both for her and her husband.

Ginni Thomas’s 2009 creation of a tea party non-profit group for which she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed contributions, as well as her subsequent creation of a tea party consulting firm last year, has become the basis for allegations by some liberals that her husband’s impartiality has been compromised.

And her attendance at an annual summit of major conservative donors organized by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch – revealed in a recent speech by a federal judge and Thomas family ally – can be expected to draw even more scrutiny.

In remarks prepared for delivery last month to the San Francisco branch of the conservative Federalist Society, Laurence Silberman, a senior judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, blasted critics of the Thomases as “hypocrites” pushing “phony concerns” about judicial ethics, while ignoring real ones and getting their facts wrong.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53059.html#ixzz1JM7R76V6

 

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Filed under Ginni Thomas, GOP Fundraising, GOP Hubris, GOP Malfeasance, GOP Radicalism, Justice Clarence Thomas

Defiant Clarence Thomas fires back

Clarence Thomas

Image via Wikipedia

Politico

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – his impartiality under attack from liberals because of his attendance at a meeting of conservative donors sponsored by the Koch brothers and his wife’s tea party activism – struck a defiant tone in a Saturday night speech in Charlottesville, Va., telling a friendly audience that he and his wife “believe in the same things” and “are focused on defending liberty.” 

Delivering the keynote speech at an annual symposium for conservative law students, Thomas spoke in vague, but ominous, terms about the direction of the country and urged his listeners to “redouble your efforts to learn about our country so that you’re in a position to defend it.”

He also lashed out at his critics, without naming them, asserting they “seem bent on undermining” the High Court as an institution. Such criticism, Thomas warned, could erode the ability of American citizens to fend off threats to their way of life.

“You all are going to be, unfortunately, the recipients of the fallout from that – that there’s going to be a day when you need these institutions to be credible and to be fully functioning to protect your liberties,” he said, according to a partial recording of the speech provided to POLITICO by someone who was at the meeting.

“And that’s long after I’m gone, and that could be either a short or a long time, but you’re younger, and it’s still going to be a necessity to protect the liberties that you enjoy now in this country.”

Thomas spoke at the closing banquet for the symposium, which was sponsored by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. Several hundred law students, professors, Federalist Society staffers and guests were in the audience for his speech, which was closed to the press.

Continue reading here…

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Filed under Justice Clarence Thomas, Tea Party, Tea Party Agenda, Tea Party Talking Points, Virginia Lamp Thomas

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