Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice

Are He and His Wife Criminals and Enemies of American Values?

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas

Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast

Clarence Thomas

Clarence thomas


Bush and Wicca and Doreen Valiente Go to http://professionalleft.blogspot.com for a treat!!!

Clarence thomas

Thank You for Whatever you can do.

Question:  "Separation between Church and State."  Who coined the Phrase?  Give up?  Answer:   Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding fathers of this great Nation and a creator of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment to that same Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Dansbury Baptist Convention, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  In it he said:

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."


We will leave it up to the reader to determine whether Clarence Thomas and His Wife have made serious errors in in judgment, are criminals and liars.  In our opinion, it is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment is in danger from their past and future actions.

Staff in their offices like others we called, stated that their position is that Moslems, Mormons, Hindus, Shintoists and Witches are not "Real" religions" and in fact are evil cults.  What is a real religion?   What they have been practicing?  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  This is a summary of information collected from several sources.

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.     Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the First Amendment Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process.  )


EXTREMIST CONSERVATIVE  REPUBLICANS ARE THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA by R. Blackbird

Extremist Conservative Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the people. The Extremist Conservative Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military service people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.

Those Extremist Conservative Republicans hate the rest of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.

There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them for the nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.

Extremist Conservative Republicans are the enemy.


 

Following a time-honored Washington tradition of dumping required but embarrassing information on a Friday night before a major holiday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally released the details of his wife's income from her year or so working for the tea party group Liberty Central, which fought President Obama's health care reform law. His new financial disclosure form indicates that his wife, Virginia, who served as Liberty Central's president and CEO, received $150,000 in salary from the group and less than $15,000 in payments from an anti-health care lobbying firm she started.

The disclosure was apparently prompted in part by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had been needling Thomas (including on Twitter) for months to disclose how much money his wife earned from Liberty Central. That's because challenges to Obama's health care reform law are likely to end up before the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, and if Thomas and his wife benefited from her income working against the bill, the justice has an enormous conflict of interest in hearing any legal challenge. Thomas had failed to disclose Virginia's income on his financial disclosure forms for 20 years; under pressure from Weiner and others, he had recently amended old disclosures to reflect hundreds of thousands of dollars she had earned working for the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that also opposed Obama's health care plan.

But, up until now, Thomas had not revealed how much money his wife made from her controversial Liberty Central work. When Virginia Thomas decided to take a high-profile role in the organization, she was immediately criticized because of the potential that her job might compromise her husband's independence on the bench. Eventually, she was forced to step down (a move also apparently prompted by her bizarre October phone call to Anita Hill, the woman who'd accused her husband of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearing). When she left the organization, she created a new consulting firm, Liberty Consulting, which also did anti-health care reform lobbying. Justice Thomas finally released the details of her compensation Friday night, but the disclosure, and Weiner's triumphant press release announcing the move, were largely overshadowed by Weinergate.

Over the weekend, Weiner's Twitter account was allegedly hacked and Tweeted a photo of a near-naked man to a college student. Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart published the photo on his site, Big Government, and the feeding frenzy was furious enough to ensure that Thomas' news barely saw the light of day. Still, if and when health care reform makes its way to the Supreme Court, Thomas will have a much harder time making his conflict of interest go away. 


The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving!!!

Kamenko Pajic/Associated Press

Clarence Thomas Decided Three Cases Where AEI Filed a Brief After AEI Gave Him a $15,000 Gift

by: Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

In 2001, a conservative, corporate-aligned think tank called the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) gave Justice Clarence Thomas the gift of a $15,000 bust of Abraham Lincoln. At the ceremony presenting Thomas with this very expensive gift, AEI president Christopher DeMuth explained that the bust was “cast in 1914 by the great neo-classical sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman.” Watch it:

AEI, however, is not simply in the business of giving luxurious gifts to Supreme Court justices — it is also in the business of litigating before the United States Supreme Court. ThinkProgress uncovered three briefs that AEI filed in Thomas’ Court after Thomas received their $15,000 gift. Thomas recused from none of these three cases, and he either voted in favor of the result AEI favored or took a stance that was even further to the right in each case:

  • Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision upholding a local school district’s desegregation plan. Thomas joined the majority opinion reversing the lower court’s decision, and he filed a lengthy concurrence defending that result.
  • Whitman v. American Trucking Association: AEI joined a brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the EPA to consider the costs of implementing new air quality standards before it issued them. Thomas’ concurring opinion went much further than AEI asked him to go, suggesting that the law authorizing EPA to issue these standards is unconstitutional.

Although there is no evidence that AEI gave Thomas the $15,000 gift specifically to buy his vote in a particular case, Thomas’ decision to sit on cases where his benefactor has a demonstrated interest creates a very serious appearance of impropriety. No one would trust a judge to hear their case if they learned that someone on the other side of the case had given that judge a rare and expensive gift.

Originally published on ThinkProgress
 

 


The following is excerpted from an article by Ian Millhiser on alternet.org on June 23, 2011 and from Think Progress

Real estate magnate Harlan Crow has been very good to Justice Clarence Thomas, lavishing gifts and other favors on Thomas and his family. Crow provided $500,000 to allow Thomas’ wife to start a Tea Party group, and he once gave Thomas a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. He also served on the board of a corporate-aligned think tank called the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which once gave Thomas a $15,000 gift.

As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, AEI filed at least three briefs in the Supreme Court after giving Thomas this very expensive gift, and Thomas either sided with AEI or took a position that was much more extreme than AEI’s in all three of these cases.  ThinkProgress has now learned that a second Harlan Crow-affiliated group, the Center for the Community Interest, has a perfect record in front of Justice Thomas.

Crow served on CCI’s board alongside failed Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada.  Westlaw’s database of Supreme Court briefs reveals eight briefs filed by CCI in eight different Supreme Court cases, and Justice Thomas voted for CCI’s preferred outcome in every single one of these cases:

  • City of Chicago v. Morales: The lower court struck down a law “making it illegal for members of criminal gangs to loiter and fail to obey an order to disperse.” CCI asked the Court to reverse that decision, and Justice Thomas wrote a dissent saying that he would reverse.
  • Pennsylvania Bd. of Probation and Parole v. Scott: The lower court struck down a parole board’s warrantless search of a parolee’s residence. CCI asked the Court to reverse that decision, and Justice Thomas wrote the 5-4 decision reversing.
  • Dickerson v. U.S.: The lower court upheld a statute cutting at the core of accused defendant’s Miranda rights. CCI asked the Court to affirm this decision. Justice Thomas joined a dissent which would have affirmed.
  • U.S. v. Knights: The lower court struck down the warrantless search of a probationer’s residence. CCI asked the Court to reverse. Justice Thomas joined a decision reversing.
  • U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development v. Rucker: The lower court ruled in favor of public housing tenants who were evicted because their resident family members or caregivers violated drug laws. CCI asked the Court to reverse. Justice Thomas joined a decision reversing.
  • Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe: The lower court struck down a law requiring public disclosure of registered sex offenders. CCI asked the Court to reverse. Justice Thomas joined a decision reversing.
  • U.S. v. American Library Ass’n, Inc.: The lower court struck down a federal law requiring many public libraries to use filtering software that prevents web browsers from showing some pornographic material. CCI asked the Court to reverse. Justice Thomas joined a plurality opinion reversing.
  • Devenpeck v. Alford: The lower court held an arrest unconstitutional. CCI asked the Court to reverse. Justice Thomas joined an opinion reversing.

To be clear, there is no direct evidence that Crow lavished gifts on Thomas in order to switch his vote in any of these cases. But Thomas’ refusal to turn away Crow’s gifts remains a severe blow to the integrity of the judiciary. The losing parties in each of these cases has a right to be confident that their cases were decided solely on the merits, and Thomas’ relationship with Crow strikes directly at that confidence.


Clarence Thomas Must Go

Excerpts from an article on truth-out.org by William Rivers Pitt, June 23, 2011

 


 
Justice Clarence Thomas at a ceremony after Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death in 2005. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)
Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.  - Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

For the sake of full disclosure, I will tell you that I do not like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In my opinion, he has no business sitting on the high court after the reprehensible treatment he forced Anita Hill to endure, and has been a disgrace to the bench lo these last twenty years. Anthony Weiner, one of Clarence Thomas' most ardent critics, was just run out of Washington DC on a rail for behavior far less offensive; Mr. Thomas is lucky there was no such thing as Twitter when he was sexually harassing Hill, or he'd be chasing ambulances outside of muni court like the hack he is. He sits up there like a lump, never speaking or offering questions to petitioners, and has not had an original thought since his shameful Senate approval.

But his vapid intellectual presence on the bench is only a small part of the story. Mr. Thomas has, by all appearances, turned his position on the court into a license to print money for himself, his family, and a few choice friends.

Conservative corruption is nothing new in Washington, but Mr. Thomas has taken the practice to bold new heights, and finally, people are beginning to sit up and take notice. Thomas has been playing fast and loose with judicial ethics for a long time now, and though Supreme Court Justices are not technically beholden to judicial rules of ethics, his behavior has become so egregious as to warrant deep attention, and in my opinion, removal from the high court.

Justice Thomas is in possession of a gorgeous bust of Abraham Lincoln, which was cast in 1914 by the noted sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman. The bust was given as a gift to Thomas in 2001 by Christopher DeMuth, president of the notoriously right-wing American Enterprise Institute. The value of the bust was $15,000. In the intervening years, AEI has filed briefs on three separate occasions regarding cases before the high court, and on each occasion, Thomas has ruled in their favor, often going beyond the scope they were seeking.

Thomas has attended fundraisers sponsored by the Koch Brothers in support of far-right media outlets, think tanks and groups. His habit of openly supporting right-wing causes has earned him an enormous amount of financial largesse from heavy-hitting right-wing donors, most notoriously Mr. Harlan Crow, who helped finance the "swift-boating" of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. Crow financed a library project dedicated to Thomas, and gave Thomas' wife $500,000 to create a Tea Party group that has since been throwing its weight all around the country. Crow, it should be noted, is a trustee of AEI, which gave Thomas that bust of Lincoln.

The list of his brazen improprieties runs long, but the real show centers around his wife, Ginni. Harlan Crow's massive donation allowed her to create Liberty Central (and later Liberty Consulting), an advocacy group dedicated to the overthrow of President Obama's health care reform legislation. The conflict of interest inherent in this - given that Mr. Obama's health care legislation will certainly appear in some form before the Supreme Court - is manifest. The high court's decision in Citizens United, which Thomas voted in favor of, has opened the financial floodgates for groups like Liberty Central, so Thomas' family appears to be reaping wonderful monetary gains from that decision. And there is the fact that Thomas failed to disclose nearly a million dollars of income earned by his wife, and brushed off that failure to disclose with an "Oops, didn't understand the paperwork" excuse.

As has been stated, Supreme Court Justices are exempt from following the judicial code of conduct, but Mr. Thomas' behavior has been so egregious as to create a groundswell towards changing that. Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice recently penned an editorial for the Washington Post which argued:

The behavior of Supreme Court justices has come under increasing scrutiny. Questions have been raised, for instance, about the propriety of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas appearing at political strategy conferences hosted by the conservative Koch brothers. Other justices' activities have also prompted concerns that the line between justice and politics is increasingly blurred.

Regardless of whether one shares fears of politicization, disputes are inevitable so long as the nation's highest court operates with almost no compulsory ethics rules to guide - or constrain - behavior. The Supreme Court, whose members are shielded with lifetime appointments, is the only entity in our government that is not subject to mandatory ethics requirements. That is why reformers are calling for the Code of Conduct that governs all other federal judges to apply to the justices. Surely it makes no sense to have lesser standards for the highest court than those in place for lower courts.

The Code of Conduct doesn't frown on ideological activity but does prohibit political activity, and that's where Scalia and Thomas crossed the line. The fact that they did so with seeming impunity demonstrates that voluntary adherence to ethical standards doesn't always work. How to enforce such a code would be the hardest question, but there are options - possibilities include adjudication by other sitting justices, retired justices, lower court judges, the judicial conference or some combination of these. Exact methods could be explored in congressional hearings.

The bottom line is that if the judicial Code of Conduct becomes mandatory the number of events that would be placed off-limits is small. Meanwhile, the effect on the integrity of the court would be large. Some suspect this is an effort by progressives to tweak justices they don't like. But the Supreme Court itself effectively answered that charge in 2009. In Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., a case that dealt with a West Virginia Supreme Court justice who ruled in favor of a corporation that had made large contributions to his campaign, the high court said that "codes of conduct serve to maintain the integrity of the judiciary and the rule of law."

The lifetime appointment for a Supreme Court Justice is not set in stone, as Justice Abe Fortas found out to his woe forty years ago. Fortas, who was appointed to the bench by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, was found to have taken large sums of money from litigants who appeared before the high court, including Phillip Morris. After a second pay-for-play arrangement benefiting Fortas was discovered, he was forced to resign in disgrace. As Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress argues:

It is difficult to distinguish Fortas' scandal from Thomas'. Like Fortas, Thomas accepted several very valuable gifts from parties who are frequently interested in the outcome of federal court cases. One of Thomas' benefactors has even filed briefs in his Court since giving Thomas a $15,000 gift, and Thomas has not recused himself from each of these cases.

Of course, Thomas is also the least likely Justice to actually follow the command of precedent. Thomas embraces a discredited theory of the Constitution which would return America to a time when federal child labor laws were considered unconstitutional. His fellow justices criticize him for showing "utter disregard for our precedent and Congress' intent." Even ultra-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia finds Thomas' approach to the law too extreme - in Scalia's words, "I am a textualist. I am an originalist. I am not a nut."

But Thomas' disregard for what has come before him changes nothing about the precedent he faces. If Abe Fortas had to resign his seat, so too should Clarence Thomas.

Given the simple, unavoidable fact that Mr. Thomas is bereft of both shame and a code of personal ethics, it is highly unlikely he will resign, especially if his wife is raking in the cash thanks to his decisions.  In that event, the final remedy of impeachment must be deployed. The Supreme Court must not be a place for partisan political fundraising or friendly-donor back-slapping.  It is the place of last recourse in our system of laws, and must be as far above reproof as can be humanly managed.  Clarence Thomas is an embarrassment to the ideals of our system of government, and must go.  He can choose to leave, or be removed by Constitutional remedy, but his time on the bench must be concluded.


Plagued by ethical breaches and links to groups calling for armed insurrection against the U.S. government, Clarence Thomas must resign his seat on the Supreme Court.
 

Time was when, at any right-wing gathering, chances were that you'd hear the justices of the Supreme Court derided as black-robed usurpers of democracy. Today, not so much. Ever since the seating of the Roberts court, the right has been pretty happy with high court's decisions, especially the outcome of Citizens United v. FEC, the case through which the court, in a decision handed down last year, opened the floodgates of corporate money into the electoral system.

No single justice has been more stalwart for the causes of the right -- indeed, even the far right -- than Justice Clarence Thomas, who,
notes ThinkProgress, may just be the most ethically challenged justice since Abe Fortas was forced to step down from the court in 1969 for accepting tens of thousands of dollars from wealthy benefactors.

While Thomas does not appear to have accepted direct donations (though he has accepted gifts, and possibly luxury travel aboard private jets and a yacht), it is clear that the conduct of his relationships with the wealthy and powerful -- and one magnate, Harlan Crow, in particular -- present some pretty obvious conflicts of interest, especially in regard to the court's decision in Citizens United, in which Thomas sided with the majority in declaring corporate campaign funding to be constitutionally protected. Thomas could have recused himself from the case, but he did not.

A
New York Times exposé published on June 19 detailed the role of Clarence Thomas' friend, real estate magnate Harlan Crow, in bankrolling a pet project of the justice's, the Pin Point Museum and Cannery outside Savannah, Georgia. Crow also funded a Savannah library dedicated to Thomas, and Thomas was given a bust of Lincoln valued at $15,000 by the American Enterprise Institute, to which Crow is a donor, and which files briefs in Supreme Court cases. But other aspects of Thomas' relationship with Crow are far more troubling, especially Crow's involvement in providing the seed money for the Tea Party group founded by Thomas' wife, Ginni.

Now, it appears that Ginni Thomas may have derived a direct benefit from the Citizens United decision. And that is not the only ethically troubling incident in the annals of the Thomases' professional lives, which we detail below. But if there's any one big lesson to be learned from the saga of Clarence Thomas and the sullying of the high court, it's that Supreme Court justices are not bound by the code of ethics that applies to other members of the federal bench; it seems they are not legally bound by any code of ethics at all. In the wake of the Thomas problems, that fact has led more than
100 law professors to sign a letter calling on Congress to make the ethics code for federal judges apply to those who grace the bench of the highest court in the land.

Because of this legal loophole, Thomas cannot be forced off the bench. But, for the sake of the republic he claims to love, he could step down -- and should. (A Credo Action petition calling for just that is
here. UPDATE: And Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., called today for an investigation of Thomas, as reported by ThinkProgress' Ian Millhiser.) At AlterNet, we've followed the antics of Thomas and his wife, Ginni, closely since the launching of her Tea Party-aligned advocacy group made news last year. Here we detail the reasons that Thomas must go -- both for reasons of conflict, and for the appearance of Thomas' alignment with groups that have called for armed insurrection against the U.S. government.

1. Conflict of interest - Citizens United and Liberty Central: In November 2009, just two months before the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United was handed down -- but just after the case was argued before the court -- Ginni Thomas incorporated her Tea Party advocacy group, Liberty Central, as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4). As an issue-advocacy organization that sponsors advertising and endorses candidates, Liberty Central stood to gain directly from the outcome of Citizens United. Assuming that Ginni Thomas drew a salary and/or expenses from the group, the onus on Clarence Thomas was to recuse himself from participating in the Citizens United case, which he did not.

2. Conflict of interest - Harlan Crow's bankrolling of Liberty Central: When AlterNet first reported on the launching of Liberty Central with Ginni Thomas at the helm, we noted that the group was formed with an initial donation of $500,000 by a then-unnamed donor. Politico has since revealed that donor to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate who is a major donor to political causes, and a good friend of Clarence Thomas -- such a good friend that he bestowed upon the justice a Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, a gift valued at $19,000.

3. Soliciting donations? Unanswered questions: The Times revealed that it was Thomas himself who suggested that Algernon Varn, owner of the Pin Point Cannery (where Thomas' mother once worked), hit up the justice's good friend, Harlan Crow. Varn told Times reporter Mike McIntire:

“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to identify the friend.

The land was subsequently purchased from Varn, to the tune of $1.5 million, by a real estate partnership run by Crow. If Thomas felt no compunction at sending Varn to seek backing, with his imprimatur, from Crow for what may have amounted, according to the Times, to $2.8 million in land and construction costs, it is not unreasonable to suspect it was Thomas' influence that compelled Crow to donate $500,000 to Ginni Thomas' organization. Clarence Thomas refused to answer questions submitted by the Times.

4. Calls for insurrection: If Crow's half-million-dollar donation to Ginni Thomas' Liberty Central were not troubling enough, there's Liberty Central itself. As AlterNet reported, at its inception Liberty Central was linked to two groups -- the Missouri Sovereignty Project and Gun Owners of America -- whose leaders called for the making of war on the U.S. government, and one, Tradition Family and Property, whose leader called the Spanish Inquisition "a beautiful thing." Each of these groups were listed on the Liberty Central Web site as "Friends of Liberty Central." Liberty Central officials refused to comment on whether or not the groups had paid a fee or donation to Liberty Central in order to earn the listing.

If a justice of the Supreme Court solicited a donation for a group whose success not only would benefit the justice's own household, but is also linked to groups that called for war on the government whose constitution the justice is sworn to uphold, that should be enough to warrant his stepping down. (In the wake of controversy over Ginni Thomas' role at Liberty Central, she stepped down and Liberty Central merged with the Patrick Henry Center. Ginni Thomas then opened a lobbying shop called Liberty Consulting, run from the same address as Liberty Central -- an address that turns out to be a mailbox in a UPS store, according to this video by Brad Blog.)

5. Conflict of interest - health-care reform: No sooner had the Affordable Care Act -- the health-care reform law that set off the Obama administration's battle royal with the American right -- passed into law than it became apparent that challenges to the law launched by Republican state attorneys general would likely make their way before the Supreme Court. Liberty Central opposed the bill, and appeared at a Tea Party rally sponsored by FreedomWorks calling for its repeal.

It's one thing for the spouse of a justice to be politically active on issues that may appear before the court, but quite another for a justice to solicit donations, whether implicitly or explicitly, for an organization headed by his spouse that advocates for cases that could appear before the court. At the very least, Clarence Thomas needs to account for his role in securing Liberty Central's $500,000 in start-up money from Crow.

6. Conflict of interest - Koch Industries fundraiser: In January 2008, Clarence Thomas addressed a fundraising gathering convened in Palm Springs, California, by Koch Industries, the privately held conglomerate helmed by Charles and David Koch, for major backers of the Tea Party movement and right-wing think tanks, including the Heritage foundation, for which Ginni Thomas worked for a number of years. Although, according to the New York Times, a court spokesperson described Thomas' appearance as "a brief drop-by," Thomas' own financial disclosure forms claim reimbursement for an undisclosed sum by the Federalist Society -- an organization that receives Koch funding -- for four days at Palm Springs.

Either way, the justice appeared at a gathering that is designed to raise money for right-wing institutions that advocate legal opposition to policies enacted by Congress and the Obama administration. Revelations of Clarence Thomas' appearances before the Koch gathering prompted Common Cause to launch a petition earlier this year, calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the involvement of both Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia in the Koch Industries gathering. The Koch brothers, as both donors to and creators of right-wing institutions, were major beneficiaries of the Citizens United decision (in which Scalia, naturally, also sided with the majority).

7. Failure to disclose spouse's income: Taken alone, Clarence Thomas' failure to disclose, for 20 years, his wife's income from such right-wing institutions as the Heritage Foundation -- which also files briefs for Supreme Court cases -- might not be reason enough to demand his ouster from the court. After all, he did amend his disclosure forms to provide the relevant information once the "oversight" was reported in the media. But taken in aggregate with the other ethics breaches and questionable activities noted here, it simply adds more fuel to the fire.

8. Travel questions: Thomas has refused to answer questions about whether or not he has been treated to high-style gratis travel to speaking engagements on Harlan Crow's private plane and his yacht. The Times exposé reveals coincidences that suggest he has.

At a time when Americans' faith in their institutions of governance is at record lows, the continuing presence of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court undermines the very underpinnings of democracy. It's time for him to go.

 


Justice Thomas Doesn't Ask Questions, But He Certainly Should Have Some Answers

Excerpts from an article by Michael B Keegan, President People for the American Way posted on huffingtonpost.com on 06/23/11

 

Justice Clarence Thomas is famous for his silence. While his fellow Supreme Court justices regularly challenge and work out complex points with the lawyers who appear before them, Justice Thomas has not asked a question from the bench for five years and counting. Unfortunately, he has been quiet on another matter as well: the mounting concerns that he has flouted ethics and financial disclosure rules in accepting gifts and favors from wealthy friends who have a stake in the cases he decides.

Justice Thomas can choose not to ask questions. But it's clearly time that he answered some.

Justice Thomas has, for at least the past few years, walked along the blurry edge that divides unethical conduct from acceptable practices on the Supreme Court. He notoriously chose not to disclose major sources of family income on federal forms for
more than a decade in violation of federal law. Although he reported no income earned by his wife Virginia, she in fact earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even worse, some of the income he failed to disclose came from a conservative think tank that frequently files briefs with the Court. He also drew fire for attending, with Justice Antonin Scalia, a private get-together sponsored by billionaire political powerhouses David and Charles Koch whose pet corporate causes often come across the Justices' desks.

Then, this week, the New York Times broke the story of Thomas' close friendship and mutual back-scratching with a politically active real estate magnate Harlan Crow. Crow, the Times
reported, "has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass [valued at over $19,000] and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group." He also, the Times discovered, has been trying to hide his role as the main benefactor behind a multi-million dollar museum in Georgia that is a pet project of the Justice. In addition, the Times story raised concerns about whether some of Justice Thomas's travel was underwritten by Mr. Crow and whether such support was accurately disclosed in the Justice's notoriously inaccurate financial disclosures.

Crow isn't just a friend of Thomas who happens to be rich. He's active in political causes, and has "served on the boards of two conservative organizations involved in filing supporting briefs in cases before the Supreme Court" including one, the American Enterprise Institute, that gave Justice Thomas a $15,000 bust of Lincoln.

Obviously, Supreme Court Justices are allowed to have friends, just like the rest of us. But unlike the rest of us, their friendships -- especially when they involve expensive gifts and multimillion dollar favors -- can result in momentous conflicts of interest, or the appearances of conflicts, that affect the entire country. Who Justice Thomas chooses to befriend is his own private business. But who he or his pet projects receive huge gifts from is all of our business.

Ethics issues on the high court can be tricky, since Justices aren't required to abide by any specific set of rules and don't have a higher court to keep them in line. But many, including Thomas' colleagues Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, say that the justices hold themselves to the same code of conduct that regulates other federal judges and stipulates that judges "should avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in all situations." Failure to comply with the code of conduct "diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and injures our system of government under law."

This is why the American people have the right to answers from Justice Thomas. Americans have become increasingly frustrated in recent years as the Supreme Court has handed down decision after decision that privileges the interests -- and profits -- of corporations over the rights of individual Americans to hold them accountable. Citizens United v. FEC was one such decision. Another is this week's decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, which took away the ability of as many as 1.5 million victims of pay discrimination to band together in court to hold the company accountable for its discriminatory policies. Average Americans can't afford a ride on a private jet or an expensive work of art, let alone afford to give these as a gift to a Supreme Court justice. Even if the motivations behind all these gifts are entirely pure, accepting them casts doubt on a judge's ability to be impartial.

Justice Thomas needs to be open with the American people, all of whose lives are affected by Supreme Court decisions. He needs to tell us who is paying for his pet causes and whether he asked them to do so. He needs to tell us where his family income is coming from and whether it benefits from his work on the Court. He needs to tell us what gifts he's received from individuals and organizations that have a direct interest in the decisions he makes. And he needs to tell us that he will recuse himself from any case that he appears to have a financial interest in.

If Justice Thomas wants us to trust that he will give a fair hearing to all Americans, regardless of cash or connections, he needs to be open and honest with us about the circles of influence he inhabits.

It's time for Justice Thomas to speak up. The Supreme Court's integrity depends on it.


Ethically embattled corrupt mute black golem who sleeps during Supreme Court hearings Justice Clarence Thomas is at it again.

Apparently, he is not content to get kickbacks via his wife for making decisions favorable to her political and business interests. When not looking at the TV show 24 for guidance on how to write Supreme Court decisions Justice Clarence Thomas is getting goodies for a museum that will highlight his relationship to the town of Pin Point, Georgia.

In fact, one of the gifts he received from a Conservative booster includes a 15,000 dollar bust of President Abraham Lincoln described in an article above.. Together the two cut quite a profile in the above photo, do they not?

Let’s play the caption game. Given the kindness of The NY Times, they couldn’t take advantage of such a great juxtaposition.

But we can…here are some opening parlays:

1. What unintended consequences the emancipation of the slaves has wrought.

2. ”It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt, yes. But I didn’t mean that you should sit on the Supreme Court and not say anything for five years at a time.”

3. In the foreground, a profile in courage; in the background; a profile in cowardice.

4. “I signed the Emancipation Proclamation and died to preserve the Union for this guy?!”


Clarence Thomas's Humble Georgia Museum is a Huge Ethics Issue

Excerpts from an article posted on huffingtonpost.com 06/25/11

A quaint historical museum in Pin Point, Georgia, that is set to open this fall has become the target of an exhaustive ethics examination by the New York Times. Why would the Times devote almost 3,000 words to a community heritage museum? Pin Point, as it turns out, is also the birthplace of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and it was Thomas who introduced Pin Point residents to his friend Harlan Crow, a Dallas real-estate tycoon and major conservative donor, who would ultimately fund the museum. According to some legal analysts, Thomas's role in Crow's decision to donate has troubling ethical implications.

2011-06-24-x900.jpg
Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas / Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The multimillion-dollar project highlights the unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship between the Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas, and Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Since the two men met, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia. In several instances, reports of Mr. Crow’s largess has provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the cannery museum, his largest and previously unreported act of generosity, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct.

Pin Point lies along the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor designated by Congress, a passage of coastal fishing towns settled by the descendants of slaves. Algernon Varn, whose father ran the fishing cannery there, long hoped to save the site from development, but it wasn't until he bumped into Thomas, who was in town promoting his memoir, that the project began to move forward. Thomas introduced Varn to Crow, a longtime friend. Through an exhaustive paper trail review, the Times confirmed that Crow is the anonymous donor behind the $1.3 million restoration of the property and forthcoming museum project. Varn was told to keep Crow's identity anonymous.

The question of ethics violations comes down to whether Thomas misused "the prestige of office" to persuade Crow to take on the project, said Raymond J. McKoski, a retired state judge in Illinois. (Supreme Court justices are not explicitly bound to the complex code of conduct for federal judges because it is enforced by lower ranking judges. That's right, they are literally above the law -- though the Times points to several justices who said they adhere to it regardless.) "Some of it depends on the conversations that took place," McKoski told the Times of the ethical quandary. "Who brought up the idea? How willing was Mr. Crow to do it? What exact questions were asked by Justice Thomas?"

So, after all this commotion, what will the museum actually look like? The modest, almost astonishingly unglamorous-sounding Pin Point Heritage Museum will be housed in the A.S. Varn & Son Factory, a former seafood cannery that was the economic backbone of Pin Point -- and where Thomas's mother worked as a crab picker -- until it closed in 1985.

Each structure on the property -- including the oyster factory, can storage building, and marshfront dock -- will be stabilized and restored. A patio area will host live demonstrations of crabbing, canning, and shrimp net making. Inside, 3,000 square feet of exhibition space -- modest by museum standards -- will house educational exhibits, live demonstrations, interactive displays, and a 30-minute documentary film, all devoted to the generations of residents in Pin Point.

AND


Cannery Preservation

Several years ago, Clarence Thomas was in Pin Point, Georgia promoting his memoir when he bumped into Algernon Varn, whose grandfather once ran a seafood cannery that employed Justice Thomas’s mother as a crab picker.

Mr. Varn said Justice Thomas put him in touch with a buyer to restore the property and build a museum. 

Mr. Varn lived at the old cannery site, a collection of crumbling buildings on a salt marsh just down the road from a sign heralding this remote coastal community outside Savannah as Justice Thomas’s birthplace. The justice asked about plans for the property, and Mr. Varn said he hoped it could be preserved.

“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to identify the friend.

The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s.

The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.

The two men met in the mid-1990s, a few years after Justice Thomas joined the court. Since then, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow’s Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas.

In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow’s largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges.

Although the Supreme Court is not bound by the code, justices have said they adhere to it. Legal ethicists differed on whether Justice Thomas’s dealings with Mr. Crow pose a problem under the code. But they agreed that one facet of the relationship was both unusual and important in weighing any ethical implications: Justice Thomas’s role in Mr. Crow’s donation for the museum.

The code says judges “should not personally participate” in raising money for charitable endeavors, out of concern that donors might feel pressured to give or entitled to favorable treatment from the judge. In addition, judges are not even supposed to know who donates to projects honoring them.

While the nonprofit Pin Point museum is not intended to honor Justice Thomas, people involved in the project said his role in the community’s history would inevitably be part of it, and he participated in a documentary film that is to accompany the exhibits.

Deborah L. Rhode, a Stanford University law professor who has called for stricter ethics rules for Supreme Court justices, said Justice Thomas “should not be directly involved in fund-raising activities, no matter how worthy they are or whether he’s being centrally honored by the museum.”

On the other hand, the restriction on fund-raising is primarily meant to deter judges from using their position to pressure donors, as opposed to relying on “a rich friend” like Mr. Crow, said Ronald D. Rotunda, who teaches legal ethics at Chapman University in California.

“I don’t think I could say it’s unethical,” he said. “It’s just a very peculiar situation.”

Justice Thomas, through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, declined to respond to a detailed set of questions submitted by The New York Times. Mr. Crow also would not comment.

Supreme Court ethics have been under increasing scrutiny, largely because of the activities of Justice Thomas and Ms. Thomas, whose group, Liberty Central, opposed President Obama’s health care overhaul — an issue likely to wind up before the court. Mr. Crow’s donation to Liberty Central was reported by Politico.

In January, the liberal advocacy organization Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from last year’s Citizens United campaign finance case because they had attended a political retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers, who support groups that stood to benefit from the court’s decision.

A month later, more than 100 law professors asked Congress to extend to Supreme Court justices the ethics code that applies to other federal judges, and a bill addressing the issue was introduced.

It is not unusual for justices to accept gifts or take part in outside activities, some with political overtones.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer has attended Renaissance Weekend, a retreat for politicians, artists and media personalities that is a favorite of Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participated in a symposium sponsored by the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, and a philanthropic foundation once tried to give her a $100,000 achievement award. She instructed that the money be given to charity.

But in the case of Justice Thomas and his dealings with Mr. Crow, the ethical complications appear more complex.

This isn't the first time Crow has donated to projects directly or indirectly honoring Thomas. (According to the federal ethics code, judges are not supposed to know who makes a donation in their honor.) The Times gathered an exhaustive list of shady gifts and donations, including Mr. Crow's financing of a Savannah library dedicated to Justice Thomas and his gift of a bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass. Thomas also received a $15,000 bust of Abraham Lincoln from a group affiliated with Crow.


Conservative Ties

Mr. Crow, 61, manages the real estate and investment businesses founded by his late father, Trammell Crow, once the largest landlord in the United States. The Crow family portfolio is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and includes investments in hotels, medical facilities, public equities and hedge funds.

A friend of the Bush family, Mr. Crow is a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and has donated close to $5 million to Republican campaigns and conservative groups. Among his contributions were $100,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group formed to attack the Vietnam War record of Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, and $500,000 to an organization that ran advertisements urging the confirmation of President George W. Bush’s nominees to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Crow has not personally been a party to Supreme Court litigation, but his companies have been involved in federal court cases, including four that went to the appellate level. And he has served on the boards of two conservative organizations involved in filing supporting briefs in cases before the Supreme Court. One of them, the American Enterprise Institute, with Mr. Crow as a trustee, gave Justice Thomas a bust of Lincoln valued at $15,000 and praised his jurisprudence at an awards gala in 2001.

The institute’s Project on Fair Representation later filed briefs in several cases, and in 2006 the project brought a lawsuit challenging federal voting rights laws, a case in which Justice Thomas filed a lone dissent, embracing the project’s arguments. The project director, an institute fellow named Edward Blum, said the institute supported his research but did not finance the brief filings or the Texas suit, which was litigated pro bono by a former clerk of Justice Thomas’s.

“When it came time to file a lawsuit,” he said, “A.E.I. had no role in doing that.”


Coming Up With a Plan

In addition to his interest in politics and policy, Mr. Crow is well known for his keen devotion to history.

A backyard garden at his $24 million Dallas residence is dominated by old statues of dictators he has collected from fallen regimes, including Lenin and Stalin. His private library is packed with 8,000 rare books and artifacts, including a Senate roll call sheet from Justice Thomas’s confirmation and a “thank you” letter from the justice, according to local news reports.

There are a number of reasons Justice Thomas might be thankful to Mr. Crow. In addition to giving him the Douglass Bible, valued 10 years ago at $19,000, Mr. Crow has hosted the justice aboard his private jet and his 161-foot yacht, at the exclusive Bohemian Grove retreat in California and at his grand Adirondacks summer estate called Topridge, a 105-acre spread that once belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress.



Justices Have Been Forced to Resign for Doing What Clarence Thomas Has Done

by: Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

Justice Clarence Thomas is an ethics problem in a black robe. Just eight months after ThinkProgress broke the story of Thomas’ attendance at a Koch-sponsored political fundraiser, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him.

Leading conservative donor Harlan Crow, whose company often litigates in federal court, donated $500,000 to allow Thomas’s wife to start a Tea Party group and he once gave Thomas a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank which frequently files briefs in Thomas’ Court, also gave Thomas a $15,000 gift.

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If this sounds familiar, it’s because America has seen this movie before. Indeed, the Thomas scandal is little more than a remake of the forty year-old gifting scandal that brought down Justice Abe Fortas.  Like Thomas, Fortas liked to associate with wealthy individuals with potential business before his Court.  And like Thomas, Fortas took inappropriate gifts from his wealthy benefactors.

Fortas’ questionable gifts first came out when President Johnson nominated him for a promotion to Chief Justice of the United States in 1968. Fortas had accepted $15,000 to lead seminars at American University — far more than the university normally paid for such services — and the payments were bankrolled by the leaders of frequent corporate litigants including the vice president of Phillip Morris.  Fortas survived this revelation, although his nomination for the Chief Justiceship was filibustered into oblivion.

Just a year later, the country learned that Fortas took another highly questionable gift.  In 1966, one year after Fortas joined the Court, stock speculator Louis E. Wolfson’s foundation began paying Fortas an annual retainer of $20,000 per year for consulting services.  Fortas’ actions were legal, and he eventually returned the money after Wolfson was convicted of securities violations and recused himself from Wolfson’s case, but the damage to Fortas — and the potential harm to the Supreme Court’s reputation — were too great.  Fortas resigned in disgrace.

It is difficult to distinguish Fortas’ scandal from Thomas’.  Like Fortas, Thomas accepted several very valuable gifts from parties who are frequently interested in the outcome of federal court cases.  One of Thomas’ benefactors has even filed briefs in his Court since giving Thomas a $15,000 gift, and Thomas has not recused himself from each of these cases.

Of course, Thomas is also the least likely Justice to actually follow the command of precedent.  Thomas embraces a discredited theory of the Constitution which would return America to a time when federal child labor laws were considered unconstitutional.  His fellow justices criticize him for showing “utter disregard for our precedent and Congress’ intent.” Even ultra-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia finds Thomas’ approach to the law too extreme — in Scalia’s words “I am a textualist. I am an originalist.  I am not a nut.”

But Thomas’ disregard for what has come before him changes nothing about the precedent he faces.  If Abe Fortas had to resign his seat, so too should Clarence Thomas.


Representative Murphy Says Thomas' Actions Call Into Question Whether He "Can Continue to Serve as a Justice"

by: Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — the lead sponsor of a bill which would strip Supreme Court justices of their immunity from a code of ethical conduct that applies to other federal judges — suggests that an investigation may be necessary to determine whether Justice Clarence Thomas’ many ethics scandals rise to the level where Thomas is no longer fit to serve on the nation’s highest Court:

QUESTION: Do you think what Thomas has done is as serious as what forced [disgraced former Supreme Court Justice Abe] Fortas off the bench?

MURPHY: I think our problem is we don’t know the full extent of Justice Thomas’ connections to [leading GOP donor] Harlan Crow, or, frankly, to a further network of right-wing funders. What he’s done is incredibly serious. I think, at the very least, his actions should disqualify him from sitting on any cases in which Crow-affiliated organizations are parties to or have attempted to influence [the Court]. But this is starting to rise to the level where there should start to be some real investigations as to whether Clarence Thomas can continue to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.

Watch it:

 


Excerpts from an article posted by Brad Friedman on alternet.org June 13, 2011

Don't Be Distracted by Weinergate: The Scandalous "Judicial Insider Trading" of Justice Clarence Thomas and Wife "Ginni"Is the Real Story.

(It may be of interest that although Rep. Anthony Weiner was on the Conservative Republican Radar for several months prior to his downfall, It wasn't until he called attention to Justice Clarence Thomas's illegal actions, the the Republican hatchet squad came down on him full force.

Although he had inappropriate sexual entanglements with a number of women and lied about it repeatedly to the American people, nobody --- save for one Colorado law school prof--- seems to be calling for Justice Clarence Thomas' resignation for some reason.  That, even though Thomas, unlike Rep. Anthony Weiner, appears to have actually, and flagrantly, and repeatedly, broken the law.  Double Standard?

As was reported in January, Thomas appears to have "knowingly and willfully" filed falsified Financial Disclosure Forms which withheld disclosure of nearly $700,000 his wife received from the rightwing Heritage Foundation for the better part of the last 20 years. Only once it was pointed out publicly this year did Thomas bother to file "self-initiated amendments" to the forms he had signed just above the legal warning in bold and all caps which reads: "NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app. § 104)"

While there has been little indication that law enforcement is actually investigating the crimes of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice (which, as we pointed out in January, are punishable by up to $50,000 and/or 1 year in jail for each instance of falsification), last Friday when Thomas' Financial Disclosure Form for 2010 [PDF] was released, the matter appears to have gotten shadier still, leading at least one government watchdog organization to describe what Thomas and his wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas may be been doing as "Judicial Insider Trading."

Connecting the dots, it would seem the couple made huge profits from Thomas' participation and insider knowledge of last year's Citizens United ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, as we'll show you below.

While Barack Obama's DoJ seems to be looking the other way, there was one person in Congress trying to bring attention to this issue last week with his ConflictedClarence.com website: Rep. Anthony Weiner...

For some reason or another, Weiner has been distracted of late, so I was happy to pick up the ball today and cover the new Thomas disclosures on our radio show on L.A.'s Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFK today. The audio from the show is below. But here are a few quick details, as promised.

Before posting the timeline, one very important point that hasn't received nearly enough attention: during Thomas' contentious confirmation hearings in 1991, he received a huge boost when an outside organization ran $100,000 worth of television commercials attacking those Senators who were threatening to vote against Thomas' confirmation. That organization? A newly formed group called Citizens United.

Twenty years later, and without either Thomas disclosing it, or anyone in the media connecting the dots, Thomas decided in favor of the group in the now-infamous Citizens United v. FEC case, which has allowed a tsunami of corporate money into our political and electoral system.

It was that decision that allowed corporations to pour virtually unlimited money into 501(c)(4) non-profits that could, in turn, use the money to affect elections with millions of dollars in campaign ads, etc.

Ginni Thomas created one of those 501(c)(4) organizations just after oral arguments were argued before her husband in the Citizens United case, and somehow managed to raise some $550,000 in about two months' time before the end of 2009.

Here, courtesy of Velvet Revolution's ProtectOurElections.org campaign:

Sept 9, 2009: Citizens United argued.

Nov 6, 2009: Virginia Thomas launches her new Liberty Central 501(c)(4) organization, which raises 550K in 2009.

Jan 21, 2010: Citizens United decided.

March 15, 2010: Virginia Thomas announces that Liberty Central would "accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court."

November 14, 2010Liberty Central announces that Virginia Thomas would be leaving the organization.

November 16, 2010Liberty Consulting incorporated in the state of Virginia.

February 4, 2011Politico reports that Virginia Thomas had launched Liberty Consulting.

February 8, 2011: ProtectOurElections.org releases its expose of Liberty Consulting

February 12, 2011: Liberty Consulting website is deleted http://libertyinc.co/

February 23, 2011ProtectOurElections.org files a formal bar complaint against Clarence Thomas requesting that he be disbarred on various grounds.

Note the date on which Ginni launched her 501(c)(4), Liberty Central, Inc., and note how quickly she was able to raise half a million dollars from it. And that was even before she told the LA Times that the group would "accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court."

Unlike for the past 20 years, Justice Thomas was able to understand the (incredibly simple) Financial Disclosure Form this time around, for 2010, well enough that he was able to list his "Spouse's Non-Investment Income" including "salary and benefits" from both Liberty Central, Inc., and Liberty Consulting, Inc.

Unfortunately, the form doesn't require him to specify how much she received from each, and Liberty Central has extended its deadline for filing its own disclosure forms until August. So, until then, we're just left to speculate as to how much the Thomases made from those ventures, although the Disclosure Form does reveal that the Thomases invested some of their own money to start up Liberty Consulting, Inc. The form indicates that less than $15,000 was invested.

Setting aside the fact that common sense suggests Thomas should have recused himself from the Citizens United decision (which was decided by a 5 to 4 vote), given the $100,000 in ads from that group that benefited him when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ginni's ability to profit from the decision is raising a lot of questions that should be answered.

Today, VR's ProtectOurElections.org sent another letter [PDF] to the DoJ, including the newly released Financial Disclosure Form, asking the department to investigate a number of additional questions that have been raised by the new disclosures, including:

  • Was Mrs. Thomas tipped off to the Citizens United decision before it was rendered?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas launch Liberty Central to take advantage of Citizens United and did she receive any income as a result of Citizens United?
  • What happened to the $550,000 raised by Mrs. Thomas for Liberty Central (which is listed on its 2009 IRS 990 form)?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas raise funds for Liberty Central after the Citizens United decision and if so how much and what was it used for?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in consulting Supreme Court litigants or potential litigants?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in lobbying and if so is Mrs. Thomas lobbying for litigants before the Supreme Court?
  • Is Liberty Consulting a legitimate company or a conduit to raise funds for the Thomas family?

[And by way of my own disclosure, since, unlike Thomas, I happen to believe it's the right thing to do, VR is an organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG.] By Brad Friedman

 


The following contains excerpts from past articles posted on a blog at alternet.org, and from an article on huffingtonpost.com  Posted: 05/27/11

Anthony Weiner Tweet-Taunts Clarence Thomas About Financial Records News Dump

Anthony Weiner Clarence Thomas
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) spent his Friday afternoon pestering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for executing a classic news dump: a release of his financial disclosure filing on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend.

[UPDATE: Not long after he began pestering Justice Thomas, he was "outed" for his improper "tweets".   Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Just a coincidence?  I don't think so.]

The Congressman spent the day tweeting to his heart's content, first alerting his 43,000-plus followers to the likelihood that someone on the Court was going to try and bury an embarrassing story while the world's attention was turned toward the commute and barbecue ahead:

"Friday dump Scotus style? I'm hearing disclosures released today. #ConflictsAbound," he tweeted.

Shortly thereafter, Weiner let it be known that it was Thomas whose financial disclosure filing he was awaiting. Around 4:30, he had a link to send, showing that Thomas had served on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Horatio Alger Association and had made $10,000 for a speech at University of Minnesota School of Law.

The real conflict, if there was one, was with his wife Ginni, who earned "Salary and benefits" from Liberty Central and Liberty Consulting -- prominent Tea Party Groups. The filing also revealed that the two share several financial investments, including 1/3 interest in rental property in Liberty City, Georgia, and a 401k plan. Thomas went on to note that, "two of the Georgia rental properties have been torn down. The only remaining property is an old house in Liberty County."

clarencet


All in all, the file told a fairly well traversed story. It's been known for several months now that Thomas's wife -- whose employment at Liberty and the Heritage Foundation had not been disclosed on prior documents -- presents ethical questions for the cases he chooses to handle as a Supreme Court Justice. " Spouse of #ConflictedClarenceThomas has every right to work for whomever, but he must recuse himself," Weiner tweeted, reiterating his belief that Thomas' should not rule on cases regarding the constitutionality of the health care reform law, due to a potential conflict of interest.

That said, the issue of whether this was some sort of nefarious news dump on the Justice's part isn't as crystal clear as Weiner suggested. The date on the financial disclosure file is May 13, meaning that it's been filed with the Court for several weeks. Who chose to release it on Friday afternoon isn't clear. Politico's Ken Vogel blamed the Court clerk, to which Weiner, ever the cynic, replied: " Without the bosses knowlege [sic] or Ok? Cmon."

The Huffington Post reached out to Weiner's office to ask why he spent his day obsessing over this singular task. They did not immediately return that request. The office did, however, put out a press release stating that the disclosure from Thomas came after "months of pressure" from the Congressman.

“We knew that Justice Thomas’s family had a financial stake in opposing health care reform. Now we know even more,” Weiner said. “It’s pretty clear the Justice has one option here: recusal.”


Partners in Crime

Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?

Excerpts from an article in The New Yorker by and August 29, 2011

As the Justice has assumed an influential role on the Roberts Court, his wife has helped lead the public war against the Administration.

As the Justice has assumed an influential role on the Roberts Court, his wife has helped lead the public war against the Administration.

It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas. In January, he was compelled to amend several years of the financial-disclosure forms that Supreme Court Justices must file each year. The document requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses, and Thomas had failed to note that his wife, Virginia, who is known as Ginni, worked as a representative for a Michigan college and at the Heritage Foundation. The following month, seventy-four members of Congress called on Thomas to recuse himself from any legal challenges to President Obama’s health-care reform, because his wife has been an outspoken opponent of the law. At around the same time, Court observers noted the fifth anniversary of the last time that Thomas had asked a question during an oral argument. The confluence of these events produced the kind of public criticism, and even mockery, that Thomas had largely managed to avoid since his tumultuous arrival on the Court, twenty years ago this fall.

These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

The conventional view of Thomas takes his lack of participation at oral argument as a kind of metaphor. The silent Justice is said to be an intellectual nonentity, a cipher for his similarly conservative colleague, Antonin Scalia. But those who follow the Court closely find this stereotype wrong in every particular. Thomas has long been a favorite of conservatives, but they admire the Justice for how he gives voice to their cause, not just because he votes their way. “Of the nine Justices presently on the Court, he is the one whose opinions I enjoy reading the most,” Steve Calabresi, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, said. “They are very scholarly, with lots of historical sources, and his views are the most principled, even among the conservatives. He has staked out some bold positions, and then the Court has set out and moved in his direction.”

Thomas’s intellect and his influence have also been recognized by those who generally disagree with his views. According to Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, Thomas’s career resembles that of Hugo Black, the former Alabama senator who served from 1937 to 1971 and is today universally regarded as a major figure in the Court’s history. “Both were Southerners who came to the Court young and with very little judicial experience,” Amar said. (Thomas is from Georgia.) “Early in their careers, they were often in dissent, sometimes by themselves, but they were content to go their own way. But once Earl Warren became Chief Justice the Court started to come to Black. It’s the same with Thomas and the Roberts Court. Thomas’s views are now being followed by a majority of the Court in case after case.”

The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society. Thomas’s views both reflect and inspire the Tea Party movement, which his wife has helped lead almost since its inception. The Tea Party is a diffuse operation, and it can be difficult to pin down its stand on any given issue. Still, the Tea Party is unusual among American political movements in its commitment to a specific view of the Constitution—one that accords, with great precision, with Thomas’s own approach. For decades, various branches of the conservative movement have called for a reduction in the size of the federal government, but for the Tea Party, and for Thomas, small government is a constitutional command.

In his jurisprudence, Thomas may be best known for his belief in a “color-blind Constitution”; that is, one that forbids any form of racial preference or affirmative action. But color blind, for Thomas, is not blind to race. Thomas finds a racial angle on a broad array of issues, including those which appear to be scarcely related to traditional civil rights, like campaign finance or gun control. In Thomas’s view, the Constitution imposes an ideal of racial self-sufficiency, an extreme version of the philosophy associated with Booker T. Washington, whose portrait hangs in his chambers. (This personal gallery also includes Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.)

In recent weeks, two federal courts of appeals have reached opposing conclusions about the constitutionality of the 2010 health-care law; the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, upheld it, while the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, struck down its requirement that all Americans buy health insurance. This conflict means that the Supreme Court will almost certainly agree to review the case this fall, with a decision expected by June of next year. It is likely to be the most important case for the Justices since Bush v. Gore, and it will certainly be the clearest test yet of Thomas’s ascendancy at the Court. Thomas’s entire career as a judge has been building toward the moment when he would be able to declare that law unconstitutional. It would be not only a victory for his approach to the Constitution but also, it seems, a defeat for the enemies who have pursued him for so long: liberals, law professors, journalists—the group that Thomas refers to collectively as “the élites.” Thomas’s triumph over the health-care law and its supporters is by no means assured, but it is now tantalizingly within reach.

Thomas may be well known for silence on the bench, but he is actually a frequent public speaker, if on his own terms. He appears regularly at law schools around the South, as well as in states covered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, mostly in the northern Midwest. (Each Justice represents one or two Circuits, and Thomas long supervised the Eighth, though he no longer does.) Thomas rarely uses a prepared text, and often simply takes questions from students for an hour or more.

For those whose picture of Thomas remains frozen at the time of his confirmation hearings, in 1991, the Justice is today a startling sight. His jet-black hair has gone almost completely white. He has gained a great deal of weight. (An injury long ago ended his days on the “highest court in the land,” the basketball court on the top floor of the Supreme Court building.) His gait is weary, and he looks older than his sixty-three years. On these public occasions, Thomas often limits himself to platitudes, but the nature of his views—and of his place on the Court—sometimes slips out in unexpected ways.

When he recently received an honorary doctorate from the Stetson University College of Law, in Gulfport, Florida, he said, “Thank you for a law degree that I can put up on my wall.” The audience greeted the remark with polite laughter, but Thomas’s sentiment has a long history. Thomas graduated from Yale Law School in 1974, and he maintains a rich and public loathing for the institution. In his autobiography, published in 2007, he wrote, “As a symbol of my disillusionment, I peeled a fifteen-cent sticker off a package of cigars and stuck it on the frame of my law degree to remind myself of the mistake I’d made by going to Yale. I never did change my mind about its value.” Thomas has refused entreaties from a series of deans at Yale to sit for a portrait for the school. (His law-school travels never take him to Yale or to comparable institutions. “I don’t do Ivies,” he told a law professor.)

The gist of Thomas’s complaint about Yale reflects his feelings about the worth of affirmative action generally. In his book, Thomas recounts his difficulties finding a job after Yale, which he attributed to “what a law degree from Yale was worth when it bore the taint of racial preference.” In light of this, he wrote, “Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much anyone denied it.” This hostility to élite institutions manifested itself at Stetson. “We talk about diversity. The real problem of our Court is that it’s all Ivy League,” Thomas said. Currently, all nine Justices attended law school at either Harvard or Yale. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there are other law schools out there,” he said. Alone among his colleagues, Thomas usually selects at least some of his law clerks from less prominent schools. In recent years, his clerks have included graduates of the law schools of Creighton University, in Nebraska; Rutgers; George Mason; and the University of Utah.

“I grew up with maids, and janitors, and yard people,” he told the students at Stetson. “It gives you a perspective on society. You’re looking from the bottom up, and how people see it from that direction. . . . You understand why people are angry or upset. You understand why they become rich soil for class envy and class hatred, or class warfare. You see how they become easy pickings for people who have snake-oil merchants for solving all their problems. But you develop a respect for them without condescension. You develop an attitude that we are all inherently equal regardless of who went to school and who did not—that there can be smart people who did not have any book learning and never had a chance.”

Thomas continued, “There’s a difference between being poor and being stupid. And you’re stupid for thinking that they’re stupid. As my granddaddy would say, you’re just an educated fool. . . . I am passionate about preserving liberty so that people can rise from that to go to the Supreme Court.” Thomas saw that he was getting worked up and paused with a small laugh. “My wife does this, too,” he said. “My wife is my best friend. I can rant with her. She doesn’t read opinions or anything. We believe that this is a good country and that people should have a chance. That’s why you see so many of my law clerks who don’t go to Ivy League schools. These are kids who tried hard and did well. Why don’t we reward them?”

Thomas presents his populism as a form of humility, portraying himself as merely the tribune for the masses from which he came. In fact, Thomas’s approach to judging places the current Supreme Court in an especially powerful position, because he approaches precedent in a very different way from his colleagues. “You have to remember that we are the court of last resort,” he told the students at Stetson. “I always ask people, ‘What would you do with Plessy v. Ferguson, which was sixty years old?’ ” That case, from 1896, affirmed the racial doctrine of separate but equal, until it was overruled by Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954. “If it’s wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution. And it’s not what we say it is, it’s what it actually says, and I think we have to be humble enough to say we were wrong,” Thomas said. In other words, Thomas is humble before his own reading of the constitutional text—and dismissive of the attempts of others, including other Justices, to interpret it.

In practical terms, Thomas pays far less deference to prior rulings of the Court than his colleagues do. As he put it at Stetson, “If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and we are obligated to revisit it.” This is a different approach from the traditional conservative position, which stresses the importance of stare decisis—of relying on precedent. As Roberts put it in his confirmation hearings, “Adherence to precedent promotes evenhandedness, promotes fairness, promotes stability and predictability. And those are very important values in a legal system.” (Whether Roberts, as Chief Justice, has actually honored that sentiment is a different question.) Thomas, though, makes little pretense of relying on the words of his colleagues and their predecessors when their interpretations conflict with his own understanding of the text of the Constitution itself.

From the moment Thomas arrived on the Court, he has been a committed originalist; he believes the Constitution should be interpreted as the words were understood by the men who wrote it. “When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitution’s original meaning,” Thomas wrote in an opinion from 2005. Scalia is the figure most often associated with this school of thought, but he refers to himself as a “fainthearted originalist.” Scalia means that other factors besides his own understanding of the intent of the framers, most especially the long-established precedents of the Court, influence his judgment on the resolution of constitutional disputes. “If a constitutional line of authority is wrong, he”—Thomas—“would say let’s get it right,” Scalia told a reporter in 2004. “I wouldn’t do that. He does not believe in stare decisis period.” In other words, there is nothing fainthearted about Thomas’s convictions about the meaning of the Constitution.

“When interpreting a constitutional provision,” Thomas wrote earlier this year, “the goal is to discern the most likely public understanding of that provision at the time it was adopted.” To that end, he plumbs the words of the framers and the eighteenth-century (and earlier) thinkers who influenced Jefferson, Madison, and their contemporaries. No other Justice, not even Scalia, studies the historical record with as much care, and enthusiasm, as Thomas. In June, Thomas dissented from Scalia’s opinion holding unconstitutional the California law limiting the sale of violent video games to children. “A complete understanding of the founding generation’s views on children and the parent-child relationship must therefore begin roughly a century earlier, in colonial New England,” Thomas wrote. Following a survey of child-rearing in the eighteenth century, Thomas concluded that the “founding generation would not have considered it an abridgment of ‘the freedom of speech’ to support parental authority by restricting speech that bypasses minors’ parents.” In legal academia, Thomas’s rigor has won respect across the political spectrum. According to Sanford Levinson, a left-leaning professor at the University of Texas School of Law, “Scalia is far more influential, because he has spent much of the last two decades campaigning around the nation for his views, but it would not surprise me if future historians find Thomas to be the more intellectually serious of the two.”

In 1993, during the early days of the Clinton Administration, Congress passed the gun-control law known as the Brady bill. The complex piece of legislation included an interim provision that directed state and local officials to conduct background checks for prospective handgun purchasers. That portion of the bill was challenged, and in 1997, by a vote of five-to-four, the Supreme Court found the temporary part of the law unconstitutional. Scalia’s opinion for the Court in Printz v. United States concluded that the law amounted to an impermissible federal intrusion on states’ rights.

Thomas joined Scalia’s opinion for the majority but wrote a concurring opinion that examined the case in a different way. Thomas devoted his opinion to the Second Amendment, which provides that a “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment had not been addressed by the Supreme Court since 1939, and the parties in Printz had not raised a Second Amendment claim at any stage of the proceedings, but Thomas used the case to undertake an extensive discussion of it. Indeed, Thomas suggested that the Brady bill might well be unconstitutional as a violation of the Second Amendment. “Marshaling an impressive array of historical evidence, a growing body of scholarly commentary indicates that the ‘right to keep and bear arms’ is, as the Amendment’s text suggests, a personal right,” Thomas wrote. Concluding with a flourish, and referring to Joseph Story, a renowned figure from the early days of the Court, Thomas declared, “Perhaps, at some future date, this Court will have the opportunity to determine whether Justice Story was correct when he wrote that the right to bear arms ‘has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic.’ ”

In his Printz opinion, Thomas gently elided the fact that the meaning of the Second Amendment had, at that point, long been considered a closed issue. Because of the “militia clause,” many lower-court decisions had held that the law did not confer the right to bear arms on an individual. That, more or less, was what the 1939 Supreme Court opinion said. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, called any other reading of the amendment “a fraud.” But in the nineteen-eighties and nineties the conservative movement, led by the National Rifle Association, began pressing for a new reading of the Second Amendment, one that invested in individuals the right to bear arms. Thomas gave this interpretation his imprimatur.

Many noticed. The Brady bill also made it a crime for an individual who was covered by a domestic-violence protection order to possess a firearm. In 1999, Timothy Emerson, a doctor in Green County, Texas, who was involved in a messy divorce, challenged the constitutionality of that law, on the ground that it violated the Second Amendment. A federal district court, relying heavily on Thomas’s concurring opinion in Printz, concluded that the Second Amendment did confer an individual right to bear arms and threw out the indictment. In 2001, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Emerson’s indictment, but again cited Thomas’s opinion in calling for a new understanding of the Second Amendment.

Thomas’s opinion also drew the attention of Clark Neily III and Steve Simpson, two libertarian lawyers who wanted to bring a test case to the Supreme Court. They approached Robert Levy, a software and financial entrepreneur with libertarian views who in his fifties had sold his company and gone to law school. “There was an outpouring of scholarship, including from liberals, indicating that the Second Amendment secured an individual right,” Levy told me. “You had the Bush Administration taking that position. And you had the Emerson decision, citing Thomas’s Printz opinion.” Levy agreed to underwrite the costs, and he hired Alan Gura, a young lawyer from Virginia, to argue the case.

Levy’s group found Dick Heller, a security guard living in Washington, D.C., who had been prevented, by the District’s tough gun-control law, from having a handgun for self-protection. Heller became the plaintiff in the test case, and in 2008 the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, holding that the Second Amendment does confer on individuals the right to bear arms. Scalia wrote the opinion for the five-to-four majority in District of Columbia v. Heller, but his sentiments closely reflected those which Thomas had put forward eleven years earlier. “Thomas’s opinion in Printz signalled an openness on the Supreme Court to a new view of the Second Amendment,” Gura told me. “When a Supreme Court Justice indicates interest in a dormant constitutional question, people take note, especially if it’s a question that’s otherwise generating a lot of controversy. It was highly influential.”

On September 12, 2009, tens of thousands of opponents of President Obama’s agenda, especially his proposed health-care reform, gathered in protest at the west front of the Capitol, where Obama had taken the oath of office earlier that year. FreedomWorks, the conservative organization led by Dick Armey, the former Republican leader of the House, and the de-facto leader of the Tea Party movement, had pulled the event together. “Give me liberty or give me death,” Armey told the crowd. “Well, Barack Obama is trying to make good on that.”

The Tea Party had come to wide public notice that summer, in a series of contentious town-hall meetings with members of Congress who were weighing whether to support health-care reform. As the movement developed, a distinctive reading of the Constitution came to play a central role among its principles. “We have now in our government people who don’t understand the Constitution, and we are fearful about where they are taking our government,” Armey told me. He asserted that only the originalist position, as opposed to the view that the meaning of the Constitution may change over time, was legitimate. “One of the things the activists care about is that the so-called ‘living Constitution’ is a convenient political fiction. A living Constitution gives more power and authority to the state.”

The Tea Party, and the September 12th rally in particular, had a transformative effect on the life of Ginni Thomas. Until then, she had mostly been a behind-the-scenes player. She told Fox News last year that she decided to move to the front lines “because of the march on Washington on September 12th, and seeing and being inspired by the real people who came and spent their own money to get to Washington.” She had been active in the conservative movement since well before her marriage to Clarence Thomas, in 1987, but after the March on Washington, as it was known, she took on, for her, an unprecedented public role as a fiery and outspoken leader in the conservative cause.

Virginia Thomas, who is fifty-four, grew up in Omaha. She received an undergraduate and a law degree from Creighton, and moved to Washington to work for Hal Daub, a Republican congressman from her home state. She later had jobs in the United States Chamber of Commerce and in the Labor Department under the first President Bush before going to work for Armey. In 1998, she joined the Heritage Foundation, where she had a series of policy positions over the next decade. (Her work for Heritage was well known, which renders Justice Thomas’s decision to omit it especially peculiar. In January, he issued a statement saying that information was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions,” even though the document clearly called for the Justice to provide “Spouse’s Non-Investment Income.”)

Shortly before Obama won the Presidency, Ginni Thomas took a position in Washington, with Hillsdale College, a small, liberal-arts institution in rural Michigan. The school has no formal religious affiliation, but it has been described by National Review as “a citadel of American conservatism.” Thomas ran a speaker series for the college in Washington, called the Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. After she was named to the post, she said, in a statement, that Hillsdale students “always study our Western heritage, American history, and the Constitution. Maybe some of what they learn at Hillsdale will rub off.” Thomas brought in conservative speakers on such subjects as “The Meaning and Intent of the Second Amendment” and “The Constitutional Roots of the Free Enterprise System.”

After the Washington rally, Ginni Thomas started Liberty Central, a non-profit at the forefront of conservative advocacy. According to tax records, it was funded by two donations: one of five hundred thousand dollars, the other of fifty thousand dollars. Under current law, she was not obligated to disclose the identities of her contributors, and she has not done so. Liberty Central had a Web site, but mostly the organization appeared to exist to support Ginni Thomas’s travels. “Ginni created Liberty Central more as an effort to provide a switchboard in the conservative movement,” Armey told me. “She has always shown up in every fight I’ve been in, and she’s been on the right side—that’s my side.”

Ginni Thomas spent much of 2010 on a coast-to-coast campaign against the Obama Administration. As she said in an introductory video on her Web site, “If you believe in limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, national security, and personal responsibility, and have felt these principles are under attack from Washington, then you’ve come to the right place.” In a later interview, she said, “I’ve never seen, in my thirty years in Washington, an agenda that’s so far left. It’s a radical, leftist agenda that grabs a lot of power to Washington so that Washington élites can pick the winners and losers.” In his own speeches, Justice Thomas expresses himself in terms similar to those of his wife. Answering questions recently in Florida, he said, “The government has to be limited. We have separations of powers, and some of the other enumerated powers that prevent the government from becoming our ruler. I don’t know if that’s happened already.”

Ginni Thomas’s contempt for “élites” also mirrors a theme in Justice Thomas’s writings. Dissenting from Sandra Day O’Connor’s opinion upholding the affirmative-action program at the University of Michigan Law School, he wrote, “All the Law School cares about is its own image among know-it-all élites.” In a concurring opinion in a 2007 case that invalidated school-integration plans in Seattle and Louisville, he wrote, “If our history has taught us anything, it has taught us to beware of élites bearing racial theories.” In his autobiography, he described the ordeal of his confirmation hearings, as a time when “America’s elites were arrogantly wreaking havoc on everything my grandparents had worked for and all I’d accomplished in forty-three years of struggle.”

Ginni Thomas’s particular target was the health-care-reform law, which was, in her view, clearly unconstitutional. In Atlanta, in April: “I have been writing my congressman, and going to his office. I waited for the August health-care hearings and were there any town-hall hearings? No.” On Fox News, in May: “The audacity of power-grabbing that I’m seeing right now in cap-and-trade, health care, the stimulus plan, it’s corrupt. It’s a big power grab. It’s picking winners and losers from Washington; it’s abhorrent to our national principles.” At the Steamboat Institute, in Colorado, in August: “We need outsiders to help a constitutional audit to help set up a system where Congress can reconsider different functions, and programs, and agencies. . . . I think we need a big spending reduction and no new taxes. . . . I think we need to repeal Obamacare.” In Florida, noting her support for Republicans running for office in the midterm elections: “We support the more constitutionally inclined candidate.”

On occasion, especially in television interviews, Ginni was asked about her husband’s view of her activities. At a Dallas appearance, she said, “My husband and I do really different things, by the way, but there was a tornado over our wedding when we got married. God knew that we were both troublemakers coming together. I do policy, he does law, and I don’t understand that world and I’m glad God didn’t tell me to do that, because I don’t know how to do that.” Both Thomases appear to overstate Ginni’s ignorance about legal matters. After all, she is a lawyer, and she, too, invariably invokes the Constitution as the authority for smaller government.

By the fall of last year, Ginni Thomas’s activities had become so public that she began to draw journalistic scrutiny. On Saturday, October 9th, the Times ran a front-page story headlined “ACTIVISM OF THOMAS’S WIFE COULD RAISE JUDICIAL ISSUES,” which was a straightforward account of Ginni’s political activities. Still, the story may have unnerved its subject, because at seven-thirty-one that morning Ginni Thomas left a voice mail for Anita Hill, at her office at Brandeis University, where she teaches. “Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.” She went on to urge Hill to “pray about this,” and then signed off, “O.K., have a good day!”

The Thomas-Hill hearings remain one of the great set pieces of recent American history. Even twenty years later, the facts are familiar. Anita Hill, also a graduate of Yale Law School, worked on Thomas’s staff at the Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to her testimony, Thomas made a series of crude advances to her, which included references to pornographic movies starring Long Dong Silver and utterances like “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?” Thomas denied her allegations categorically and denounced the hearings as a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.”

Thomas was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of fifty-two to forty-eight, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor any other part of the government has since seen fit to reëxamine the Thomas-Hill controversy. Still, a good deal of evidence has since emerged about the protagonists and their testimony. Even near the end of the hearings, several other women who had worked for Thomas were prepared to testify and corroborate Hill’s testimony that Thomas had a history of making female subordinates uncomfortable with personal and sexual talk. The group included Angela Wright, Rose Jourdain, and Sukari Hardnett; other associates of Thomas, among them Kaye Savage and Fred Cooke, would have testified about the nominee’s long-standing interest in pornography, which would have corroborated Hill’s account. But Joseph Biden, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee at the time, decided not to call these witnesses. This year, Lillian McEwen, a Washington lawyer who had a long-term romantic relationship with Thomas before he met Ginni, published a memoir, “D.C. Unmasked & Undressed.” She, too, remarked on the Justice’s “strong interest in pornography,” and she also said that Thomas scrutinized his work colleagues as prospective sexual partners. In short, virtually all the evidence that has emerged since the hearings corroborates Hill’s version of events. This, of course, makes Ginni Thomas’s phone call to Hill all the more puzzling. (Ginni Thomas did not respond to a request for comment; in an interview with the Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, she called her voice mail “a private matter” that was “probably a mistake on my part.” Justice Thomas also declined to comment.)

The origin of Ginni’s call to Hill may be found in the nature of the Thomases’ social and professional lives. They are known for their long trips in their “bus”— a motor home that they drive around the country, and to football games. (The Justice roots for the Dallas Cowboys and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.) In Washington, though, the couple are pillars of the conservative movement, socially as well as professionally. The Thomases hosted at their home, and the Justice officiated at, the third wedding of Rush Limbaugh. (The Justice did not preside at, but did attend, Wedding No. 4.) Other friends include the radio talk-show host Mark Levin, the author of “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.” As reported recently by the Times, Thomas has also been a close friend of Harlan Crow, a Dallas businessman and supporter of conservative causes, who is funding a museum in Thomas’s home town of Pin Point, Georgia. According to Politico, it was Crow who made the five-hundred-thousand-dollar contribution to Liberty Central. When questioned by the Times, Crow said, “I disclose what I’m required by law to disclose, and I don’t disclose what I’m not required to disclose.” Thomas has spoken to the conference of conservative funders that is sponsored by Charles and David Koch, who are leading benefactors of the Tea Party movement. The Justice is also a regular at Bohemian Grove, the annual all-male conclave in Northern California. In his social life, Thomas thus differs from his frequent ally Scalia, who is well known for his friendship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his ideological opposite and a fellow opera buff. (“I’m not really a Washington-type person,” Thomas said at a recent law-school appearance. “I don’t sort of like hanging out at the opera and that sort of thing.”) Even in today’s highly polarized political environment, any number of members of Congress share friendships across the aisle. But the Thomases live in a world where, it seems, everyone believed Thomas’s testimony, and Ginni might well have got the impression that everyone else did, too.

After the bewildered public reaction to her call to Hill, Ginni decided to lower her profile. Shortly after news of the voice mail surfaced, a memo attributed to Ginni Thomas which said that the health-care law was unconstitutional drew attention on the Liberty Central Web site. “With the U.S. Constitution on our side and the hearts and minds of the American People with us, freedom will prevail,” the memo read. Later, an official issued a statement saying the memo “mistakenly carried Ginni Thomas’s name.” After the midterm elections, Ginni Thomas announced that she would be stepping down from her position at Liberty Central. Instead, a few months later, she launched Liberty Consulting, a lobbying firm dedicated to “effective advocacy and assistance on behalf of those liberty-loving citizens and organizations who wish to preserve limited government, free enterprise, national security, individual liberty and personal responsibility.” At this point, it’s unclear how many, if any, clients she has found. In recent months, she appears to have limited her public activities to conducting interviews with fellow-conservatives for the Daily Caller Web site.

Ginni Thomas’s political activities prompted seventy-four Democrats in the House to write Justice Thomas in February and demand that he recuse himself from any litigation on health-care reform because of an “appearance of a conflict of interest.” (To Thomas’s good fortune, the leader of the effort was the now disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner.) On the question of recusal, the law is clear that the decision is entirely up to Thomas; the Supreme Court operates on an honor system. The federal statute governing judicial conflicts of interest covers only lower-court judges. “Congress has always felt a greater sensitivity when it tries to regulate something related to the Supreme Court,” Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, told me. “The tradition is that the Justices can be trusted to deal with these issues themselves.”

As for whether Thomas should recuse himself regarding health care under the standards that prevail for lower-court judges, that appears to be a close question. “I think it is possible she”—Ginni Thomas—“might have significant interests in the dispute before the Court,” Gerhardt said. “And these interests are not restricted only to financial ones. The code, after all, forbids judges from engaging in conduct that undermines their impartiality or the appearance of impartiality. In Thomas’s case, the evidence so far seems compelling enough to put the burden on the Justice to explain why he does not believe he has to recuse himself.” Patrick Longan, who holds a chair in ethics and professionalism at the law school of Mercer University, in Macon, Georgia, disagrees. “The standard is whether there is something materially to be gained by the judge or his spouse from the outcome of the litigation,” he said. “It’s hard for me to see how his vote in the case would help her materially, one way or the other.” In any event, there is no sign that Thomas plans to recuse himself on health care or on any other case related to his wife’s political activities.

Still, the controversy over Ginni’s work has already taken a toll on Justice Thomas, as he made clear in an emotional appearance at a Federalist Society event at the University of Virginia School of Law, in February. “This is about our country, and one of the things I want to do is I want to go to my grave knowing that I gave everything I have to trying to get it right. And all I ask of you all, especially those of you who are still in school, is you give it your best,” Thomas said, in remarks first reported by Politico. “I watch my bride who, in doing the same things, when she started her organization, she gives it 24/7 every day, in defense of liberty. You know, and maybe that’s why we’re equally young and we love being with each other because we love the same things; we believe in the same things. So, with my wife and the people around me what I see unreinforced is that we are focused on defending liberty. So, I admire her and I love her for that because it keeps me going.” Then, concluding his speech, he said, “My bride is with me, Virginia Thomas, and some of you may know her. But the reason that I specifically bring it up: there is a price to pay today for standing in defense of your Constitution.”

At the appearance at Stetson, Thomas was asked about the most controversial decision so far from the Roberts Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in 2010. In that case, Thomas joined Anthony M. Kennedy’s five-Justice majority opinion, which held that a major part of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law was unconstitutional. The case said that corporations enjoyed the right to free speech and that any attempt to limit corporate spending on behalf of political candidates amounted to a violation of the First Amendment.

Thomas’s defense of the decision was unconventional but was consistent with his long-standing approach to free-speech issues. He told the students that federal regulation of corporate involvement with politics began with the Tillman Act, which in 1907 banned direct corporate contributions to candidates. “Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation,” Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. “Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them.”

This is a characteristic intellectual gesture by Thomas—to assert that government poisons whatever it touches. More to the point, he argues that government attempts to assist black people, even to integrate white institutions, invariably backfire against their purported beneficiaries. In 2010, the Court expanded the Heller ruling to forbid the states, as well as the federal government, from infringing on the right to bear arms. In a concurring opinion in that case, McDonald v. Chicago, Thomas argued that gun control originally arose as a way for whites to disarm blacks around the time of the Civil War. Referring to the revolts by Nat Turner and others before the war, Thomas wrote, “The fear generated by these and other rebellions led Southern legislatures to take particularly vicious aim at the rights of free blacks and slaves to speak or to keep and bear arms for their defense.” He went on, with regard to the Reconstruction period, “The use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves from mob violence.” More bluntly, in his dissent in the Michigan law-school case, Thomas quoted Frederick Douglass: “If the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”

Like his intellectual heirs in the Tea Party, Thomas has a special hostility for government attempts to level the playing field in the political arena. For this Justice, the Constitution mandates the law of the jungle. When it comes to free speech, Thomas first laid out his views in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, a case early in his tenure. In 1988, Margaret McIntyre distributed unsigned leaflets at public meetings in a small town in Ohio. According to Ohio election laws, she was required to put her name on any material she distributed, and McIntyre was ultimately fined a hundred dollars for breaking the rule. In a 1995 opinion by John Paul Stevens for a seven-Justice majority, the Court overturned the fine as a violation of McIntyre’s right to free speech. For the Court, Stevens weighed the interest of the state in protecting the integrity of campaigns versus the individual’s right to express herself and concluded that the state’s restrictions went too far.

Thomas wrote a concurring opinion, which laid out a template that he, and to some extent the Court, has since followed. The opinion is an originalist tour de force, with extensive discussion of the practice of anonymous speech as practiced by the framers of the Constitution. “In light of the Framers’ universal practice of publishing anonymous articles and pamphlets,” Thomas wrote, it was clear “that the Framers shared the belief that such activity was firmly part of the freedom of the press. It is only an innovation of modern times that has permitted the regulation of anonymous speech.” This case marked the début of Thomas’s absolutist position on free-speech issues. “I don’t agree with him, but Thomas has the most internally coherent view of any Justice,” Richard Hasen, a professor at the School of Law at the University of California at Irvine and the proprietor of a widely read blog on electoral law, said. “His view is that the First Amendment allows virtually no regulation of campaign advertising, campaign contributions, or expenditures. The Court has been moving his way.”

Thomas put his position straightforwardly in a dissent to a decision, in 2000, that upheld a Missouri law that limited individual contributions to local campaigns to a total of a thousand and seventy-five dollars. “In my view, the Constitution leaves it entirely up to citizens and candidates to determine who shall speak, the means they will use, and the amount of speech sufficient to inform and persuade,” he wrote. During the past decade, Justice Stephen Breyer has led the way for the other side, arguing in a series of cases (and in two books) that Congress may enact strict campaign-finance laws. As Breyer wrote in his book “Active Liberty,” campaign-finance laws reflect the concern that “the few who give in large amounts may have special access to, and therefore influence over, their elected representatives.” Breyer asserts that the Constitution permits Congress to limit the influence of these wealthy political insiders.

By 2010, in Citizens United, it had become clear that Thomas was routing Breyer. Though Thomas was not the author of the Court’s opinion in that famous case, Kennedy did adopt several Thomas tropes—that there was no difference, under the First Amendment, between an individual and a corporation, and limitations on expenditures amounted to limitations on speech. But still, remarkably, Thomas wanted more. Kennedy’s opinion did uphold federal rules that required corporations and others to disclose how much they had contributed to political campaigns. To Thomas, even this amounted to an unlawful intrusion on the First Amendment. Returning to a theme first expressed in McIntyre, fifteen years earlier, Thomas said, in a separate opinion, in Citizens United, that the First Amendment protected anonymity as much as speech itself. Ever alert to contemporary political developments as much as to eighteenth-century history, Thomas asserted that harassment of contributors to Proposition 8 in California, which banned same-sex marriage, demonstrated the dangers of mandatory disclosures. “These instances of retaliation sufficiently demonstrate why this Court should invalidate mandatory disclosure and reporting requirements,” he wrote. On this issue, Thomas has not persuaded a majority of his colleagues—yet.

Notwithstanding Thomas’s scholarly and influential jurisprudence, he remains best known for his silence on the bench. No Justice in the modern history of the Court has gone as long as a single year without asking a question; Thomas is now into his sixth year. Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the two newest members of the Court, immediately asserted themselves as vigorous participants in oral arguments, which drew even more attention to Thomas’s unique approach.

In his public appearances, Thomas is often asked about his silence, and sometimes he brings it up himself. His answers have evolved over time, but he usually says that he finds that the other Justices ask too many questions and that the lawyers should be given a chance to speak for a time without interruption. At an appearance at Hillsdale, in 2007, he said, “My colleagues should shut up!” At a law-school appearance last year, Thomas was asked what might change his mind in a case. “If my colleagues would let me talk,” he said with a small laugh, then added, “assuming that improbability.”

In one respect, Thomas has a point. During his tenure on the Court, the other Justices have become notably more aggressive questioners, and lawyers sometimes have trouble getting a word in edgewise. Even the Chief Justice, at an appearance in West Virginia in June, expressed the view that he and his colleagues might be talking and interrupting too much. “I am probably one of the prime offenders,” Roberts said. Obviously, though, Thomas’s reaction to this problem is extreme, and he would certainly be allowed to ask questions if he tried.

What makes Thomas’s silence even more peculiar is his behavior in the courtroom, especially in recent years. The Justices all sit in high-backed leather swivel chairs, and Thomas has set his so that he can recline so far that he appears almost to be lying down. He stares at the ceiling. He rubs his face. He does not appear to be listening. He closes his eyes and sometimes appears to be asleep. The over-all effect is rude, if not contemptuous.

Thomas’s performance at oral argument is even odder, because he is otherwise a popular, if elusive, figure at the Court. His separate opinions, while vigorously argued, are invariably respectful of his colleagues. Thomas never engages in the abusive rhetoric that is a Scalia specialty. (Scalia denounced a recent opinion by Sotomayor as “utter nonsense” that “demeans this institution.”) As a group, the Justices lobby one another less than many suppose, but Thomas expresses himself in writing or not at all. He talks to his colleagues about sports or his travels, but he will go months, or even years, without discussing the substance of cases with some of them. He discusses these issues almost exclusively with his law clerks, whom he chooses for their ideological compatibility. At Stetson, he described his relationships with his law clerks this way: “Zero tolerance for mistakes, zero tolerance for excuses, zero tolerance for tardiness. I want my stuff done. I want it done my way. I also make it clear that if you don’t like my opinion, or you have a different opinion, all you’ve got to do is get nominated and confirmed.”

At this point, Thomas may see his continued silence on the bench as a provocation to his critics—a gesture that says their contempt will not move him. Certainly, Thomas seems to relish outraging his ideological adversaries. His views on the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment remain so eccentric, even bizarre, that they have found little favor even on this more conservative Court. In 2008, in Baze v. Rees, a badly splintered Court upheld lethal injection as a method of execution. In the lead opinion for the Court, Roberts said that the evidence in the case showed that lethal injection was not “cruelly inhumane” and thus not a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Thomas concurred, in an opinion that reads like a treatment for a slasher movie. As always, Thomas began by asserting that the relevant constitutional provision must be “understood in light of the historical practices that led the Framers to include it in the Bill of Rights.” To that end, Thomas surveyed eighteenth-century execution methods that were, apparently, cruel and unusual even in those days. There was burning at the stake, “ ‘gibbeting,’ or hanging the condemned in an iron cage so that his body would decompose in public view, and ‘public dissection.’ ” Thomas went on, “But none of these was the worst fate a criminal could meet. That was reserved for the most dangerous and reprobate offenders—traitors.” Their punishments involved “embowelling alive, beheading, and quartering.” One death sentence in England called for the condemned to be “drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, where you shall be hanged by the necks, not till you are dead; that you be severally taken down, while yet alive, and your bowels be taken out and burnt before your faces—that your heads be then cut off, and your bodies cut in four quarters.”

The point of this grotesque catalogue was to assert that the Eighth Amendment prohibited methods of execution that were also forms of torture—nothing more. Such a standard meant that Thomas was implicitly writing out of existence decades of precedent on the Eighth Amendment. Over the years, the Court had vetoed the imposition of “hard and painful labor”; rejected disproportionate sentences for minor crimes; abolished the death penalty for rape; and outlawed life sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than murder. Under Thomas’s narrow reading of the Eighth Amendment, all these cases would be wrong; under his approach to stare decisis, all would be overturned.

Thomas’s approach to the Eighth Amendment underlines some of the problems with his approach to the Constitution, and with originalism generally. Only two Justices, Thomas and Scalia, have built their jurisprudence around originalism (one of them faintheartedly), so its full adoption would require the trashing of dozens, if not hundreds, of Court precedents. Further, notwithstanding Thomas’s enduring certainties, it is difficult to know what the framers would have thought of any given situation. (Alito, a conservative but not a full-fledged originalist, captured this problem nicely, in the oral argument about the California law on violent video games. Following up on a series of questions by Scalia, Alito asked the lawyer, “I think what Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games. Did he enjoy them?”) It is true, too, that the framers often disagreed profoundly with each other, making a single intent behind the Constitution even more difficult to discern, and the twenty-seven amendments (all with their own framers) created another overlay of complication. For all of Thomas’s conviction, originalism is just another kind of interpretation, revealing as much about Thomas as about the Constitution.

In “Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America,” the Times reporter Kate Zernike wrote, “In the originalist view, and the Tea Party view, the perversion of the Constitution took off during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.” On this issue, as ever, Thomas led where the conservative movement soon followed.

Early in the New Deal, the Supreme Court struck down several of President Roosevelt’s signature initiatives as violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. If the law did not directly affect commerce “among the several states,” in the words of Article I, the Nine Old Men on the Court said that Congress had no right to pass it. F.D.R. responded to these setbacks with his infamous court-packing plan, but a change of heart by Justice Owen J. Roberts in 1937, followed by Roosevelt’s own appointments to the Court, transformed the understanding of that provision. In a series of cases, the Justices gave Congress essentially unlimited power to regulate the national economy. In Wickard v. Filburn, from 1942, the Court said that the federal government could regulate the amount of wheat grown on a farm, even if none of the wheat was sold across state lines, or even if no wheat was sold at all. Because the production of wheat, taken in aggregate, did affect interstate commerce, the regulation was permissible. With that, the issue of the Commerce Clause more or less vanished from the Supreme Court’s docket for decades—until Thomas and the Tea Party brought it back to life.

In 1995, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, did finally strike down another law as violating the Commerce Clause. In United States v. Lopez, the Court rejected a federal law that made it a crime to possess a gun near a school. Rehnquist’s opinion said, in essence, that possession of a gun in or near a school was so completely remote from the national economy that Congress had no right to prohibit it.

Thomas agreed—and then some. In a concurring opinion, he said, “I write separately to observe that our case law has drifted far from the original understanding of the Commerce Clause. In a future case, we ought to temper our Commerce Clause jurisprudence.” Even Rehnquist had acknowledged the long line of cases that said the Commerce Clause was satisfied if the activity in question “substantially affects” interstate commerce. In a characteristically lengthy and detailed opinion, Thomas said that the early New Deal Court—the Nine Old Men—was right, and all the Justices over the following six decades were wrong. Thomas wrote, “From the time of the ratification of the Constitution to the mid 1930’s, it was widely understood that the Constitution granted Congress only limited powers, notwithstanding the Commerce Clause.” By Thomas’s reading, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act, to say nothing of Medicare and Medicaid, might all be unconstitutional. “Justices can be influential by indicating to lawyers the boundaries of what’s possible,” Eugene Volokh, a professor at U.C.L.A. School of Law and a widely read blogger, said. “There is conventional wisdom about what’s possible, like ‘Whatever you think about the Commerce Clause, no one is going to go back to the pre-1937 approach,’ or ‘The Second Amendment is a closed issue.’ Thomas has shown that sometimes the conventional wisdom is wrong.”

Supreme Court Justices, especially those who are appointed young, like Thomas, can afford to take the long view. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That same day, Kenneth Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia, filed one of the first of several legal challenges to the law. Earlier this year, sixteen years after Lopez, Judge Roger Vinson, of the Federal District Court in Pensacola, struck down the law in its entirety—and he relied several times on Thomas to do so. (The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Vinson, in part.) Quoting Thomas’s concurring opinion in Lopez, Vinson said that the Obama Administration’s position would allow the federal government to “penetrate the recesses of domestic life, and control, in all respects, the private conduct of individuals.” These words, of course, would fit just as well in a speech by Ginni Thomas as in an opinion by her husband.

Four more circuit courts of appeals are slated to weigh in on the constitutionality of the health-care law. In due course, the Justices will have their turn. I asked Cuccinelli what role Thomas might play in the resolution of the health-care case. “I don’t like to make predictions,” he told me. “But I know I’ve got his vote.”

ILLUSTRATION: PHILIP BURKE
Keywords
Clarence Thomas; Virginia Thomas; Supreme Court Justices; Conservatives; Originalists; Health-Care Reform; Tea Party

Following are several sources of information about Clarence Thomas:

  • **NEW** The growing Clarence Thomas ethics problem **UPDATED: Common Caus, Politico, ThinkProgress weigh in
  • Throw Clarence Thomas off the Bench (March 3, 2011, The Daily Beast)
  • Don’t Be Distracted by Weinergate: The Scandalous “Judicial Insider Trading” of Justice Clarence Thomas, Wife “Ginni”
  • While You Were Sleeping (The Corner Tavern)
  • Lost in the Weinerblitz: May 27 and the Clarence Thomas SCOTUS scandal **UPDATE** (TRR, June 6)
  • Is Weiner Scandal Retaliation From Clarence Thomas? (News One, June 4)
  • Wonder Why Anthony Weiner Was Attacked? Wingnuts Needed A Diversion From His Clarence Thomas Recusal Campaign (Crooks & Liars, June 3)
  • Clarence Thomas – The Original #Weinergate (Allan Brauer, BalloonJuice, June 2)
  • Bringing Breitbart (And Thomas) To Justice (Action Alert!) (Daily Kos, June 2)
  • Clarence Thomas’ conflict of interest, and Anthony Weiner’s Twitter ‘scandal’ (June 1, TRR)
  • Press Release: POE Calls for Investigations Into Justice Thomas in Light of New Financial Disclosures (June 1, 2011)
  • Clarence Thomas’s conflict of interest on Affordable Care Act (Joan McCarter, DailyKos, May 31)
  • Anthony Weiner Tweet-Taunts Clarence Thomas About Financial Records News Dump (Sam Stein, Huffington Post, May 27)
  • Ex Monsanto Lawyer Clarence Thomas to Hear Major Monsanto Case (Celsias, March 11, 2010)
  • Clarence Thomas: should impeachment be on the table? (TRR, March 7)
  • Dem Ethics Bill Targets Clarence Thomas (NY Daily News, March 1)
  • The Thomas Issue (New York Times Editorial, Feb. 17, 2011)
  • Conflicted Clarence Thomas (Op-ed by Rep. Anthony Weiner, Huffington Post, Feb. 10)
  • The questionable ethics standard of Clarence Thomas (Bob Edgar, The Hill, Jan. 26)
  • Justice Clarence Thomas Amends 1997-2009 Financial Forms (Politics Daily, Jan. 24)
  • Citizen’s United pays for ads against Senators opposing Thomas’ confirmation (Video)
  • Reform group: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas had Citizens United conflicts of interest (Politico article on events attended by the two Justices, Jan 19)
  • Ex-Companion Details ‘Real’ Thomas (NY Times, October 22, 2010)
  • Clarence Thomas’s Ethics Problems, Then and Now (Bruce Shapiro, The Nation, October 2010)

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47855.html#ixzz1OboFJxte

    Additional links, Operation ‘Get Weiner’:

  • The Dark Past Of The “Weinergate” Co-Pilot(The Smoking Gun, June 3)
  • Issa Aide Linked To Weiner Twitter Tormentors (The Smoking Gun, June 6)
  • Mysterious Twitter group “warned women” about Weiner (New York Times)
  • Breitbart lets shock jocks view alleged Weiner pic, they post it online. (Slate)
  • Weiner is not a journalist (TRR)

    American Enterprise Institute, Harlan Crow, AEI, Center for the Community Interest, CCI, Transparency, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Conflict Of Interest, Supreme Court Ethics, Politics News, Pornography, Insider Trading, Citizens United, Tea Party, conspiracy, woman, mistress, drugs, politics, Clarence Thomas , New York Times , Supreme Court , Abraham Lincoln , Frederick Douglass , Harlan Crow , Raymond J. McKoski , Supreme Court Justice , Clarence-Thomas-Harlan-Crow , Ethics , Ethics Investigation , Ethics Violation , Georgia , Historic Preservation , Pin Point , Slaves

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