Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Wednesday was one of those days in the "lamestream media," as Sister Sarah would say, that makes you shake your head in disbelief and ask "WTF?"
The prurient interests of the lamestream media, including all major newspapers and the broadcast television networks, had them all titillated about replaying the almost 20 year old controversy of Anita Hill and Justice Clarence Thomas. Apparenlty Virginia "Ginny" Thomas left a message on the telephone answering machine for Ms. Hill at her university office early on Saturday morning asking her to consider apologizing for "what she did" to her husband almost 20 years ago. Like I said, my initial reaction was to ask "WTF?"
Then I realized that this was a coordinated rollout of this story across all the mainstream media at the same time. The conservative media noise machine had to be behind this crazy story, but why? The next question I asked myself was what news story did the conservative media noise machine want to keep from becoming the top news story of the day? Hmmm.
I found it. On Tuesday evening, the New York Times had published a story about the Billionaire Kock brothers (aka the "Kochtopus"), who are trying to buy themselves a Congress this election thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decsion in Citizens United v. FEC, planning to host a meeting in January for the plutocratic "two percenters" and their newly purchased Congress. Koch Industries and Network of Republican Donors Plan Ahead. 21 paragraphs into this disturbing story of political corruption is this passage:
To encourage new participants, Mr. Koch offers to waive the $1,500 registration fee. And he notes that previous guests have included Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, Gov. Haley Barbour and Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, and Representatives Mike Pence, Tom Price and Paul D. Ryan.
Would that have been before or after the Citizens United v. FEC decision in January 2010? Was the decision a quid pro quo for Justices Scalia and Thomas patronizing the Koch brothers biannual shindig for the plutocatic "two percenters"? Was the Citizens United ruling and how it could most benefit the Koch brothers and other far-right corporate funded 501(c)(4) non-profit political organizations ever discussed at this meeting? There are some serious ethical questions raised by Supreme Court Justices ruling favorably for their friends and associates who have business before the court, especially on something as controversial as Citizens United.
Justice Thomas' ethical lapses are not limited to his friends the Koch brothers. As I told you in March of this year, shortly after the Citizens United decision, Thomas' wife, Virginia "Ginny" Thomas, formed a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization. Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas launches a Tea Party organization. (3/15/2010).
Supreme Court Justices and their spouses traditionally are not politically active nor actively involved in anything remotely controversial that could bring disrepute upon the Court or give cause for the public to question the impartiality and fairness of the Justice or the Court.
Apparenlty Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny are not happy with this longstanding tradition and feel it is appropriate for them to politicize the U.S. Supreme Court. I posted that legal experts were critical of Mrs. Thomas' ethically challenged decision to establish a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization, i.e., Tea Party, at the time. Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas is violating law. (3/19/10).
I recently posted about Justice Thomas' conflict of interest with his wife's political activities in DNC goes on the offensive against foreign-funded "U.S." Chamber of Commerce:
It turns out Justice Clarence Thomas has a serious conflict of interest as the Citizens United decision directly benefitted his wife's 501(c)(4) conservative political action committee. Thomas should have recused himself. Activism of Thomas’s Wife Could Raise Judicial Issues:
[Virginia] Thomas is the founder and head of a new nonprofit group, Liberty Central, dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist “tyranny” of President Obama and Democrats in Congress and to “protecting the core founding principles” of the nation.
It is the most partisan role ever for a spouse of a justice on the nation’s highest court, and Mrs. Thomas is just getting started. “Liberty Central will be bigger than the Tea Party movement,” she told Fox News in April, at a Tea Party rally in Atlanta.
But to some people who study judicial ethics, Mrs. Thomas’s activism is raising knotty questions, in particular about her acceptance of large, unidentified contributions for Liberty Central. She began the group in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, and because it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, named for the applicable section of the federal tax code, she does not have to publicly disclose any contributors. Such tax-exempt groups are supposed to make sure that less than half of their activities are political.
Mrs. Thomas, known as Ginni, declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed without an agreement not to discuss her husband.
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Nonprofit groups with political agendas like Liberty Central are operating in this election cycle under evolving legal and regulatory standards, most notably the ruling last January by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, which eased restrictions on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. In that case, Justice Thomas, long an advocate of dismantling campaign finance restrictions, was in the 5-to-4 majority. Wealthy individuals and some corporations, emboldened by the ruling, are giving to such groups to influence the election but still hide their tracks.
* * *
This month, Liberty Central began what it called its first ad campaign, but the ads were limited to Web sites for the conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin — suggesting an effort to build membership for Liberty Central, not elect candidates. The ads link to Liberty Central’s Web site and a video of Mrs. Thomas soliciting 100,000 signatures against the “Obama tax increase” — referring to the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts on Dec. 31.
The bigger question for many is how she is financing these activities. Liberty Central reported the initial $550,000 on its 2009 tax return, though the identities of the two donors are redacted.
A federal law requires justices to recuse themselves in a number of circumstances where real or perceived conflicts of interest could arise, including in cases where their spouses could have a financial interest. But the decision to step aside is up to each justice; there is no appeal from the nation’s highest court.
“It’s shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife’s organization,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor and director of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession.
Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginny have 'gone rogue," ignoring judicial ethical canons of conduct longstanding traditions of the Court. They are trying to make it acceptable for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and his spouse to be politically active and politically involved in controversial organizations. This will only bring disrepute upon the Court and give cause for the public to question the impartiality and fairness of the Justice and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court is largely self-policing on matters of ethical conduct. They do not answer to any bar association. But Congress has the power of oversight and could investigate ethical miconduct.