Skip to comments.Clarence Thomas speech draws new criticism
Posted on 02/28/2011 7:45:44 PM PST by jazusamo
Liberals renewed their criticism of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Monday in response to a speech Thomas gave over the weekend in which he said he and his tea party activist wife Virginia believe in the same things and dismissed their critics as bent on undermining the court.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said it was Thomass speech that undermines confidence in our highest court.
Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman and president of the left-leaning watchdog group Common Cause, said the speech did little to assuage concerns his group has raised about Thomass impartiality and said that his groups asking for more accountability and transparency from the nations highest court doesnt undermine it.
The group has also raised questions about another conservative justice, Antonin Scalia.
Thomas made the speech Saturday night in Charlottesville, Va., at a banquet sponsored by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group that paid to fly Scalia and Thomas in January of 2007 and 2008, respectively, to California, where they attended events connected to major conservative donor conferences organized by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, David and Charles.
Its past time for Justices Thomas and Scalia to provide all the details of their participation apparently on the Federalist Societys dime at Koch-sponsored political strategy and fundraising meetings, Edgar said in a statement. Nothing less than the courts reputation as an impartial tribunal is on the line.
Common Cause suggested in a January letter to the Justice Department that Thomass connection to the Koch event, as well as his wifes leadership of a tea party group, may have been grounds for him to recuse himself from the Supreme Courts ruling last year in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the courts decision striking down decades-old restrictions on political spending.
Common Cause on Monday demanded more information from Scalia, Thomas and the Federalist Society about how much the justices participated in the Koch conferences, which are designed to raise money for political activities. The Federalist Society, which declined to comment on the letter, has said that it flew Thomas and Scalia to California primarily to participate in its own events, which coincided with the Koch events.
We knew the justices were going to be out there, and the attendees would be interested in hearing what they had to say, Eugene Meyer, the societys executive director, told the Washington Post last week.
On Tuesday, Weiner plans to join Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Common Cause and the liberal group Alliance for Justice at a Capitol Hill press conference to unveil a bill that would extend a judicial code of conduct to the Supreme Court and require the justices to explain why they did or did not recuse themselves from cases.
Unlike lower federal courts, where justices are subject to strict rules setting recusal guidelines, the Supreme Court is mostly self-regulating. Justices decide whether or not their personal affiliations warrant them stepping aside or recusing themselves from deliberations on a case.
Weiner said theres always been a presumption that the Supreme Court is sensitive to the appearance of its own biases, and that appearance seems to be no deterrent nowadays. It seems like its gotten worse and worse through time where people like Scalia and Thomas seem to be thumbing their nose at the appearance because they know that theyre beyond the reach of any authority.
Weiner had collected the signatures of 90 House Democrats on a letter urging Thomas to recuse himself from any case involving last years healthcare overhaul because of his wifes past leadership of a tea party group called Liberty Central that campaigned against the overhaul and her current position as head of a lobbying firm called Liberty Consulting.
Theres no evidence that Liberty Consulting has worked on healthcare related issues. Neither Virginia Thomas nor the firm has registered to lobby Congress, and Liberty Consulting took down its website after POLITICO revealed the creation of the firm and its appeals for meetings with freshmen Republican lawmakers.
But Weiner said the speech only confirms the need for Justice Thomas to recuse himself. By declaring his support and shared views of his spouse, he adds to the perception that his mind is made up. And he said if the court overturns the overhaul and Thomas does not recuse himself from the decision, I will be making that point that this is not a credible decision.
In the speech, Justice Thomas referred to the criticism leveled of him and his wife after she started Liberty Central in late 2009.
I watched my bride when she started her organization to give 24/7 every day in defense of liberty, he said, later adding there is a price to pay today for standing in defense of your Constitution.
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund suggested Monday that liberal criticism of Thomas may be motivated by something other than concerns about judicial integrity.
Its impossible to figure out all of the motivations behind the attacks on Justice Thomas, Fund wrote, but its a safe bet that several liberal groups have decided that the constitutionality of ObamaCare is under serious assault. They want to lay down some markers for declaring that any adverse decision by the Supreme Court is morally and legally illegitimate.
...in response to a speech Thomas gave over the weekend in which he said he and his tea party activist wife Virginia "believe in the same things" and dismissed their critics as "bent on undermining" the court. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said it was Thomas's speech that "undermines confidence in our highest court."
I like Thomas the best out of all the judges on that court, especially his write up in Heller. I wish we had 4 more like him!
What a dick and a jerk ! What about applying that code to the liberal justices !
>> What about applying that code to the liberal justices !
Prop 8, California.
Bob Edgar is a communist scumbag - he was the former commissar for the Marxist front group known as the National Council of Churches. Edgar has supported some of the most bloodiest dictators in the world while putting down freedom loving dissidents in those dictatorships. He has visited Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea, and he did not meet with human rights dissidents there but sat down with tyrants and the fake churches they have. You can tell I don’t like this person! He is also a Protestant minister. My feelings for him...let’s just say it’s a personal thing between a son of parents who fled communist Cuba and a known agent of Castro’s dictatorship - him, Edgar.
Amen to that! Justice Thomas is one of if not the best.
A lot of this is just so much baloney. However, it still isn’t clear to me how he forgot to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars she received over several years.
Love the tagline ... wish we had five more Judge Thomas judges on the SCOTUS, then I could respect it again.
I agree with what you said. Edgar is a scum.
The accurately named Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
Like Congressman Weiner is some paragon of mental stability. This guy practically foams at the mouth when he doesn't get his way.
I just call him Anthony "lacksa" Weiner.
You couldn't be any more correct, the guy is a pathetic joke.
I really don't understand how people like him think they have any credibility at all, of course they're leftists so that explains it.
Bet Tony would love that eh!
I don't believe in modifying the Constitution for light and transient causes, but I could support an Amendment that prohibits any "weiner" from holding any position in government.
Yet Weiner is all for the judicial lightweights The Wise Latina and The Ugless Kagan
That’s interesting, I had no idea Rep. Anthony Weiner’s uncle was in the Gestapo, he probably doesn’t want that to get around.