He didn't recuse himself! Clarence Thomas Breaks Federal Law By Hearing ObamaCare Case, Democrats Silent
may provide standards for recusal in a given proceeding or matter.
Providing that the judge or presiding officer must be free from
disabling conflicts of interest makes the fairness of the proceedings
less likely to be questioned.
Clarence was diddling the "intimate" facts of the case every night.
I don't think this could be more clear and Thomas should have recused himself.
"Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge," provides that a federal judge "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality
might reasonably be questioned." The same section also provides that a
judge is disqualified "where he has a personal bias or prejudice
concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding";
As I said, Thomas slept with a health care lobbyist.
Chief Justice Roberts effectively defended the decision by both Justice Thomas and Justice Kagan
that they did not need to recuse themselves from the Supreme Court’s
upcoming deliberations over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care
In the face of a growing controversy over whether two
Supreme Court justices should disqualify themselves from the challenge
to the 2010 health care overhaul law, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
on Saturday defended the court’s ethical standards.
The chief justice’s comments came in his annual report on the state
of the federal judiciary. In it, he made what amounted to a vigorous
defense of Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan, who are facing
calls to disqualify themselves from hearing the health care case, which
will be argued over three days in late March. He did not, however,
mention the justices by name.
“I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to
determine when recusal is warranted,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “They
are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and
fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and
Federal law requires that judges disqualify themselves when they have
a financial interest in a case, have given ad-vice or expressed an
opinion “concerning the merits of the particular case” or when their
“impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” For lower court judges,
such a decision can be reviewed by a higher court, but the Supreme Court
has no such review
“The Supreme Court does not sit in judgment of one of its own
members’ decision whether to recuse in the course of deciding a case,”
he wrote. “Indeed, if the Supreme Court reviewed those decisions, it
would create an undesirable situation in which the court could affect
the outcome of a case by selecting who among its members may
Chief Justice Roberts said the justices also comply with the recusal
law, though he added that “the unique circumstances of the Supreme
Court” must be taken into account.
“There is only one major difference in the recusal process: There is
no higher court to review a justice’s decision not to recuse in a
particular case,” he wrote. “This is a consequence of the Constitution’s
command that there be only ‘one Supreme Court.’ ”
That also means, he added, that recusal at the Supreme Court is particularly problematic. http://fwd4.me/0xDv
Clarence Thomas Vs. Legal Ethics
by George Zornick
Charles Dharapak,/AP Photo
Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife Virginia Thomas, as he
is introduced at the Federalist Society in Washington on Nov. 15, 2007.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed
to hear constitutional challenges brought on by twenty-six states and a
business group to President Obama's healthcare reform bill. There will
likely be arguments in the spring and a ruling by July, right in the
heat of the presidential election.
This is a good time to recall that seventy-four members of Congress have signed a letter
asking Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any ruling on the
Affordable Care Act because of his wife's work as a conservative
activist and lobbyist, where she specifically agitated for the repeal of
"Obamacare." The recusal effort was spearheaded by Representative
Anthony Weiner, and his resignation in June slowed the momentum around
this issue on Capitol Hill—but there's still ample evidence for concern.
In 2009, Ginni Thomas founded
Liberty Central, a conservative nonprofit that she said would fight
President Obama's "hard-left agenda." Thomas said she "felt called to
the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made
America great." The group frequently advocates against "Obamacare," pushing misinformation that it would be a "disaster" for small businesses and urging lawmakers to repeal it.
This created immediate concern
among legal experts, who were worried about the obvious conflict of
interest, given that her husband would likely rule on challenges to the
law. Moreover, Liberty Central was taking unlimited and secret
donations, something aided by Clarence Thomas's ruling in Citizens United.
The liberal group Common Cause complained to the Justice Department at
the time, and noted "the complete lack of transparency of Liberty
Central's finances makes it difficult to assess the full scope of the
ethics issues raised by Ms. Thomas's role in founding and leading the
Ginni Thomas resigned
from Liberty Central late last year amid controversy over her role,
though the decision was also aided by fundraising troubles and a
bizarre, ill-considered phone call she placed to Anita Hill, the woman who accused her husband of sexual harassment twenty years prior.
But only a few months later, Ginni returned as head of Liberty Consulting, a new firm that boasted
the ability to use Ginni's "experience and connections" to help clients
with "governmental affairs efforts." She met with over half of the
incoming freshman class of legislators, and e-mailed
all of their chiefs of staff, dubbing herself "a self-appointed,
ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party
When I covered
the Faith and Freedom conference earlier this year, I attended a panel
held by Ginni Thomas and several national Tea Party leaders about how
to recruit and elect deeply conservative candidates to office.
Ginni Thomas's activities raise questions "about whether Justice
Thomas can be unbiased and appear to be unbiased in cases dealing with
the repeal of the health care reform law or corporate political
spending when his wife is working to elect members of the tea party and
also advocating for their policies," in the words of Common Cause lawyer Arn Pearson earlier this year.
Thomas should probably recuse himself, but it's important to note that
Ginni's activities are much more likely a symptom of her husband's
deep bias and antipathy towards progressive causes, not the cause of
them. In an excellent (and very long) profile of Clarence Thomas in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin explained in great detail what motivates the extremely conservative justice:
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 elites.' Thomas's
triumph over the health-care law and its supporters is by no means
assured, but it is now tantalizingly within reach."
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