Thursday, January 27, 2011

When U.S. Supreme Court justices come to dinner...

AFTER THE SUPREME COURT handed the 2000 election to George Bush, and after its game-changing Citizens United decision that turned over elections to the highest corporate bidders, I had hoped that the conservative-majority guys would finally behave themselves and get back to serving us as apolitical justices. I missed that one by a mile. Indeed, they aren't even bashful these days about their narrow political interests as guests at right-wing fundraisers - places the robed strict constructionists oughtn't to be."

There have been numerous reports of three of the justices making their rounds at these mega-cash registers for sympathetic candidates. Interestingly, the three - Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas - didn't show up at President Obama's State of the Union speech, dismissing these annual rituals as political events. On the other hand, Scalia and Thomas found time to speak at a political fund-raiser organized by Koch Industries - a leading Tea party contributor. Alito made it to an event sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, an honored think tank in the conservative pantheon.

And now, it's discovered that Thomas failed to report his wife's previous job, even though he is required to do so by law. (Until 2007 she had been on the payroll of the conservative Heritage
Foundation, earning $686,589.) Thomas said his failure to list the job - actual earnings not required - was inadvertent for several years because of a misunderstanding and more or less promised he would do better in the future. Maybe he needs better law clerks to explain the complicated forms to him.

Legal experts say, yeah, he broke the law, but nothing would likely come of it, Thomas being a Supreme Court Justice and all that.

Does anybody recall what President Nixon said when David Frost challenged him to explain why he approved of clearly illegal wiretapping? OK, I'll remind you:

"When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

Should we now add Clarence Thomas to the untouchables?

y ougers.


joe Hill said...

You are on top of your game. Take a hard look at the Federalist Society out of which the conservative trinity evolved. Original intent is code for only our decisions reflect the framers and as such, legally support this takeover.

Great Post!

Mencken said...

Anybody else wondering what benefit the Heritage Foundation expected gain by paying Virginia Thomas nearly $700,000 ?

David Hess said...

The Robed Ones' partisan biases come as no surprise, considering their records on the Court. What puzzles me is why Senate Democrats permitted them to sit on the bench. This court's day of infamy was summed up in its hand-over of American democracy to corporate power brokers in the Citizens United case. Not since Dred Scott has the court so diminished itself. To equate deep-pocketed corporations as "persons" with the same political rights as ordinary citizens, under the guise of Freedom of Speech, is the lowest form of sophistry, and an open invitation to purchase elections and install in Congress and the White House servants of corporate interests.