La Dolce Vita

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JUNE 21, 2011 8:00AM

Impeach Clarence Thomas?

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Another Justice Clarence Thomas’ ethics issue reached the headlines last weekend.  Mike McIntire, of The New York Times, wrote an article Saturday entitled, “Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics.”  The article focused on the financial relationship between Clarence Thomas and Harlan Crow, “a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes.”  McIntire points out that: 

“Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the (Pin Point) cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point (Thomas’s hometown in Georgia) that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s.  

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”. 

The important point here is that this act was “previously unreported.”  And, if an investigative reporter did not uncover this action now, it would still be undisclosed by the Supreme Court justice.  It seems that Justice Thomas does not disclose questionable income and financial transactions, even though he is required by law to do so. 

In February, it was reported by The New York Times that Justice Thomas had some discrepancies in his disclosures related to his attendance at a Koch brothers’ gathering in Palm Springs  

“When questions were first raised about the retreat last month, a court spokeswoman said Justice Thomas had made a ‘brief drop-by’ at the event in Palm Springs, Calif., in January 2008 and had given a talk.  

In his financial disclosure report for that year, however, Justice Thomas reported that the Federalist Society, prominent conservative legal group, had reimbursed him an undisclosed amount for four days of ‘transportation, meals and accommodations’ over the weekend of the retreat. The event is organized by Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita, Kan., to finance conservative causes.”  

More importantly, the advocacy group Common Cause discovered that Justice Thomas had never reported any of his wife’s (Ginni Thomas's) income from various ultra-conservative groups.  As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted in the LA Times:      

“… Common Cause discovered that Thomas had failed to disclose a source of income for 13 years on required federal forms. Thomas stated that his wife, Virginia, had no income, when in truth she had hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from conservative organizations, including roughly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Thomas reported ‘none’ in answering specific questions about ‘spousal non-investment income’ on annual forms — answers expressly made ‘subject to civil and criminal sanctions’." 

The operative words here are: “subject to civil and criminal sanctions.”      In other words, Justice Thomas’s actions were allegedly against the law.  Which begs the question: 

"Why hasn’t Congress begun drafting articles of impeachment against Justice Thomas?"  Before answering that question, however, let’s look at this situation in reverse. 

Let’s assume that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had failed to report income associated with a speech given at the annual U.S. Socialist Conference, where the International Socialist Organization (ISO) picked up all of his four-day expenses.  In addition, let’s assume that Justice Breyer illegally failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to his wife by and Planned Parenthood during the last thirteen years. 

How long do you think it would take for the conservative members of the House to begin drafting articles of impeachment against Justice Breyer?  Two days?? 

In this scenario, the Koch-sponsored Tea Party rallies would now be taking place on the Washington Mall as well as in every major city in America.  News stories entitled “Impeach Che Breyer” would be seen 24/7 on Fox, along with copy-cat coverage by the mainstream media (M$M). 

Furthermore, the conservatives in Congress would refuse to lift the debt ceiling until a majority of their members agreed to initiate impeachment proceedings against the "Marxist Breyer."  And, the M$M would agree. 

Could the same thing happen to ultra-conservative Clarence Thomas in our current political-media environment? 

Do pigs fly?


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Great post. I signed a letter yesterday urging congress to open an investigation of this man, who along with his wife are doing everything they can to advance the conservative agenda, even, like Scalia and Cheney, not rescuing himself from cases involving not Mr. Crow, but corporations he is invested in. But with a conservative congress, we are going to get nowhere. EP deserved Big-Time!
Yes, They need to go. Can we impeach his wife too? Excellent post.
This guy has been trouble since before he even became a Supreme Court Justice. Get rid of him.
I can't keep up with all the details but after seeing so many stories and the fact that he never should have been confirmed in the first place I have no doubt he should be impeached.

In fact the failure to reverse Buckley v. Valeo and the Citizens United ruling should be enough to impeach most if not all of the Supreme Court members. This has effectively legalized bribery by another name.
Thomas should never have been confirmed. He was a sexual predator as an employer and Anita Hill told the world that yet he was confirmed anyway. I used to think that the Democrats were just trying to play one game while Republicans were playing another. Now? I think that they are all in cahoots and just manipulating us to keep their own power safe. It's getting damned hard to see any difference between them.
I was against confirming Thomas's nomination, because I believed Anita Hill, but once he was confirmed we had to go back to square one. That issue was no longer relevant, at least as a disciplinary matter.

What's really going on here is that liberals fear that Obama will not win re-election, so they want to secure him the opportunity to fill a conservative seat on the Supreme Court with a liberal. That would tip the balance to the liberals. This whole thing will blow over if a Republican wins in 2012.
So, what you’re saying Arthur is that it makes no difference what kind of illegal activity Clarence Thomas may become involved with now. His former Anita Hill controversy is now irrelevant, and any new issues that come up represent liberal-bashing, regardless of how much evidence may be presented.

Did I get this correct?
Not exactly. I do think that the Anita Hill episode is irrelevant at this point, although I believe that an injustice was done to her when Clarence was confirmed. As to the current evidence against Thomas, I don't pretend to judge. However, the only reason it is an issue is because the liberals want him off the court. You raise hypothetical questions about what the conservatives would do if one of the liberal justices seemingly misbehaved. More to the point is what the liberals would do if a liberal misbehaved. Not much, I dare say. We have a precedent in the Clinton impeachment.
Whether a legislator has D or R after his name, all of them deserve to have H (for hypocrite) after their names. That's why I predict that the liberals will leave Thomas alone if a Republican is going to name his successor. At that point the liberals will no longer give a damn about the supposed misdeeds.

Do you get it now?

You said, "That's why I predict that the liberals will leave Thomas alone if a Republican is going to name his successor."

Well, right now a Democrat would name his successor. Which is my point. Why aren't the liberals going bonkers over this now when it makes sense for them to be doing so?
Well, some political liberals certainly are on the case, and the more liberal media are starting to gnaw at the issue. Might heat up.
The absurd notion expressed here that a political fibber (that is the definition of a politician - a general, sometimes liar) can be compared to an individual that will sell his vote, refuse to recuse oneself in obvious conflict of interest cases is profoundly sick! (as in psychoses - get some help, read a book on dissonance thinking or talk to an independent third party that can offer genuine help)

One can certainly agree with you that all parties do the dissonance dance but please, be real. (I know it's hard but you've got to start somewhere)

Brining disgrace to ones office is one thing (you bet, Clinton lied to avoid being caught and embarrassment - in the end he did neither) but displaying such hubris and disdain for an office that is supposed to be the height of impropriety, honor and legal precedence…
I’m only preaching to the choir, rationalizing one’s position is the definition of the new conservative!