Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Art

From crooked judges who hand victories to those who appoint them to office, to corrupt bar prosecutors who are unable to protect the public from crooked lawyers, to sheriffs and police who declare themselves above the law, to congressional members who refuse to obey the laws they themselves enact, the nation is under attack. The courts have become a theater in which absurd results and outrageous consequences are routinely announced as normal. Here we consider and dismember these routine outrages that threaten to completely overwhelm the common, reasonable understanding of right and wrong.

Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Art

Postby admin » Tue Apr 11, 2023 3:24 am

Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Artifacts: Harlan Crow also reportedly has a garden full of dictator statues.
by Sylvie McNamara
April 7, 2023



Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Photograph provided by US government via Wikimedia Commons

When Republican megadonor Harlan Crow isn’t lavishing Justice Clarence Thomas with free trips on his private plane and yacht (in possible violation of Supreme Court ethics rules), he lives a quiet life in Dallas among his historical collections. These collections include Hitler artifacts—two of his paintings of European cityscapes, a signed copy of Mein Kampf, and assorted Nazi memorabilia—plus a garden full of statues of the 20th century’s worst despots.

Crow, the billionaire heir to a real estate fortune, has said that he’s filled his property with these mementoes because he hates communism and fascism. Nonetheless, his collections caused an uproar back in 2015 when Marco Rubio attended a fundraiser at Crow’s house on the eve of Yom Kippur. Rubio’s critics thought the timing was inappropriate given, you know, the Hitler stuff.
“I still can’t get over the collection of Nazi memorabilia,” says one person who attended an event at Crow’s home a few years ago and asked to remain anonymous. “It would have been helpful to have someone explain the significance of all the items. Without that context, you sort of just gasp when you walk into the room.” One memorable aspect was the paintings: “something done by George W. Bush next to a Norman Rockwell next to one by Hitler.” They also said it was “startling” and “strange” to see the dictator sculptures in the backyard.








A set of Nazi linens displayed in Harlan Crow’s home. The photo was taken by somebody who attended an event there a few years ago.

Nazi artifacts on display in Harlan Crow’s home, also photographed by the person who attended an event there a few years ago.

In 2014, when Crow’s house was included in a public tour of historic homes, a reporter from the Dallas Morning News visited. Apparently, Crow was visibly uncomfortable with questions about his dictator statues and Hitler memorabilia, preferring to discuss his other historical collections: documents signed by the likes of Christopher Columbus and George Washington; paintings by Renoir and Monet; statues of two of Crow’s heroes, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

But despite Crow’s discomfort, the reporter did manage to see the garden of dictator statues, describing it as a “historical nod to the facts of man’s inhumanity to man.” Among the figures in the “Garden of Evil” are Lenin and Stalin, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito.

These are apparently not statues that Crow has commissioned—Crow has said that they’re bona-fide artifacts from public squares across Europe and Asia that citizens toppled at the end of dictatorial regimes. According to Crow, the white streaks on the Lenin statue are the remnants of paint thrown by furious Russians, and the chunks missing from Stalin are evidence of the wrath of the anti-Communist hordes. Crow says that the Gavrilo Princip statue had to be smuggled across the border between Serbia and Croatia disguised as rubble for fear that the Croatian border guards might destroy it in a rage.

The person we talked to who visited Crow’s home says that it felt sort of like a museum (“just a bunch of collectibles everywhere from major historical events”) and describes the Crows as “such hospitable Texas hosts.” The evening wasn’t unpleasant, they say, “just strange—they had family photos in one room, then all this WWII stuff in another room, and dictators in the backyard.”
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Tue Apr 11, 2023 3:55 am

Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire
by Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski
April 6, 5 a.m. EDT



Update, April 7, 2023: Since publication, Justice Clarence Thomas has made a public statement defending his undisclosed trips.

IN LATE JUNE 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni, front left, with Harlan Crow, back right, and others in Flores, Indonesia, in July 2019. Credit:via Instagram

For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.

Thomas did not respond to a detailed list of questions.

In a statement, Crow acknowledged that he’d extended “hospitality” to the Thomases “over the years,” but said that Thomas never asked for any of it and it was “no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.”

Through his largesse, Crow has gained a unique form of access, spending days in private with one of the most powerful people in the country. By accepting the trips, Thomas has broken long-standing norms for judges’ conduct, ethics experts and four current or retired federal judges said.

“It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” said Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton. When she was on the bench, Gertner said, she was so cautious about appearances that she wouldn’t mention her title when making dinner reservations: “It was a question of not wanting to use the office for anything other than what it was intended.”

Virginia Canter, a former government ethics lawyer who served in administrations of both parties, said Thomas “seems to have completely disregarded his higher ethical obligations.”

“When a justice’s lifestyle is being subsidized by the rich and famous, it absolutely corrodes public trust,” said Canter, now at the watchdog group CREW. “Quite frankly, it makes my heart sink.”


—Virginia Canter, former government ethics lawyer

ProPublica uncovered the details of Thomas’ travel by drawing from flight records, internal documents distributed to Crow’s employees and interviews with dozens of people ranging from his superyacht’s staff to members of the secretive Bohemian Club to an Indonesian scuba diving instructor.

Federal judges sit in a unique position of public trust. They have lifetime tenure, a privilege intended to insulate them from the pressures and potential corruption of politics. A code of conduct for federal judges below the Supreme Court requires them to avoid even the “appearance of impropriety.” Members of the high court, Chief Justice John Roberts has written, “consult” that code for guidance. The Supreme Court is left almost entirely to police itself.

There are few restrictions on what gifts justices can accept. That’s in contrast to the other branches of government. Members of Congress are generally prohibited from taking gifts worth $50 or more and would need pre-approval from an ethics committee to take many of the trips Thomas has accepted from Crow.

Thomas’ approach to ethics has already attracted public attention. Last year, Thomas didn’t recuse himself from cases that touched on the involvement of his wife, Ginni, in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While his decision generated outcry, it could not be appealed.

Crow met Thomas after he became a justice. The pair have become genuine friends, according to people who know both men. Over the years, some details of Crow’s relationship with the Thomases have emerged. In 2011, The New York Times reported on Crow’s generosity toward the justice. That same year, Politico revealed that Crow had given half a million dollars to a Tea Party group founded by Ginni Thomas, which also paid her a $120,000 salary. But the full scale of Crow’s benefactions has never been revealed.

Long an influential figure in pro-business conservative politics, Crow has spent millions on ideological efforts to shape the law and the judiciary. Crow and his firm have not had a case before the Supreme Court since Thomas joined it, though the court periodically hears major cases that directly impact the real estate industry. The details of his discussions with Thomas over the years remain unknown, and it is unclear if Crow has had any influence on the justice’s views.

In his statement, Crow said that he and his wife have never discussed a pending or lower court case with Thomas. “We have never sought to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue,” he added.

In Thomas’ public appearances over the years, he has presented himself as an everyman with modest tastes.

“I don’t have any problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States, and I prefer seeing the regular parts of the United States,” Thomas said in a recent interview for a documentary about his life, which Crow helped finance.

“I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There’s something normal to me about it,” Thomas said. “I come from regular stock, and I prefer that — I prefer being around that.”

“You Don’t Need to Worry About This — It’s All Covered”

CROW’S PRIVATE lakeside resort, Camp Topridge, sits in a remote corner of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Closed off from the public by ornate wooden gates, the 105-acre property, once the summer retreat of the same heiress who built Mar-a-Lago, features an artificial waterfall and a great hall where Crow’s guests are served meals prepared by private chefs. Inside, there’s clear evidence of Crow and Thomas’ relationship: a painting of the two men at the resort, sitting outdoors smoking cigars alongside conservative political operatives. A statue of a Native American man, arms outstretched, stands at the center of the image, which is photographic in its clarity.

A painting that hangs at Camp Topridge shows Crow, far right, and Thomas, second from right, smoking cigars at the resort. They are joined by lawyers Peter Rutledge, Leonard Leo and Mark Paoletta, from left. Credit:Painting by Sharif Tarabay

The painting captures a scene from around five years ago, said Sharif Tarabay, the artist who was commissioned by Crow to paint it. Thomas has been vacationing at Topridge virtually every summer for more than two decades, according to interviews with more than a dozen visitors and former resort staff, as well as records obtained by ProPublica. He has fished with a guide hired by Crow and danced at concerts put on by musicians Crow brought in. Thomas has slept at perhaps the resort’s most elegant accommodation, an opulent lodge overhanging Upper St. Regis Lake.

The mountainous area draws billionaires from across the globe. Rooms at a nearby hotel built by the Rockefellers start at $2,250 a night. Crow’s invitation-only resort is even more exclusive. Guests stay for free, enjoying Topridge’s more than 25 fireplaces, three boathouses, clay tennis court and batting cage, along with more eccentric features: a lifesize replica of the Harry Potter character Hagrid’s hut, bronze statues of gnomes and a 1950s-style soda fountain where Crow’s staff fixes milkshakes.

A lodge at Topridge where Thomas has stayed. Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn Belknap.

Thomas fishing in the Adirondacks. Second image: Via

Crow’s access to the justice extends to anyone the businessman chooses to invite along. Thomas’ frequent vacations at Topridge have brought him into contact with corporate executives and political activists.

During just one trip in July 2017, Thomas’ fellow guests included executives at Verizon and PricewaterhouseCoopers, major Republican donors and one of the leaders of the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-business conservative think tank, according to records reviewed by ProPublica. The painting of Thomas at Topridge shows him in conversation with Leonard Leo, the Federalist Society leader regarded as an architect of the Supreme Court’s recent turn to the right.

In his statement to ProPublica, Crow said he is “unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that.”

“These are gatherings of friends,” Crow said.

Crow has deep connections in conservative politics. The heir to a real estate fortune, Crow oversees his family’s business empire and recently named Marxism as his greatest fear. He was an early patron of the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth and has been on the board of AEI for over 25 years. He also sits on the board of the Hoover Institution, another conservative think tank.

A major Republican donor for decades, Crow has given more than $10 million in publicly disclosed political contributions. He’s also given to groups that keep their donors secret — how much of this so-called dark money he’s given and to whom are not fully known. “I don’t disclose what I’m not required to disclose,” Crow once told the Times.

Crow has long supported efforts to move the judiciary to the right. He has donated to the Federalist Society and given millions of dollars to groups dedicated to tort reform and conservative jurisprudence. AEI and the Hoover Institution publish scholarship advancing conservative legal theories, and fellows at the think tanks occasionally file amicus briefs with the Supreme Court.


—Clarence Thomas

On the court since 1991, Thomas is a deeply conservative jurist known for his “originalism,” an approach that seeks to adhere to close readings of the text of the Constitution. While he has been resolute in this general approach, his views on specific matters have sometimes evolved. Recently, Thomas harshly criticized one of his own earlier opinions as he embraced a legal theory, newly popular on the right, that would limit government regulation. Small evolutions in a justice’s thinking or even select words used in an opinion can affect entire bodies of law, and shifts in Thomas’ views can be especially consequential. He’s taken unorthodox legal positions that have been adopted by the court’s majority years down the line.

Soon after Crow met Thomas three decades ago, he began lavishing the justice with gifts, including a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass, which Thomas disclosed. Recently, Crow gave Thomas a portrait of the justice and his wife, according to Tarabay, who painted it. Crow’s foundation also gave $105,000 to Yale Law School, Thomas’ alma mater, for the “Justice Thomas Portrait Fund,” tax filings show.

Crow said that he and his wife have funded a number of projects that celebrate Thomas. “We believe it is important to make sure as many people as possible learn about him, remember him and understand the ideals for which he stands,” he said.

To trace Thomas’ trips around the world on Crow’s superyacht, ProPublica spoke to more than 15 former yacht workers and tour guides and obtained records documenting the ship’s travels.

On the Indonesia trip in the summer of 2019, Thomas flew to the country on Crow’s jet, according to another passenger on the plane. Clarence and Ginni Thomas were traveling with Crow and his wife, Kathy. Crow’s yacht, the Michaela Rose, decked out with motorboats and a giant inflatable rubber duck, met the travelers at a fishing town on the island of Flores.

From left, Crow, Paoletta, Ginni Thomas and Clarence Thomas in Indonesia in 2019. Clarence Thomas flew to the country on Crow’s jet, according to another passenger on the plane.

A worker from Crow’s yacht ferries Thomas and others on a small boat in Indonesia. Credit:via Facebook

Touring the Lesser Sunda Islands, the group made stops at Komodo National Park, home of the eponymous reptiles; at the volcanic lakes of Mount Kelimutu; and at Pantai Meko, a spit of pristine beach accessible only by boat. Another guest was Mark Paoletta, a friend of the Thomases then serving as the general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget in the administration of President Donald Trump.

Paoletta was bound by executive branch ethics rules at the time and told ProPublica that he discussed the trip with an ethics lawyer at his agency before accepting the Crows’ invitation. “Based on that counsel’s advice, I reimbursed Harlan for the costs,” Paoletta said in an email. He did not respond to a question about how much he paid Crow.

(Paoletta has long been a pugnacious defender of Thomas and recently testified before Congress against strengthening judicial ethics rules. “There is nothing wrong with ethics or recusals at the Supreme Court,” he said, adding, “To support any reform legislation right now would be to validate these vicious political attacks on the Supreme Court,” referring to criticism of Thomas and his wife.)

The Indonesia vacation wasn’t Thomas’ first time on the Michaela Rose. He went on a river day trip around Savannah, Georgia, and an extended cruise in New Zealand roughly a decade ago.

During a New Zealand trip on Crow’s yacht, Thomas signed a copy of his memoir and gave it to a yacht worker. Credit:Obtained by ProPublica

As a token of his appreciation, he gave one yacht worker a copy of his memoir. Thomas signed the book: “Thank you so much for all your hard work on our New Zealand adventure.”

Crow’s policy was that guests didn’t pay, former Michaela Rose staff said. “You don’t need to worry about this — it’s all covered,” one recalled the guests being told.

There’s evidence Thomas has taken even more trips on the superyacht. Crow often gave his guests custom polo shirts commemorating their vacations, according to staff. ProPublica found photographs of Thomas wearing at least two of those shirts. In one, he wears a blue polo shirt embroidered with the Michaela Rose’s logo and the words “March 2007” and “Greek Islands.”

Thomas didn’t report any of the trips ProPublica identified on his annual financial disclosures. Ethics experts said the law clearly requires disclosure for private jet flights and Thomas appears to have violated it.


Thomas has been photographed wearing custom polo shirts bearing the logo of Crow’s yacht, the Michaela Rose. Credit:via Flickr, Washington Examiner

Justices are generally required to publicly report all gifts worth more than $415, defined as “anything of value” that isn’t fully reimbursed. There are exceptions: If someone hosts a justice at their own property, free food and lodging don’t have to be disclosed. That would exempt dinner at a friend’s house. The exemption never applied to transportation, such as private jet flights, experts said, a fact that was made explicit in recently updated filing instructions for the judiciary.

Two ethics law experts told ProPublica that Thomas’ yacht cruises, a form of transportation, also required disclosure.

“If Justice Thomas received free travel on private planes and yachts, failure to report the gifts is a violation of the disclosure law,” said Kedric Payne, senior director for ethics at the nonprofit government watchdog Campaign Legal Center. (Thomas himself once reported receiving a private jet trip from Crow, on his disclosure for 1997.)

The experts said Thomas’ stays at Topridge may have required disclosure too, in part because Crow owns it not personally but through a company. Until recently, the judiciary’s ethics guidance didn’t explicitly address the ownership issue. The recent update to the filing instructions clarifies that disclosure is required for such stays.

How many times Thomas failed to disclose trips remains unclear. Flight records from the Federal Aviation Administration and FlightAware suggest he makes regular use of Crow’s plane. The jet often follows a pattern: from its home base in Dallas to Washington Dulles airport for a brief stop, then on to a destination Thomas is visiting and back again.

ProPublica identified five such trips in addition to the Indonesia vacation.

On July 7 last year, Crow’s jet made a 40-minute stop at Dulles and then flew to a small airport near Topridge, returning to Dulles six days later. Thomas was at the resort that week for his regular summer visit, according to a person who was there. Twice in recent years, the jet has followed the pattern when Thomas appeared at Crow’s properties in Dallas — once for the Jan. 4, 2018, swearing-in of Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho at Crow’s private library and again for a conservative think tank conference Crow hosted last May.

Thomas has even used the plane for a three-hour trip. On Feb. 11, 2016, the plane flew from Dallas to Dulles to New Haven, Connecticut, before flying back later that afternoon. ProPublica confirmed that Thomas was on the jet through Supreme Court security records obtained by the nonprofit Fix the Court, private jet data, a New Haven plane spotter and another person at the airport. There are no reports of Thomas making a public appearance that day, and the purpose of the trip remains unclear.

Jet charter companies told ProPublica that renting an equivalent plane for the New Haven trip could cost around $70,000.

On the weekend of Oct. 16, 2021, Crow’s jet repeated the pattern. That weekend, Thomas and Crow traveled to a Catholic cemetery in a bucolic suburb of New York City. They were there for the unveiling of a bronze statue of the justice’s beloved eighth grade teacher, a nun, according to Catholic Cemetery magazine.

Thomas attended the 2021 unveiling of a statue of his eighth grade teacher. Credit:via Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark

As Thomas spoke from a lectern, the monument towered over him, standing 7 feet tall and weighing 1,800 pounds, its granite base inscribed with words his teacher once told him. Thomas told the nuns assembled before him, “This extraordinary statue is dedicated to you sisters.”

He also thanked the donors who paid for the statue: Harlan and Kathy Crow.

Matt Easton contributed reporting.

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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:03 am

Billionaire linked to Sarah Ferguson accused of financing sex trafficking ring: Trammell Crow Jr, who reportedly met with the Duchess on his Texas ranch this year, faces a lawsuit from two women
by Rozina Sabur
The Telegraph
20 March 2023 • 8:53pm



Trammell Crow Jr, 72, is a property magnate and environmental philanthropist. CREDIT: PMC

A billionaire Texan property tycoon linked to the Duchess of York has been accused of financing a sex-trafficking ring in the US.

Trammell Crow Jr, who Sarah Ferguson has reportedly struck up a friendship with, has been named in a lawsuit by two women who claim he financed a sex and labour trafficking venture.

Mr Crow, 72, a property magnate and environmental philanthropist, met with the Duchess on his ranch near Austin, Texas earlier this year according to The Sun.

Mr Crow inherited his large fortune from his father Fred Trammell Crow, once known as America’s biggest landlord and a major Republican donor.

He reportedly struck up an unlikely friendship with the Duchess over their “shared interest in environmental issues".

It has since emerged that Mr Crow is facing a lawsuit from two women who claim they were sexually abused in a trafficking venture for which he provided the “essential financial assistance”.

Mr Crow's lawyer, Ken C Stone, said the accusations were “absurd and blatantly false”.

It is another embarrassing episode for the Duke and Duchess of York, following Prince Andrew’s settlement over sex abuse claims last year.

It is the latest embarrassing episode for the Duke and Duchess of York CREDIT: GETTY

The lawsuit, filed in California last November, names Mr Crow “and at least eight other prominent Texas businessmen” in the venture.

The filing claims the trafficking venture made one of the women became "a virtual long-term sex slave" and claims another of the women was also beaten and raped.

The trafficking ring utilised doctors, a police officer and others to keep the women drugged and become “an illegal racketeering enterprise”, the lawsuit claims.

It claims Mr Crow was involved at the very start of the trafficking ring in 2010, and knew “all the details of the force, fraud, threat, and coercion... and without him the venture never could have succeeded”.

It further claims the Texan billionaire maintained what he called "lingerie rooms" in his properties, "in which he kept a variety of lingerie for female guests to wear, as well as what he called ‘stripper shoes’.”

Some of the defendants in the lawsuit have filed a motion to dismiss the case. Mr Crow is expected to ask for the case to be dismissed at a hearing soon.

It comes as the Duchess and her ex-husband Prince Andrew fear losing their £30m Royal Lodge home in Windsor.

Prince Andrew stepped back from Royal duties after he reached an out-of-court financial settlement with his accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed he sexually abused her when she was 17.

The lawsuit claims Mr Crow knew “all the details of the force, fraud, threat, and coercion... and without him the venture never could have succeeded” CREDIT: PMC

The Duchess, 63, was reported to have flown to meet with Mr Crow earlier this month.

A source told The Sun: “Officially they’ve bonded over a shared interest in environmental issues, but it feels like a lot of discussions and a lot of air travel to solely discuss green matters.”

A spokesman for the Duchess told the newspaper: “The Duchess has only met Mr Crow once with others to discuss environmental issues.”

The Duchess was reportedly unaware of the allegations against the businessman and has no plans to work with or meet him again.

Mr Crow's lawyer, Mr Stone, told The Sun the story shared in the lawsuit was “upsetting and paints a picture of numerous troubled and broken domestic relationships.

“However, the account of events linking our client, and many others, to this story is both absurd and blatantly false.

“We are certain this will be made clear in future legal proceedings.”
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:08 am

Justice Thomas’s wife now lobbyist
by Kenneth P. Vogel, John Bresnahan and Marin Cogan
02/04/2011 04:46 AM EST
Updated: 02/05/2011 07:33 AM EST



Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, has recast herself yet again.

She started as a congressional aide in the 1980s, became a midlevel Republican operative, then briefly left politics, reemerging in 2009 as founder of a tea party group before steppingdown amid continued questions about whether her actions were appropriate for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice.

Now, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, has recast herself yet again, this time as the head of a firm, Liberty Consulting, which boasts on its websiteusing her “experience and connections” to help clients “with “governmental affairs efforts” and political donation strategies.

Thomas already has met with nearly half of the 99 GOP freshmen in the House and Senate, according to an e-mail she sent last week to congressional chiefs of staff, in which she branded herself “a self-appointed, ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party movement.”

But her latest career incarnation is sparking controversy again.

Thomas’s role as a de facto tea party lobbyist and — until recently — as head of a tea party group that worked to defeat Democrats last November “show a new level of arrogance of just not caring that the court is being politicized and how that undermines the historic image of the Supreme Court as being above the political fray,” said Arn Pearson, a lawyer for Common Cause, the left-leaning government watchdog group.

“It raises additional 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.”

Even among congressional Republicans, with whom Thomas boasts she has close ties, the reaction to the entreaties from her new firm, Liberty Consulting ranged from puzzlement to annoyance, with a senior House Republican aide who provided Thomas’s e-mail to POLITICO, blasting her for trying to “cash in” on her ties to the tea party movement.

Freshman Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) — who courted tea party activists and who was endorsed by Liberty Central, the tea party nonprofit group she headed until December — was unaware of Thomas’s new effort.

“This is the spouse of Justice Thomas?” he said, when asked by POLITICO on Tuesday about her outreach. “No, I’ve never met her. It’s not something I’ve heard about. And I hang out with a lot of freshman,” he said.

While Thomas was well-known in conservative circles as an aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, as a midlevel staffer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and at The Heritage Foundation and as the spouse of one of the court’s most conservative justices, she did not draw much attention until 2009, when she started speaking at tea party rallies.

Late that year, she establishedLiberty Central, a group she envisioned as forming a bridge between the conservative establishment and the anti-establishment tea party movement. It was a new role and a new measure of prominence for Thomas, and it marked the beginning of a string of headaches for her and her husband.

Legal ethicists assertedthat Thomas’s role could compromise her husband’s impartiality, especially since the group is not required to report its donors and could have benefitted from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling last year in which Justice Thomas sided with the majority in a decision that allowed corporations to fund campaign ads, often without disclosing their contributions.

To be sure, other federal judges have politically active spouses, including federal appeals court Judge Marjorie Rendell, whose husband is former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt, whose wife, Ramona Ripston, will step down this month after decades running the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Rendell’s political committees were required to reveal all donations. But the ACLU is registered under sections of the tax code that do not require public disclosure of donors, as is Liberty Central — and Common Cause, for that matter.

But the Thomases came under particular scrutiny after POLITICO revealed that, while the Supreme Court was deliberating over the Citizens United case, Liberty Central had received a $550,000 anonymous contribution.

Common Cause, in a letter to the Justice Department, suggestedthat Thomas should have recused himself from the case and charged that “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 group.”

In addition, in a letterto the Judicial Conference, Common Cause pointed out that Justice Thomas had failed to report on his disclosure filings his wife’s income over the past decade, prompting the judge to amend13 years of reports to indicate sources — though not amounts — of his wife’s income.

At first, it didn’t seem that the attention affected Thomas’s efforts to build Liberty Central. She assembled an impressive staff and board, while circulating among major conservative establishment donors with whom she and her husband had long, close relationships.

POLITICO has learned, for instance, that the initial $500,000 contribution came from Dallas real estate investor Harlan Crow, a major GOP donor who held an event for Liberty Central at his home a few months after the group launched. He also once gave Justice Thomas a $19,000 “Frederick Douglass Bible” as a gift and donated $150,000 to build a new wing named for Thomas on a Savannah, Ga., library that Clarence Thomas visited frequently in his youth.

But Thomas and Liberty Central ran into problems after it was revealed in October that she had left a voice mail, requestingan apology from Anita Hill, the woman who accused her husband of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings for the high court in 1991. That prompted another surge of attention and — according to a conservative who knows Ginni Thomas and is familiar with her work at Liberty Central — it “spooked” at least one donor.

About a month later, Thomas stepped down from her leadership post at Liberty Central, and it was announced that the group was mergingwith another conservative nonprofit group calledthe Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty. Sources told POLITICO that Thomas essentially put Liberty Central on the block because it was struggling to raise enough money to support its big staff and high overhead.

Liberty Consulting filedincorporation papers in Virginia only a day after news broke of the changes at Liberty Central.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Thomas said she was having trouble with the signal, telling a POLITICO reporter: “I would be happy to talk with you, but I really can’t understand clearly what you’re asking, so maybe this is not a good time to talk.”

She did not respond to subsequent voice mail or e-mail messages.

In a December interviewwith the conservative Daily Caller, though, Thomas said she planned to spend the bulk of her time working as a consultant for Liberty Central and the Patrick Henry Center, and would “help them in any way I can think of, whether it’s lobbying on the Hill or connecting with the grass roots, or helping speak or write or fundraise.”

But lobbying records show no registrations for Thomas, Liberty Consulting, Liberty Central or the Patrick Henry Center.

When asked whether Thomas was being paid through Liberty Consulting as a consultant, Liberty Central general counsel Sarah Field did not answer directly. “She was and continues to be the founder of Liberty Central, and we look forward to working with her and with other passionate conservative activists, and that’s all there is to it,” Field said.

Thomas and her friends reject the suggestion that the call to Anita Hill precipitated Ginni Thomas’s stepping down from Liberty Central — Thomas told The Daily Caller that the story line was “laughable.” She did, however, concede that the call was “probably a mistake on my part,” adding that, if her move to an outside consulting role “has the extra benefit of helping reduce distractions, that’s fine with me.”

And Leonard Leo, an executive at the conservative Federalist Society who is a longtime friend of the Thomases and sits on Liberty Central’s board, told POLITICO in November that the call had no impact on Liberty Central’s fundraising or on Thomas.

“The people that were supportive of Liberty Central were supportive of her,” he said, adding, “I don’t think that they were going to pull back from her at a time when she needed support more than anything else.”

He called the controversy over the Hill call “a nothing burger” for Thomas. “This is a woman who has been through it all. There are few women in Washington who have had to put up with what she has.”

But the source who knows Thomas and is familiar with her work at Liberty Central said her continuing reinvention of herself — especially so soon after raising big money and assembling a staff for a new nonprofit — has hurt her standing in conservative circles.

“Ginni’s reputation around town is now even more of a fake entitled woman who is only here because of her husband,” the source said. “Now she has opened her own lobbying shop ... not sure how (the) conservative circle will feel when they find that out, or if they’ll care or not.”

So far, they don’t.

Roughly half a dozen aides for new members told POLITICO that their offices received handwritten meeting requests from Thomas the day after they were sworn in, as well as follow-up e-mails requesting a meeting with her — but only one of them had met with her. The rest had no plans to do so.
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:15 am

Clarence Thomas Is On a Quest to Be the Most Corrupt Justice In the Court; The Supreme Court justice has reportedly spent decades accepting exorbitant gifts, luxury vacations, and yacht rides from a major GOP power-player—none of which were disclosed to the American public.
by Eric Lutz
Vanity Fair
April 6, 2023



WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images) ERIN SCHAFF-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

Sitting on the Supreme Court—it’s good work if you can get it. Justices enjoy a lifetime appointment, extraordinary influence over the lives of their fellow Americans, and little to no formal oversight. But if you’re Clarence Thomas, the gig apparently comes with additional perks: lavish vacations, access to private jets and super-yachts, and other pricey gifts, all courtesy of a billionaire and GOP mega-donor.

According to ProPublica, the conservative justice has for decades accepted luxury vacations and other gifts from Harlan Crow, the Dallas real estate developer who has helped found the anti-tax conservative Club for Growth organization, poured millions into GOP campaigns, and provided the initial $500,000 donation to the lobbying outfit founded by the justice’s wife, Ginni Thomas. The vacations have included a week and a half of island-hopping in Indonesia on Crow’s super-yacht, an excursion that would have otherwise cost the Thomases upward of $500,000; trips to the all-male California retreat Bohemian Grove, where Crow is a member; and visits to Crow’s Texas ranch. Every summer, ProPublica reports, Thomas also spends a week at Crow’s private Adirondacks resort—hobnobbing with various corporate executives, lobbyists, and Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo, in accommodations that include a full-scale mock-up of Hagrid’s hut from Harry Potter.

As you might expect, Thomas did not report any of the vacations, private travel, or gifts on financial disclosures, in what appears to be clear, if brazen, violation of ethics laws.

“It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” retired federal judge Nancy Gertner told ProPublica. “When a justice’s lifestyle is being subsidized by the rich and famous, it absolutely corrodes public trust,” former government ethics lawyer Virginia Canter echoed, warning that Thomas “seems to have completely disregarded his higher ethical obligations.”

ProPublica Apr 6, 2023
Replying to @propublica
7/ The justice has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow's sprawling Texas ranch.
Every summer, Thomas typically spends about a week at Camp Topridge, Crow's private resort in the Adirondacks.

8/ Inside Topridge hangs a photorealistic painting of one of Thomas' visits to the 105-acre property in remote upstate NY.
The painting shows Thomas enjoying a cigar alongside Crow and chatting with other conservative power brokers like Leonard Leo:
4:54 AM Apr 6, 2023

Lest we forget, Thomas has already shown, time and again, exactly what he thinks of those ethical obligations. After all, this is the justice who refused to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election, despite his wife supporting—and encouraging—Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn that year’s election results. But the lifestyle that Thomas' friendship with Crow has afforded him shine an even more glaring light on his indifference to the principles of judicial integrity and independence—and underscore the need for real accountability on the nation’s high court, a lack of which has called the court's legitimacy into question.

The Supreme Court's conservatives have steadfastly resisted such calls, lamenting the public's deteriorating trust while refusing to do anything to earn it. “All of our opinions are open to criticism,” Chief Justice John Roberts said last year, amid public outcry over its disastrous Dobbs decision—an activist ruling if there ever was one. “But simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the court.”

Roberts, of course, was arguing with a straw man. Public trust hasn’t cratered because people “disagree” with one opinion. It has plummeted because its right-wing majority—strong-armed into existence by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans—has abandoned the pretense that it is much more than the enforcement arm of the GOP. The conservatives have run roughshod over precedent; reverse-engineered their legal rationales for seemingly ideological decisions; and, in the case of Dobbs’ author Samuel Alito, openly mocked critics.

As for Thomas, neither he nor the Supreme Court appear to have responded to the ProPublica report Thursday. But Crow, for his part, defended his “dear” friendship with the justice in a lengthy statement to the outlet. “We have never asked about a pending or lower court case, and Justice Thomas has never discussed one, and we have never sought to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue,” Crow said. “More generally, I am unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that.”

“These are gatherings of friends,” Crow added.

As always, we’re just supposed to take their word for it—but we shouldn’t. “This degree of corruption is shocking—almost cartoonish,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote Thursday, renewing her call to impeach Thomas. “The revelation that Justice Thomas has been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed gifts from a Texan billionaire over many years is more than troubling,” Representative Gerry Connolly added. “It is disqualifying.”
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Fri Apr 14, 2023 1:39 am

The case for impeaching Justice Clarence Thomas
by Mehdi Hasan
Apr 13, 2023 #SCOTUS #SupremeCourt #ClarenceThomas

There’s new scrutiny on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after ProPublica revealed undisclosed luxury trips and property sale to a billionaire GOP mega-donor. It's just the latest in a long line of ethical and potentially legal controversies surrounding the Justice. With Thomas unlikely to step down, Mehdi looks at the case to be made for impeaching Justice Clarence Thomas.


I want to start with the story of a
Supreme Court Justice accused of taking
money from a shady Source without the
proper disclosures his reputation ruined
and under pressure from colleagues on
the court he's shamed into stepping down
no this story is not about Justice
Clarence Thomas unfortunately Thomas
seems impervious to shame no sign that
he'll resign after last week's bombshell
report from propublica detailing the
undisclosed luxury trips and vacations
that Thomas took with conservative
billionaire and mega donor Harlan Crowe
but we'll come back to Justice Thomas in
just a moment first let me tell you
about the Justice I was referring to
Justice Abe Fortis who was nominated to
the court by President Lyndon Johnson
back in 1965. he was a liberal leading
Justice a Jewish judge who supported the
Civil Rights Movement
this approach the approach of Martin
Luther King
is not
Martin Luther King is not the definition
of a fanatic
leadership in a democracy cannot be
vested in fanatics the two are
as far as George santiana tells us a
fanatic is one who redoubles his efforts
when he has forgotten his ends
in June of 1968 near the end of
Johnson's presidency chief justice Earl
Warren decided to step down from the
court Johnson nominated Fortis to become
the new chief justice but conservatives
in the Senate backed by Richard Nixon's
presidential campaign team were bent on
halting the ascent of the two liberal
forters not only did they filibuster his
nomination but they tried to find
negative stories to publish about the
Justice it was discovered that forters
had accepted a fifteen thousand dollar
honorarium to teach summer classes at
American University a salary paid for
not by the university according to the
Brennan Center for justice but by former
clients of fortis's old law partner many
of whom had cases before The Supreme
Court according to the Washington Post
this practice was not unheard of at the
time but also and understandably not
fully embraced either the Revelation
though hardened opposition to Fortis in
the Senate this combined with Johnson's
weakened lame duck Powers forced Justice
forces at hand causing him to withdraw
his name from Chi if Justice
consideration but that was just the
start of fortis's troubles after Nixon
took office his attorney General John
Mitchell who would later himself be
convicted for his role in Watergate
continued to investigate Fortis and was
able to dig up some more dubious
Financial activity fortis's biographer
laid it out
Fortis had a personal and financial
relationship with a financier named
Lewis Wilson who eventually ran into
trouble with the Securities and Exchange
Commission and it was in fact true that
Fortis had
started on that relationship shortly
after he came to the court and then
ended the relationship not quite a year
but that timing coincided with wolfson's
legal troubles
yeah the Optics were bad in fact forties
had accepted a 20 000 retainer to serve
on the board of Wilson's charitable
Foundation although Fort has returned
the money things were messy Wolfson even
asked Fortress to ask President Nixon
for a pardon which there's no evidence
to Justice ever did so Ford has stood
strong at first resisting resignation
and denying any wrongdoing but pressure
continued to build the Nixon justice
department decided to bring fortis's
wife Carolyn agar into the mix that's
right Fortis had a controversial spouse
as well the doj reopened an old
investigation into whether or not agar
had obstructed Justice by withholding
documents that were allegedly found in
her office with agar facing a potential
indictment fortis's own colleagues on
the court including chief justice Warren
urged Fortis to step down even President
Nixon got involved applying pressure on
Fortis to resign eventually the chorus
of voices telling him to stand down
became too loud Abe Fortis resigned on
May 15 1969 the last Justice to resign
from the Supreme Court in disgrace
so today more than 50 years later why
isn't there any pressure from lawmakers
or fellow justices on Clarence Thomas to
resign after all he isn't just accused
of legal and ethical violations but he
has single-handedly done more to
undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme
Court than arguably anyone else in
living memory Abe Fortis included over
the past couple of years it's been one
Thomas scandal after another one
Clarence controversy after the next and
it's no doubt contributing to the crash
in the Supreme Court's approval rating
over the last few years according to
Gallup only 47 percent of Americans now
have a great deal or fair amount of
trust in the Supreme Court that's the
lowest level since Gallup started
tracking that Trend in 1972 only 40
percent of Americans approve of the way
the court is handling its job with 58
disapproving and a record 42 percent of
Americans think that the court is too
conservative that's compared with just
18 who say it's too liberal now there
are many contributing factors here but
when it comes to Clarence Thomas and his
multiple controversies where is Chief
Justice John Roberts how come he won't
do uh what his predecessor did and urged
Clarence Thomas to stand down for the
sake of the Supreme Court and its
reputation where's President Biden on
this is he going to say anything strong
about what Clarence Thomas has been up
to what he's accused of how about
Democrats in the house and the Senate
they're doing the whole we're going to
investigate routine but nothing stronger
than that although after the pro-publica
report came out last week congresswoman
Alexander ocasio-cortez did say this on
I know that there are calls for chief
justice to for the Chief Justice Roberts
to initiate an investigation I do not
think that this court any longer has the
legitimacy it is The house's
responsibility to pursue that
investigation in the form of impeachment
yes the I word impeachment since
Clarence Thomas has so far chosen not to
resign not to do a Fortis why aren't
more Democrats joining AOC and calling
for his impeachment because from my
perspective there is a strong case for
impeaching him in fact in my view there
are three main reasons why Justice
Thomas should be impeached and that's
what we're going to examine today first
off number one the financial case for
impeaching Thomas as I mentioned
explosive new reporting from propublica
has revealed that Justice's undisclosed
dealings with GOP Mega donor businessman
Harlan Crowe the same island Crowe
incidentally who it turns out owns an
autographed copy of minecamp and a
collection of Nazi Linens in his Library
according to the Dallas Morning News he
says he's just preserving history as you
do but I digress according to propublica
Clarence Thomas has vacation with Crow
almost every year for 20 plus years
traveling on Crow's private jet
hobnobbing on Crow's super yacht and
spending time at Crow's private Resort
in Upstate New York on 21 2019 vacation
to Indonesia is this estimated by
propublica to have been worth around 500
000 to give you an idea of the alleged
value-changing hands here according to
propublica the extent and frequency of
Crow's apparent gifts to Thomas have no
known precedent in the modern history of
the U.S Supreme Court
I wonder what the late Abe Fortis would
have made of all this by the way these
lavish romps are certainly different
than the vacations Thomas professed to
enjoy in the 2020 Holland Crow funded
documentary about Thomas's life
you know I don't have any problem with
going to Europe but I prefer the United
States and I prefer seeing the regular
parts of the United States I prefer
going across the rural areas I prefer
the RV parks I prefer the Walmart
parking lots to the beaches and things
like that
there's something
normal to me about it I've come from
regular stock
and I prefer that I prefer being around
what's worse sorry I'm still laughing
about that clip I'm a regular kind of
guy what's worse these lavish trips with
Crow were not included on Thomas's
Financial disclosures Supreme Court
Justices and other federal judges are
required by law to disclose gifts
they've received though there are some
exceptions for what's called personal
Hospitality of course that's just what
Justice Thomas cited in a statement
released last week Justice Thomas says
he was advised that this sort of
personal Hospitality from close personal
friends who did not have business before
the court was not reportable he also
says now that the guidance has been
updated he'll follow this guidance in
the future
but I'm calling BS really Justice Thomas
you needed it spelled out for you that
it's inappropriate for a supposedly
impartial public servant for a top judge
to take extravagant trips with a
republican Mega donor and here's the
thing there is a strong case that the
personal Hospitality exception does not
apply to Thomas here propublica reports
that Thomas would often meet with major
Republican donors business Executives
and even Federalist Society leaders at
crows Mountain Retreat the American
Prospect argues this amounts to
government business and not personal
Hospitality making Thomas's failure to
disclose these gifts a direct violation
of the post-watergate Ethics in
Government Act and if you look at how
the rules Define personal Hospitality
they describe it as quote Hospitality
extended for a non-business purpose at
the personal residence of that person or
facilities owned by that person or
family and as Dahlia lithwick and Mark
Joseph stone note in their piece on this
issue for slate quote a person dead set
on defending Thomas might be able to
squeeze these yacht trips into this
definition arguing that by hosting
Thomas on his boat for food drink and
sightseeing Crow extended Hospitality on
his own property but lending out the
private jet for Thomas's personal use
come on letting somebody use your
private jet to travel around the country
is not extending Hospitality on your
property it is lending out your property
to someone else so they can avoid paying
for a commercial flight
what's more Crow's status as a close
friend of Thomas is questionable as
Indiana University professor Charles J
pointed out to NBC News Thomas and Crowe
were not childhood friends they met when
Thomas was on the Supreme Court when the
Justice had to understand that Crowe's
interest in bringing Thomas into the
fold a friend who enjoyed such lavish
treatment was attributed was
attributable excuse me to his status as
a judge not to mention the fact that
Crow gave half a million dollars to the
justices now Infamous wife Ginny's
right-wing lobbying pack Liberty Central
back in 2009 according to Politico so
again this isn't some old personal
family friend who was only interested in
hanging out with Thomas over the summer
come on this is someone who befriended
Justice Thomas and certainly has an
interest in influencing a powerful
conservative Justice on a whole host of
issues oh and Crow's donations to
Ginny's pack in particular look
uncomfortably close to an attempt to
Lobby Clarence an obvious No-No on that
point Crow did tell propublica the
hospital reality we've extended to the
Thomases over the years is no different
from the hospitality we've extended to
our many other dear friends we have
never sought to influence Justice Thomas
on any legal or political issue but it
doesn't end there on Thursday
pro-publica dropped another bombshell
report this time revealing that Holland
Crowe bought property from Clarence
Thomas including his mother's home for
over a hundred and thirty three thousand
dollars according to state tax documents
and a house deed from 2014 and again
Clarence Thomas did not disclose this
Crow told propublica he purchased
Thomas's mother's home to one day turn
it into a museum Thomas did not respond
to propublica but wait there's more this
relationship with Harlan Crowe isn't
Justice Thomas's only financial Scandal
no it's just a moldy cheese on top of
his financial impropriety Pizza let's
not forget the New Yorker report on one
of Ginny's other brushes with Lobby
including her undisclosed paid
Consulting work for the center for
security policy founded by far right
activist Frank Gaffney Gaffney submitted
an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in
2017 in support of the Trump
administration's Muslim travel ban while
Ginny was on their payroll not only did
Justice Clarence Thomas fail to recuse
himself from that case he actually voted
in favor of the Trump ban surprise
but he also didn't declare the two
hundred thousand dollars his wife earned
in 2017 and 2018 from gaffney's group
which judges are supposed to do
so that is the financial case for
impeaching Thomas to Lavish undisclosed
gifts the wife's paid undisclosed
lobbying the likely violation of the law
then number two there's the small D
Democratic case for impeachment because
back in January 2021 American democracy
was literally on the line and Ginny
Thomas played a role in fact eventually
she was called to testify in front of
the January 6 committee last September
thank you for being here could you speak
with your husband with both your beliefs
of the election being stolen
thank you very much
that testimony followed reports that
Ginny Thomas had been in touch with key
figures during the plot to overturn the
2020 election including State lawmakers
in Arizona and in Wisconsin
urging them to go against the will of
the people and choose their own slate of
trump electors she was even in touch
with Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
urging him not to let the then president
concede to Joe Biden not only that just
two days after the election she sent
Meadows crazy right-wing conspiracy
theories that the Biden crime family
would be arrested and living in barges
of gitmo to face military tribunals for
sedition totally normal in her testimony
before the January 6 committee Thomas
said she regretted those texts but said
she still had her own concerns
objections over alleged 2020 voter fraud
despite all the evidence to the contrary
now you might say why should Clarence
Thomas be punished impeached for
something his wife said or did Fair
Point except number one according to
Ginny herself while the two of them
apparently don't discuss their work with
one another
quote like so many married couples we
share many of the same ideals principles
and aspirations for America the same
aspirations for America like I don't
know overturning Democratic elections
doing coup plots we're expected to
believe Clarence Thomas doesn't share
those views with his wife and didn't
know she was at the ellipse in DC
listening to Donald Trump incite a mob
on January the 6th really
but the second and bigger reason why
Ginny's anti-democratic activities
disqualified Clarence Thomas from the
bench is because he had the opportunity
to recuse himself from January the sixth
related and trump-related cases and he
didn't he refused to in fact he has
never recused himself from a case
involving his spouse even though other
justices including conservative justices
in January of 2022 the Supreme Court
rejected Trump's bid to block documents
from being released to the January 6
committee it was an eight to one ruling
and you will never ever guess who the
sole Justice siding with Trump was yeah
Clarence Thomas I bet you're shocked he
didn't say why he dissented but just
weeks later we learned about Ginny
Thomas's text messages
that's a pretty huge coincidence and
it's not just that given that ruling
critics would later call on Thomas to
recuse himself from the Trump Mar-A-Lago
case where the former president asked
the justices to intervene in his legal
fight over classified documents seized
from his Florida Resort home and again
Thomas refused he didn't recuse himself
and the court ultimately did reject
Trump's request though it gave us no
indication of what individual justices
made of that request I'd love to know
what Clarence Thomas made of that
request so let's look to the near future
let's say Trump becomes the GOP
Presidential nominee and let's say he
loses the general election again if he
brings a court case up to the Supreme
Court as he did in 2020 and this time
the court agrees to hear it do you
really think Justice Clarence Thomas is
going to recuse himself and if he
doesn't can he really be objective in
such a case no of course not so that's
another major reason to impeach him and
finally the third reason for impeaching
Clarence Thomas is a pretty simple moral
one he isn't morally fit to sit on the
court and he should never have been
appointed in the first place you
remember Thomas's confirmation hearings
back in 1991 don't you
today the Senate Judiciary Committee is
meeting to hear evidence on sexual
harassment charges that have been made
against judge Clarence Thomas
who has been nominated to be an
associate judge of the Supreme Court he
talked about pornographic materials
depicting individuals with large penises
or large breasts involved in various sex
on several occasions
Thomas told me graphically of his own
sexual prowess
because I was extremely uncomfortable
talking about sex with him at all and
particularly in such a graphic way
I told him that I did not want to talk
about these subjects and from my
as a black American as far as I'm
concerned it is a high-tech lynching
yes Thomas's confirmation hearings were
marked by sexual harassment allegations
from Anita Hill who used to work with
Thomas in the 1980s she described as you
heard there in explicit detail what
Thomas allegedly said to her and endured
hours of excruciating and deeply
personal questions from that all-white
all-male committee then Senator Joe
Biden led the hearings back in 1991 as
chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
and he has long been criticized rightly
criticized for his treatment of Anita
Hill and for suppressing the testimony
of other women who wanted to come
forward with their own allegations of
harassment against it soon to be Justice
they were other women Biden has since
expressed regret over his handling of
that case but in the end Thomas who
denied the allegations was narrowly
confirmed in a way setting the stage for
Brett Kavanaugh who nearly 30 years
later was also confirmed despite
allegations of sexual misconduct that
critics say were also not fully
but I digress the point is there is a
valid argument that people like Thomas
and Kavanaugh are illegitimate justices
to begin with given the serious claims
against them that were never fully
scrutinized or investigated I know
conservatives don't want to hear this
and get mad whenever it's raised but the
truth is impeachment would correct the
original sin of Thomas's 1991
now I know what you're thinking
Democrats don't control the house and
don't have enough votes in the Senate to
impeach or convict Clarence Thomas I
know but that doesn't mean the
impeachment can't be on the table it's
one tool that the constitution gives the
legislature to keep a Judiciary full of
Lifetime appointees in check
I mean why can't Democrats run on
impeaching him in 2024 it's what the
Republicans would do if the situation
was reversed and the case against Thomas
is clear he's accused of violating the
law with his undisclosed gifts from his
billionaire pal he's a threat to
democracy because of his wife's behavior
and his refusal to recuse and he's
morally unfit to sit on our Supreme
Court given the Anita Hill allegations
I mean Abe Fortis quit for much less
but if Thomas won't resign and he's not
going to then what will Democrats do
what will his fellow justices do because
calls for investigations that go nowhere
are not enough and without
accountability Thomas remains
Untouchable thumbing his nose at the
rest of us from his lifetime position on
the highest court in the land
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Fri Apr 14, 2023 1:45 am

Justice Thomas: SCOTUS ‘should reconsider’ contraception, same-sex marriage rulings: Democrats warned that the court would seek to undo other constitutional rights if it overturned Roe v. Wade, as it did on Friday.
by Quint Forgey and Josh Gerstein
06/24/2022 11:24 AM EDT
Updated: 06/24/2022 01:45 PM EDT ... s-00042256

Abortion rights advocate Sadie Kuhns holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the court announced its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. | Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO

Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion released on Friday that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

The sweeping suggestion from the current court’s longest-serving justice came in the concurring opinion he authored in response to the court’s ruling revoking the constitutional right to abortion, also released on Friday.

In his concurring opinion, Thomas — an appointee of President George H.W. Bush — wrote that the justices “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell” — referring to three cases having to do with Americans’ fundamental privacy, due process and equal protection rights.

Since May, when POLITICO published an initial draft majority opinion of the court’s decision on Friday to strike down Roe v. Wade, Democratic politicians have repeatedly warned that such a ruling would lead to the reversal of other landmark privacy-related cases.

“If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights,” President Joe Biden said of the draft opinion at the time. “And the idea [that] we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions, would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done.”

The court’s liberal wing — Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — echoed those concerns in a dissenting opinion released on Friday, writing that “no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work.”

The constitutional right to abortion “does not stand alone,” the three justices wrote. “To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation.”

The court’s past rulings in Roe, Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, Obergefell v. Hodges and other cases “are all part of the same constitutional fabric,” the three justices continued, “protecting autonomous decisionmaking over the most personal of life decisions.”

The court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, repeatedly insists that the justices’ decision to abandon Roe poses no threat to other precedents.

“Our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Alito wrote. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

However, the court’s liberal wing argued that assurance was unsatisfactory, given Thomas’ simultaneous invitation on Friday to open up numerous other precedents for review.

“The first problem with the majority’s account comes from [Thomas’] concurrence — which makes clear he is not with the program,” Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan wrote, adding: “At least one Justice is planning to use the ticket of today’s decision again and again and again.”

Still, no other justice joined Thomas’ concurring opinion, which largely reiterated his long-stated views on the legal theories behind many of those decisions.

Furthermore, it appears doubtful that many of Thomas’ conservative colleagues would be eager to revisit issues like contraception and same-sex marriage anytime soon, considering the claims in Alito’s majority opinion that the court’s ruling on Friday casts no doubt on those decisions.

Still, by declining to explicitly repudiate Thomas’ stance, his conservative colleagues provided fodder to the court’s liberal members and left-leaning critics to warn that more overrulings of precedent are on the way.

Of those in the majority on Friday, Justice Brett Kavanaugh came closest to rejecting Thomas’ position, although without mentioning him by name. In a solo concurring opinion, Kavanaugh wrote: “Overruling Roe does not mean the overruling of those precedents, and does not threaten or cast doubt on those precedents.”

Speaking from the White House shortly after the decision was released, Biden directly invoked Thomas’ concurring opinion and reasserted that the ruling “risks the broader right to privacy for everyone.”

“Roe recognized the fundamental right to privacy that has served as a basis for so many more rights that we’ve come to take for granted, that are ingrained in the fabric of this country,” Biden said. “The right to make the best decisions for your health. The right to use birth control. A married couple in the privacy of their bedroom, for God’s sake. The right to marry the person you love.”

With his concurring opinion, Thomas “explicitly called to reconsider the right of marriage equality [and] the right of couples to make their choices on contraception,” Biden continued. “This [is an] extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on.”
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Fri Apr 14, 2023 1:47 am

Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?: Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court.
by Jane Mayer
The New Yorker
January 21, 2022

In December, Chief Justice John Roberts released his year-end report on the federal judiciary. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has its lowest public-approval rating in history—in part because it is viewed as being overly politicized. President Joe Biden recently established a bipartisan commission to consider reforms to the Court, and members of Congress have introduced legislation that would require Justices to adhere to the same types of ethics standards as other judges. Roberts’s report, however, defiantly warned everyone to back off. “The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence,” he wrote. His statement followed a series of defensive speeches from members of the Court’s conservative wing, which now holds a super-majority of 6–3. Last fall, Justice Clarence Thomas, in an address at Notre Dame, accused the media of spreading the false notion that the Justices are merely politicians in robes. Such criticism, he said, “makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference,” adding, “They think you become like a politician!”

The claim that the Justices’ opinions are politically neutral is becoming increasingly hard to accept, especially from Thomas, whose wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, is a vocal right-wing activist. She has declared that America is in existential danger because of the “deep state” and the “fascist left,” which includes “transsexual fascists.” Thomas, a lawyer who runs a small political-lobbying firm, Liberty Consulting, has become a prominent member of various hard-line groups. Her political activism has caused controversy for years. For the most part, it has been dismissed as the harmless action of an independent spouse. But now the Court appears likely to secure victories for her allies in a number of highly polarizing cases—on abortion, affirmative action, and gun rights.

Many Americans first became aware of Ginni Thomas’s activism on January 6, 2021. That morning, before the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, D.C., turned into an assault on the Capitol resulting in the deaths of at least five people, she cheered on the supporters of President Donald Trump who had gathered to overturn Biden’s election. In a Facebook post that went viral, she linked to a news item about the protest, writing, “love maga people!!!!” Shortly afterward, she posted about Ronald Reagan’s famous “A Time for Choosing” speech. Her next status update said, “god bless each of you standing up or praying.” Two days after the insurrection, she added a disclaimer to her feed, noting that she’d written the posts “before violence in US Capitol.” (The posts are no longer public.)

Later that January, the Washington Post revealed that she had also been agitating about Trump’s loss on a private Listserv, Thomas Clerk World, which includes former law clerks of Justice Thomas’s. The online discussion had been contentious. John Eastman, a former Thomas clerk and a key instigator of the lie that Trump actually won in 2020, was on the same side as Ginni Thomas, and he drew rebukes. According to the Post, Thomas eventually apologized to the group for causing internal rancor. Artemus Ward, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University and a co-author of “Sorcerers’ Apprentices,” a history of Supreme Court clerks, believes that the incident confirmed her outsized role. “Virginia Thomas has direct access to Thomas’s clerks,” Ward said. Clarence Thomas is now the Court’s senior member, having served for thirty years, and Ward estimates that there are “something like a hundred and twenty people on that Listserv.” In Ward’s view, they comprise “an élite right-wing commando movement.” Justice Thomas, he says, doesn’t post on the Listserv, but his wife “is advocating for things directly.” Ward added, “It’s unprecedented. I have never seen a Justice’s wife as involved.”

Clarence and Ginni Thomas declined to be interviewed for this article. In recent years, Justice Thomas, long one of the Court’s most reticent members, has been speaking up more in oral arguments. His wife, meanwhile, has become less publicly visible, but she has remained busy, aligning herself with many activists who have brought issues in front of the Court. She has been one of the directors of C.N.P. Action, a dark-money wing of the conservative pressure group the Council for National Policy. C.N.P. Action, behind closed doors, connects wealthy donors with some of the most radical right-wing figures in America. Ginni Thomas has also been on the advisory board of Turning Point USA, a pro-Trump student group, whose founder, Charlie Kirk, boasted of sending busloads of protesters to Washington on January 6th.

Stephen Gillers, a law professor at N.Y.U. and a prominent judicial ethicist, told me, “I think Ginni Thomas is behaving horribly, and she’s hurt the Supreme Court and the administration of justice. It’s reprehensible. If you could take a secret poll of the other eight Justices, I have no doubt that they are appalled by Virginia Thomas’s behavior. But what can they do?” Gillers thinks that the Supreme Court should be bound by a code of conduct, just as all lower-court judges in the federal system are. That code requires a judge to recuse himself from hearing any case in which personal entanglements could lead a fair-minded member of the public to question his impartiality. Gillers stressed that “it’s an appearance test,” adding, “It doesn’t require an actual conflict. The reason we use an appearance test is because we say the appearance of justice is as important as the fact of justice itself.”

The Constitution offers only one remedy for misconduct on the Supreme Court: impeachment. This was attempted once, in 1804, but it resulted in an acquittal, underscoring the independence of the judicial branch. Since then, only one Justice, Abe Fortas, has been forced to step down; he resigned in 1969, after members of Congress threatened to impeach him over alleged financial conflicts of interest. Another Justice, William O. Douglas, an environmental activist, pushed the limits of propriety by serving on the board of the Sierra Club. In 1962, he resigned from the board, acknowledging that there was a chance the group would engage in litigation that could reach the Court. The historian Douglas Brinkley, who is writing a book about the environmental movement, told me, “I think Bobby and Jack Kennedy told Douglas to cool his jets.”

In recent years, Democrats have been trying to impose stronger ethics standards on the Justices—a response, in part, to what Justice Sonia Sotomayor has described as the “stench” of partisanship on the Court. In 2016, Republicans in Congress, in an unprecedented act, refused to let President Barack Obama fill a vacancy on the Court. Trump subsequently pushed through the appointment of three hard-line conservative Justices. Last summer, Democrats in Congress introduced a bill that would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a binding code of conduct for members of the Supreme Court. They also proposed legislation that would require more disclosures about the financial backers behind amicus briefs—arguments submitted by “friends of the court” who are supporting one side in a case.

So far, these proposals haven’t gone anywhere, but Gillers notes that there are extant laws circumscribing the ethical behavior of all federal judges, including the Justices. Arguably, Clarence Thomas has edged unusually close to testing them. All judges, even those on the Court, are required to recuse themselves from any case in which their spouse is “a party to the proceeding” or is “an officer, director, or trustee” of an organization that is a party to a case. Ginni Thomas has not been a named party in any case on the Court’s docket; nor is she litigating in any such case. But she has held leadership positions at conservative pressure groups that have either been involved in cases before the Court or have had members engaged in such cases. In 2019, she announced a political project called Crowdsourcers, and said that one of her four partners would be the founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe. Project Veritas tries to embarrass progressives by making secret videos of them, and last year petitioned the Court to enjoin Massachusetts from enforcing a state law that bans the surreptitious taping of public officials. Another partner in Crowdsourcers, Ginni Thomas said in her announcement, was Cleta Mitchell, the chairman of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative election-law nonprofit. It, too, has had business before the Court, filing amicus briefs in cases centering on the democratic process. Thomas also currently serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Scholars, a group promoting conservative values in academia, which has filed an amicus brief before the Court in a potentially groundbreaking affirmative-action lawsuit against Harvard. And, though nobody knew it at the time, Ginni Thomas was an undisclosed paid consultant at the conservative pressure group the Center for Security Policy, when its founder, Frank Gaffney, submitted an amicus brief to the Court supporting Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham specializing in legal ethics, notes, “In the twenty-first century, there’s a feeling that spouses are not joined at the hip.” He concedes, though, that “the appearance” created by Ginni Thomas’s political pursuits “is awful—they look like a mom-and-pop political-hack group, where she does the political stuff and he does the judging.” It’s hard to imagine, he told me, that the couple doesn’t discuss Court cases: “She’s got the ear of a Justice, and surely they talk about their work.” But, from the technical standpoint of judicial ethics, “she’s slightly removed from all these cases—she’s not actually the legal director.” Green feels that the conflict of interest is “close, but not close enough” to require that Thomas recuse himself.

David Luban, a professor of law and philosophy at Georgetown, who specializes in legal ethics, is more concerned. He told me, “If Ginni Thomas is intimately involved—financially or ideologically tied to the litigant—that strikes me as slicing the baloney a little thin.”

When Clarence Thomas met Ginni Lamp, in 1986, he was an ambitious Black conservative in charge of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—and she was even more conservative and better connected than he was. Her father ran a firm that developed housing in and around Omaha, and her parents were Party activists who had formed the backbone of Barry Goldwater’s campaign in Nebraska. The writer Kurt Andersen, who grew up across the street from the family, recalls, “Her parents were the roots of the modern, crazy Republican Party. My parents were Goldwater Republicans, but even they thought the Lamp family was nuts.” Ginni graduated from Creighton University, in Omaha, and then attended law school there. Her parents helped get her a job with a local Republican candidate for Congress, and when he won she followed him to Washington. But, after reportedly flunking the bar exam, she fell in with a cultish self-help group, Lifespring, whose members were encouraged to strip naked and mock one another’s body fat. She eventually broke away, and began working for the Chamber of Commerce, opposing “comparable worth” pay for women. She and Thomas began dating, and in 1987 they married. As a woman clashing with the women’s movement, she had found much in common with Thomas, who opposed causes supported by many Black Americans. At Thomas’s extraordinarily contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings, in 1991, Anita Hill credibly accused him of having sexually harassed her when she was working at the E.E.O.C. Ginni Thomas later likened the experience to being stuck inside a scalding furnace. Even before then, a friend told the Washington Post, the couple was so bonded that “the one person [Clarence] really listens to is Virginia.”

Ginni Thomas had wanted to run for Congress, but once her husband was on the Supreme Court she reportedly felt professionally stuck. She moved through various jobs, including one at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. In 2010, she launched her lobbying firm, Liberty Consulting. Her Web site quotes a client saying that she is able to “give access to any door in Washington.”

Four years ago, Ginni Thomas inaugurated the Impact Awards—an annual ceremony to honor “courageous cultural warriors” battling the “radical ideologues on the left” who use “manipulation, mobs and deceit for their ends.” She presented the awards at luncheons paid for by United in Purpose, a nonprofit that mobilizes conservative evangelical voters. Many of the recipients have served on boards or committees with Ginni Thomas, and quite a few have had business in front of the Supreme Court, either filing amicus briefs or submitting petitions asking that the Justices hear cases. At the 2019 event, Ginni Thomas praised one of that year’s recipients, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who became an anti-abortion activist, for her “riveting indictment of Planned Parenthood’s propagation of lies.” That year, Thomas also gave a prize to Mark Meadows, then a hard-line Republican in Congress, describing him as the leader “in the House right now that we were waiting for.” Meadows, in accepting the award, said, “Ginni was talking about how we ‘team up,’ and we actually have teamed up. And I’m going to give you something you won’t hear anywhere else—we worked through the first five days of the impeachment hearings.”

Thomas’s decision to bestow prizes on Johnson and Meadows underscores the complicated overlaps between her work and her husband’s. In 2020, Johnson, a year after receiving an Impact Award, filed with the Court an amicus brief supporting restrictions on abortion in Louisiana. Last year, Johnson participated in the January 6th protests, and the insurrection has since become the object of much litigation, some of which will likely end up before the Court. Last month, she went on Fox News and said that “a couple of the liberal Justices”—she singled out Justice Sotomayor by name—had been “idiotic” during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Mississippi abortion case now under consideration by the Supreme Court. (Johnson didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Soon after Ginni Thomas gave Mark Meadows an Impact Award, he became Trump’s chief of staff. This past December, he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee that is investigating the Capitol attack. Cleta Mitchell, who advised Trump on how to contest Biden’s electoral victory, received an Impact Award in 2018. She has moved to block a committee subpoena of her phone records. The House of Representatives recently voted to send the Justice Department a referral recommending that it charge Meadows with criminal contempt of Congress. The same thing may well happen to Mitchell. It seems increasingly likely that some of Ginni Thomas’s Impact Award recipients will end up as parties before the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department has so far charged more than seven hundred people in connection with the insurrection, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the federal government will prosecute people “at any level” who may have instigated the riots—perhaps even Trump. On January 19th, the Supreme Court rejected the former President’s request that it intervene to stop the congressional committee from accessing his records. Justice Thomas was the lone Justice to dissent. (Meadows had filed an amicus brief in support of Trump.) Ginni Thomas, meanwhile, has denounced the very legitimacy of the congressional committee. On December 15th, she and sixty-two other prominent conservatives signed an open letter to Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, demanding that the House Republican Conference excommunicate Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their “egregious” willingness to serve on the committee. The statement was issued by an advocacy group called the Conservative Action Project, of which Ginni Thomas has described herself as an “active” member. The group’s statement excoriated the congressional investigation as a “partisan political persecution” of “private citizens who have done nothing wrong,” and accused the committee of serving “improperly issued subpoenas.”

A current member of the Conservative Action Project told me that Ginni Thomas is part of the group not because of her qualifications but “because she’s married to Clarence.” The member asked to have his name withheld because, he said, Ginni is “volatile” and becomes “edgy” when challenged. He added, “The best word to describe her is ‘tribal.’ You’re either part of her group or you’re the enemy.”

Ginni Thomas has her own links to the January 6th insurrection. Her Web site, which touts her consulting acumen, features a glowing testimonial from Kimberly Fletcher, the president of a group called Moms for America: “Ginni’s ability to make connections and communicate with folks on the ground as well as on Capitol Hill is most impressive.” Fletcher spoke at two protests in Washington on January 5, 2021, promoting the falsehood that the 2020 election was fraudulent. At the first, which she planned, Fletcher praised the previous speaker, Representative Mary Miller, a freshman Republican from Illinois, saying, “Amen!” Other people who heard Miller’s speech called for her resignation: she’d declared, “Hitler was right on one thing—he said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’ ” At the second protest, not far from the Trump International Hotel, Fletcher declared that, when her children and grandchildren one day asked her, “Where were you when the Republic was on the verge of collapse?,” she would answer, “I was right here, fighting to my last breath to save it!”

Vivian Brown, who returned a call to Moms for America, said that she would not discuss Fletcher’s testimonial for Ginni Thomas or clarify whether Fletcher had been Thomas’s business client. But the record suggests that the two have been political associates for more than a decade. A program from Liberty xpo & Symposium, a 2010 convention that has been described as the “largest conservative training event in history,” indicates that Fletcher and Thomas co-hosted a Remember the Ladies Banquet. A list of other speakers at the symposium includes Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, an extremist militia group. Rhodes was arrested earlier this month and charged, along with ten associates, with seditious conspiracy for allegedly plotting to halt the congressional certification of Biden’s electoral win by storming the Capitol.
(Rhodes has pleaded not guilty.)

Another organizer of the January 6th uprising who has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee, Ali Alexander, also has long-standing ties to Ginni Thomas. Like Fletcher, Alexander spoke at a rally in Washington the night before the riot, leading a chant of “Victory or death!” A decade ago, Alexander was a participant in Groundswell, a secretive, invitation-only network that, among other things, coördinated with hard-right congressional aides, journalists, and pressure groups to launch attacks against Obama and against less conservative Republicans. As recently as 2019, Ginni Thomas described herself as the chairman of Groundswell, which, according to documents first published by Mother Jones, sees itself as waging “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation.” As Karoli Kuns, of the media watchdog Crooks and Liars, has noted, several Groundswell members—including Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, the fringe foreign-policy analyst—went on to form the far-right flank of the Trump Administration. (Both Bannon and Gorka were eventually pushed out.) According to Ginni Thomas’s biography in the Council for National Policy’s membership book, she remains active in Groundswell. A former participant told me that Thomas chairs weekly meetings.

Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who, between 2009 and 2011, served as the special counsel and special assistant to the President for ethics and government reform, told me that “it is hard to understand how Justice Thomas can be impartial when hearing cases related to the upheaval on January 6th, in light of his wife’s documented affiliation with January 6th instigators and Stop the Steal organizers.” He argues that “Justice Thomas should recuse himself, given his wife’s interests in the outcome of these cases.”

Gillers, of N.Y.U., and other legal scholars say that there is little chance of such a recusal. Justice Thomas has recused himself at least once before, from a 1996 case involving a military academy that his son was attending. But, as Eisen observed, though Ginni Thomas’s activism has attracted criticism for years, Clarence Thomas has never acknowledged it as a conflict of interest.

Recusals on the Supreme Court are extremely rare, in part because substitutes are not permitted, as they are for judges on lower courts. Yet several other Justices have stepped aside from cases to avoid even the appearance of misconduct. Justice Stephen Breyer recuses himself from any case that has been heard by his brother, Charles Breyer, a federal judge in the Northern District of California. “It’s about the appearance of impropriety,” Charles Breyer told me. “Laypeople would think you would favor your brother over the merits of the case. It’s [done] to make people believe that the Supreme Court is not influenced by relationships.” Justice Breyer also recused himself from a case involving the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, because his wife had previously worked there.

Charles Breyer told me that, although Justices sometimes “might have a right not to recuse, that doesn’t change the question, which is: How does that affect the appearance of impropriety?” When I asked him whether the Justices confront one another about potential conflicts of interest, he said, “My guess is that they don’t discuss it. They leave it entirely up to the independent judgment. They wouldn’t dare suggest recusal—it’s part of the way they get along with one another.”

In 2021, Justice Brett Kavanaugh recused himself, without explanation, from a case apparently related to a family member. According to Gabe Roth, the executive director of Fix the Court, a nonprofit advocating for reforms to the federal judiciary, an amicus brief had been filed by a cosmetics trade association that Kavanaugh’s father used to run.

The spouses of other Justices have taken steps to avoid creating conflicts of interest in the first place. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, her husband, Martin Ginsburg—then one of the country’s most successful tax lawyers—left his law firm and turned to teaching. After John Roberts was nominated to be a Justice, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, retired from practicing law and resigned from a leadership role in Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion group.

In 2004, Justice Antonin Scalia famously defended his decision to continue presiding over a case that involved former Vice-President Dick Cheney after it was revealed that the two men had gone duck hunting together while the case was in the Court’s docket. Scalia argued, in essence, that Washington is a small town where important people tend to socialize. But in 2003 Scalia recused himself in a case addressing whether the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the Constitution’s separation of church and state—because, several months before oral arguments began, he’d given a speech belittling the litigant’s arguments.

Ginni Thomas has complained that she and her husband have received more criticism than have two well-known liberal jurists with politically active spouses: Marjorie O. Rendell continued to serve on the appeals court in Pennsylvania while her husband at the time, Ed Rendell, served as the state’s governor; Stephen Reinhardt, an appeals-court judge in California, declined to recuse himself from cases in which the American Civil Liberties Union was involved, even though his wife, Ramona Ripston, led a branch of the group in Southern California.

Ethics standards may be changing, however. Cornelia T. L. Pillard, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, currently handles a spousal conflict of interest more rigorously. She is married to David Cole, the national legal director for the A.C.L.U., and recuses herself from any case in which the A.C.L.U. has been involved, whether at a national or local level—and regardless of whether her husband worked on the case.

Roth, of Fix the Court, told me that there is an evident need “for a clearer and more exacting recusal standard at the Supreme Court—especially now, as it’s constantly being thrust into partisan battles, and as the public’s faith in its impartiality is waning.”

Traditionally, judges have not been particularly fastidious about potential conflicts of interest connected to amicus briefs. But that standard may be changing, too. As the number of partisan political issues facing the judicial branch has grown, so has the number of these briefs. Many of them are being filed by opaquely funded dark-money groups, whose true financial sponsors are concealed, thus enabling invisible thumbs to press on the scales of justice. Paul Collins, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who has studied the use of amicus briefs, told me, “There’s been an almost linear increase in the number of them since the World War Two era. Now it’s the rare case that doesn’t have one.” The reason, he said, is that, “more and more, the courts are seen as a venue for social change.” He explained that political groups, many with secret donors, are “using the courts the way they used to use Congress—basically, amicus briefs are a means of lobbying.”

The problem has become so widespread that in 2018 the rules for appellate-court judges were amended to make it possible for judges to strike any amicus brief that might force them to recuse themselves. There has been no such reckoning at the Supreme Court—not even when close political associates of Ginni Thomas’s have filed amicus briefs. One such associate is Frank Gaffney, a defense hawk best known for having made feverish claims suggesting that Obama is a Muslim and that Saddam Hussein’s regime was involved in the Oklahoma City bombings. Leaked documents show that Gaffney was a colleague of Ginni Thomas’s at Groundswell as far back as 2013. Gaffney was a proponent of Trump’s reactionary immigration policies, including, most vociferously, of the Administration’s Muslim travel ban. As these restrictions were hit by lawsuits, Gaffney’s nonprofit, the Center for Security Policy, signed the first of two big contracts with Liberty Consulting. According to documents that Gaffney’s group filed with the I.R.S., in 2017 and 2018 it paid Ginni Thomas a total of more than two hundred thousand dollars.

It’s not entirely clear where Gaffney’s nonprofit got the funds to hire Liberty Consulting. (Gaffney didn’t respond to interview requests.) But, according to David Armiak—the research director at the Center for Media and Democracy, which tracks nonprofit political spending—one of the biggest donors to Gaffney’s group in 2017 was a pro-Trump political organization, Making America Great, whose chairman, the heiress Rebekah Mercer, was among Trump’s biggest backers. While two hundred thousand dollars was being passed from Trump backers to Gaffney to Ginni Thomas, the Supreme Court agreed to hear legal challenges to Trump’s travel restrictions. In August, 2017, Gaffney and six other advocates submitted an amicus brief to the Court in support of the restrictions, arguing that “the challenge of Islam must be confronted.”

That December, as the case was still playing out, Ginni Thomas bestowed one of her Impact Awards on Gaffney, introducing him “as an encourager to me and a great friend” but giving no hint that his group was paying her firm. The Impact ceremony was held at the Trump International Hotel, and, according to another guest, Jerry Johnson, Justice Thomas was in attendance. Johnson later recalled that the Justice sat in front of him and was a “happy warrior,” pleased to be watching his wife “running the meeting.” Throughout the 2017 and 2018 sessions, as various challenges to the travel restrictions were considered by the Court, Justice Thomas consistently took a hard pro-Trump line. Finally, in June, 2018, Thomas and four other Justices narrowly upheld the final version of the restrictions.

It’s impossible to know whether Thomas was influenced by his wife’s lucrative contract with Gaffney, by Gaffney’s amicus brief, or by her celebration of Gaffney at the awards ceremony. Given the Justice’s voting history, it’s reasonable to surmise that he would have supported the travel restrictions no matter what. Nevertheless, the lawyers on the losing side of the case surely would have wanted to know about Ginni Thomas’s financial contract with Gaffney. Judges, in their annual financial disclosures, are required to report the source of their spouses’ incomes. But Justice Thomas, in his disclosures in 2017 and 2018, failed to mention the payments from Gaffney’s group. Instead, he put down a curiously low book value for his wife’s lobbying firm, claiming in both years that her company was worth only between fifteen and fifty thousand dollars.

Roth, of Fix the Court, told me that, at the very least, Justice Thomas should be asked to amend his financial statements from those years—as he did in 2011, after it became public that he hadn’t disclosed the six hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars that his wife had earned at the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007.
Beyond that, Roth said, “the Justices should, as a rule, disqualify themselves from cases in which a family member or the family member’s employer has filed an amicus brief.” In Congress, the Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, is pushing for reform. Amicus briefs, he told me, are “a form of lobbying that has two terrible aspects—the interests behind them are hidden, and they are astonishingly effective in terms of the win rate.” He added, “They open up real avenues for secret mischief.”

In January, 2019, Ginni Thomas secured for Gaffney the access that her Web site promises. As Maggie Haberman, of the Times, and Jonathan Swan, of Axios, have reported, not long after Clarence and Ginni Thomas had a private dinner at the White House with Donald and Melania Trump, the President’s staff gave in to a months-long campaign by Ginni to bring her, Gaffney, and several other associates to the White House to press the President on policy and personnel issues. The White House was not informed that Gaffney’s group had been paying Liberty Consulting for the previous two years. (Gaffney’s group did not report signing a contract with Liberty Consulting for 2019.)

The White House meeting was held in the Roosevelt Room, and by all accounts it was uncomfortable. Thomas opened by saying that she didn’t trust everyone in the room, then pressed Trump to purge his Administration of disloyal members of the “deep state,” handing him an enemies list that she and Groundswell had compiled. Some of the participants prayed, warning that gay marriage, which the Supreme Court legalized in 2015, was undermining morals in America.

One participant told me he’d heard that Trump had wanted to humor Ginni Thomas because he was hoping to talk her husband into retiring, thus opening up another Court seat. Trump, given his manifold legal problems, also saw Justice Thomas as a potentially important ally—and genuinely liked him. But the participant told me that the President considered Ginni Thomas “a wacko,” adding, “She never would have been there if not for Clarence. She had access because her last name was Thomas.”

Ginni Thomas rarely speaks to mainstream reporters, but she often gives speeches in private forums. The Web site of the watchdog Documented has posted a video of her speaking with striking candor. In October, 2018, she led a panel discussion during a confidential session of the Council for National Policy. At the time, the Senate was caught up in the fight over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault. “I’m feeling the pain—Clarence is feeling the pain—of going through false charges against a good man,” she said. “I thought it couldn’t get worse than Clarence’s, but it did.” America, she said, “is in a vicious battle for its founding principles,” adding, “The deep state is serious, and it’s resisting President Trump.” She declared twice that her adversaries were trying “to kill people,” and drew applause by saying, “May we all have guns and concealed carry to handle what’s coming!”

This warlike mentality is shared by Groundswell, the political group that Thomas has chaired. In a 2020 session of the Council for National Policy, Rachel Bovard, the senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, described meeting weekly with Groundswell members to “vet” officials for disloyalty, saying, “Ginni has been very instrumental in working with the White House. . . . She really is the tip of the spear in these efforts.” Bovard lamented Groundswell’s failure to weed out the whistle-blower Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman before he gave testimony at Trump’s first impeachment trial. “We see what happens when we don’t vet these people,” Bovard said. “That’s how we got Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, O.K.?” Vindman, then the director for European affairs on Trump’s National Security Council, testified that the President had tried to pressure Ukraine’s leaders into producing dirt on Joe Biden’s family. In retaliation, a smear campaign was mounted against Vindman. He suddenly found himself fending off false claims that he had created a hostile work environment at the N.S.C., and fighting insinuations that, because he was born in Ukraine and had been invited to serve in its government, he had “dual loyalty.” (Vindman had self-reported Ukraine’s offer, which he had rejected.) The Defense Department conducted an internal investigation of the accusations and exonerated him. But, Vindman told me, the attacks “harmed my career.” He went on, “It’s un-American, frankly, that a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court, who is supposed to be apolitical, would have a wife who is part of a political vendetta to retaliate against officials who were dutifully serving the public interest. It’s chilling, and probably has already had an effect on silencing other whistle-blowers.”

Another target of Groundswell members was Trump’s former national-security adviser H. R. McMaster, who was deemed insufficiently supportive of the President. According to the Times, in 2018 Barbara Ledeen, a Republican Senate aide who had reportedly developed Groundswell’s enemies list with Ginni Thomas, participated in a plot to oust McMaster by secretly taping him bad-mouthing Trump. Ledeen, who is a close friend of Ginni Thomas’s, told the Times that she’d merely acted as a messenger in the scheme. The plan was to send an undercover female operative to snare McMaster at a fancy restaurant. But McMaster quit before the sting was executed. The Times also reported that another undercover operation—which targeted government employees, including F.B.I. agents, suspected of trying to thwart Trump’s agenda—involved operatives from Project Veritas, the undercover-video group led by James O’Keefe. Ginni Thomas has given O’Keefe an Impact Award, too.

It’s unclear whether the Crowdsourcers project that Thomas said she was launching with O’Keefe’s help ever got off the ground. There’s little public trace of Crowdsourcers, other than a tax filing from 2019, showing that it was developed under the oversight of the Capital Research Center, a right-wing nonprofit that does opposition research. Project Veritas’s chief legal officer sent The New Yorker a statement saying that O’Keefe’s “schedule does not permit such extracurricular activities” as Crowdsourcers. But, in a PowerPoint presentation on the effort, in 2019, Thomas said that “James O’Keefe wanted to head up” a part of the group aimed at “protecting our heroes.” The purpose of Crowdsourcers, she said, was nothing less than saving America. “Our house is on fire!” she went on. “And we are stomping ants in the driveway. We’re not really focussed on the arsonists who are right around us!”

Last year, Project Veritas asked the Supreme Court to hear its challenge to the Massachusetts ban on surreptitiously taping public officials. The Court turned down Project Veritas’s petition, as it does with most such requests. Nevertheless, David Dinielli, a visiting clinical lecturer at Yale Law School, told me that Ginni Thomas’s proclaimed political partnership with O’Keefe, and her awarding of a prize to him, appeared to be unethical. “That’s what the code of conduct is supposed to control,” he said.

Ginni Thomas has held so many leadership or advisory positions at conservative pressure groups that it’s hard to keep track of them. And many, if not all, of these groups have been involved in cases that have come before her husband. Her Web site lists the National Association of Scholars—the group that has filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit against Harvard—among her “endorsed charities.” The group’s brief claims that the affirmative-action policies used by the Harvard admissions department are discriminatory. Though the plaintiffs have already lost in two lower courts, they are counting on the Supreme Court’s new conservative super-majority to side with them, even though doing so would reverse decades of precedent. Peter Wood, the president of the N.A.S., is another Impact Award recipient. So, too, is Robert George, a legal scholar at Princeton who, according to the N.A.S.’s Web site, serves with Ginni Thomas on its advisory board. (He says that he has “not been active” on the board.) He received a “Lifetime” Impact Award from Ginni Thomas in 2019, and recently filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court, in support of Mississippi’s ban on nearly all abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy.

In April, 2020, when Ginni Thomas was serving as one of eight members on the C.N.P. Action board, it was chaired by Kelly Shackelford, the president and C.E.O. of First Liberty, a faith-based litigation group that is currently involved in several major cases before the Court. Last week, to the surprise of many observers, the Court agreed to hear a case in which First Liberty is defending a football coach at a public high school in Washington State who was fired for kneeling and praying on the fifty-yard line immediately after games. Richard Katskee, the legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who is defending the school board, told me that the case was “huge,” and could overturn fifty years of settled law. Shackelford’s group is also the co-initiator of another case before the Court: a challenge to a Maine law prohibiting the state from using public funds to pay parochial-school tuition for students living in areas far from public schools. In addition to these cases, First Liberty has filed lawsuits that challenge covid-19 restrictions on religious grounds—an issue that has come before the Court—and Ginni Thomas and Shackelford have served together on the steering committee of the Save Our Country Coalition, which has called covid-19 health mandates “unconstitutional power grabs.” In a phone interview, Shackelford told me that he couldn’t see why Ginni Thomas’s work with him posed a conflict of interest for Justice Thomas. “It’s no big deal, if you look at the law on this,” he said. It would be different, he argued, if there were a financial interest involved, or if she were arguing First Liberty’s cases before the Court herself—but, he said, “almost everyone in America is connected through six degrees of separation.”

Another of Ginni Thomas’s fellow-directors on the C.N.P. Action board in 2020 was J. Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state who is tied to one of the most consequential gun cases currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. In 2020, he was on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, and at the time the gun group’s official affiliate in New York was challenging the state’s restrictions on carrying firearms in public spaces. Earlier this term, the Court heard a related challenge, and a decision is expected later this year. (Blackwell didn’t respond to an interview request.) Meanwhile, the Web site currently boasts that a winner of its youth competition had the opportunity to meet with “the wife of current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.”

For lawyers involved in cases before the Supreme Court, it can be deeply disturbing to know that Ginni Thomas is an additional opponent. In 2019, David Dinielli, the visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, was a deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which had submitted an amicus brief in a gay-rights case before the Court. He told me he was acutely aware that Ginni Thomas and other members of the Council for National Policy loathed the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks right-wing hate groups. In 2017, C.N.P. Action directed its members to “commit to issuing one new post on Facebook and Twitter each week about the Southern Poverty Law Center to discredit them.” In Thomas’s leaked 2018 speech to the Council for National Policy, she denounced the S.P.L.C. for calling the Family Research Council—which is militantly opposed to L.G.B.T.Q. rights—a hate group.

For Dinielli, the idea that a Justice’s spouse belonged to a group that had urged its members to repeatedly attack his organization was “counter to everything you’d expect if you want to get a fair shake” before the Court. He explained, “These activities aren’t just political. They’re aimed at raising up or denigrating actors specifically in front of the Supreme Court. She’s one step away from holding up a sign in front of her husband saying ‘This person is a pedophile.’ ”

Dinielli went on, “The Justices sit literally above where the lawyers are. For these people to do the job they were tasked with, they have to maintain that level. But this degrades it, mocks it, and threatens it.” He warned, “Since the Court doesn’t have an army, it relies on how it behaves to command respect. Once the veneer cracks, it’s very hard to get it back.”

Published in the print edition of the January 31, 2022, issue, with the headline “Ginni Thomas’s Crusades.”
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Fri Apr 14, 2023 1:51 am

Clarence Thomas Sole Dissenter as SCOTUS Allows Trump's Docs to Be Seen by 1/6 Committee
by Justin Klawans
1/19/22 AT 6:41 PM EST

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday paved the way for the presidential records of former President Donald Trump to be transferred to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

This all but ends a bid by Trump to keep his administration's documents out of Congress' hands.

The court handed down an 8-1 majority decision, with Justice Clarence Thomas—often considered among the most conservative members of the court—the lone dissenting vote.

With their decision, the court agreed with a prior ruling that the former president was unable to exert executive privilege, blocking an appeal by Trump's lawyers that would have prevented the documents from being released.

This ruling all but puts a bookend on Trump's appeal, which had been ongoing in an effort to prevent the U.S. National Archives from turning over his records. The former president's use of executive privilege was denied by President Joe Biden, and Trump then sued to prevent the documents from being released.

The first to deny Trump's motion was a federal District Court. The former president then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which also struck down the assertion of executive privilege, causing Trump to further appeal to the highest court.

However, by blocking Trump's appeal, the final ruling of the appeals court will now stand as the final word on the matter.

A statement accompanying the majority decision stated that "the questions whether and in what circumstances a former President may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent President to waive the privilege, are unprecedented and raise serious and substantial concerns."

"Because the Court of Appeals concluded that President Trump's claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former President necessarily made no difference to the court's decision."

A dissenting opinion was not published by Justice Thomas.

Trump's lawyers had previously argued that "Congress may not rifle through the confidential, presidential papers of a former president to meet political objectives or advance a case study."

"These sweeping requests are indicative of the committee's broad investigation of a political foe, divorced from any of Congress's legislative functions," his lawyers continued.

However, the Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling in a 3-0 majority opinion against the former president in December.

Judge Patricia A. Millett, writing the majority opinion, stated that "former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden's judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents."

"Both Branches agree that there is a unique legislative need for these documents and that they are directly relevant to the Committee's inquiry into an attack on the Legislative Branch and its constitutional role in the peaceful transfer of power," Millett continued.

That opinion listed a number of legal standings for Trump's appeal to be denied, among them: The fact that President Biden's administration concluded executive privilege was not in the interest of the country, and that Congress had a "uniquely vital interest" in going through the documents.

As a result of the Supreme Court's order to uphold the Court of Appeals' decision, there appear to be no further roadblocks for the January 6 Committee to receive Trump's records. Approximately 700 documents related to the events of January 6 will be turned over to the committee for review.

These documents are reportedly related to the Trump administration's actions leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, as well as potentially the efforts of Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Included within these 700 pages are reportedly schedules for the president and his top officials, as well as notes and activity logs. Three handwritten pages of notes from Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, are said to be among the contents.

In a statement following the ruling, the January 6 Committee called the Supreme Court's decision "a victory for the rule of law & American democracy."

"The Select Committee has already begun to receive records that the former President had hoped to keep hidden & we look forward to additional productions regarding this important information," the statement continued.

Newsweek has reached out to former President Trump's team for comment.

Update (1/19/2022, 9:30 p.m. ET): This story has been updated with additional information and a new headline reflecting that Justice Thomas was the sole dissenting vote.
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Re: Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler

Postby admin » Fri Apr 14, 2023 1:56 am

The Supreme Court has a Clarence Thomas (and Ginni Thomas) problem:
If anything can awaken Americans from our stupor of exhaustion, it must be the news that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas attended the Jan. 6 populist rally.

by Wayne Batchis
NBC News
March 19, 2022, 3:30 AM MDT / Updated March 25, 2022, 8:36 AM MDT
UPDATE (March 25, 2022, 10:30 a.m. ET): ... cna1292351

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Virginia Thomas arrive for the state dinner at the White House on Sept. 20, 2019.Paul Morigi / Getty Images file

On Thursday, news broke that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot had obtained many text messages between Ginni Thomas and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. In the messages, Thomas urged Meadows to help overturn the 2020 election results and shared election fraud conspiracy theories.

Many Americans have grown increasingly numb from a seemingly endless stream of dispiriting stories highlighting our political leaders’ fading commitment to democracy. However, if anything has the potential to awaken us from our stupor of exhaustion, it must be the recent news that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attended the Jan. 6 populist rally at the Ellipse in Washington, which preceded that day's Capitol riot. Not to diminish voters’ very legitimate concerns about America’s elected officials, but politicians and political movements come and go. Without trust in the courts, American democracy does not stand a chance.

It is rare, if not unheard of, for the spouse of a justice to play such a prominent and active role in partisan politics.

As the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, Thomas and her political activities have long raised eyebrows. Thomas is a conservative activist, with close ties to organizations that support many causes and positions that parallel cases that have appeared, and will continue to appear, before the court. It is rare, if not unheard of, for the spouse of a justice to play such a prominent and active role in partisan politics, if only because this might create the potential appearance of impropriety. A judge, of course, is expected to objectively apply the law, without a preconceived commitment to a particular outcome.

The American people, however, are not fools. While we may hope, and believe, that judges make their best effort to remain fair and impartial, people likely understand that the modern Supreme Court decides many issues that overlap with our most deeply held beliefs — whether it is gun rights or abortion, LGBTQ rights or religious freedom. Jan. 6, however, is entirely different terrain.

It turns out that Thomas not only sat on the board of an organization that promoted the dangerous fiction that the 2020 election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump through fraud, she also attended the rally attempting to vindicate this paranoid propagandistic fantasy (and said she left before Trump took the stage). All the while, in what might resemble the coordinated efforts of synchronized swimmers, husband and wife seemingly sought to thwart the investigation into the democratically perilous events of Jan. 6. Ginni Thomas signed on to a letter seeking the expulsion of Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference for joining the House Jan. 6 investigation committee; Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter — standing in opposition to the rest of the court, including its three Trump appointees — in a decision allowing for the release of Jan. 6-related documents to said committee.

From our earliest days as a nation, politicians have elicited well-deserved eye rolls from the American people. Representative democracy and cynicism go hand in hand. Especially in a country as diverse as our own, elected officials have no choice but to seek favor from a multitude of constituencies. Staying in power means telling us what we want to hear, holding a finger to the political winds and shapeshifting when necessary. The framers of the Constitution understood this all too well. It is why they gave us the gift of Article III.

Article III of the Constitution establishes the federal judiciary. Sure, the imposition of federal judges, with their lifetime appointments and freedom from electoral accountability, might appear shockingly undemocratic. But there is enormous power in such freedom: the power to stand as a bulwark of democracy when the other political branches falter. As we look around the world and see the tragic consequences of autocracy, we want to believe the Supreme Court will be there to defend our democratic values, even in times when “the people” seem to be demanding something very different.

No doubt, we also need to be realistic about the limits of our judiciary. Judges, despite being shielded from the political vulnerabilities that make our elected officials so notoriously slippery, are only human. They naturally will have their own outlooks, biases, political preferences and, yes, family members. This is not news. Justice Antonin Scalia, the longtime conservative judicial icon who died in 2016, would frequently stress how important it was for judges to resist the temptation to impose their own personal preferences on the American people, to in effect become mini-legislators.

While hardly perfect, the Supreme Court’s record of defending democracy, even in the face of countervailing political pressures, has been impressive. Whether it was turning back President Harry Truman’s overreach when he attempted to take over the nation’s steel mills during the Korean War, rejecting President Richard Nixon’s efforts to hide his corruption from the American people or resisting President Bill Clinton’s attempt to delay accountability when he was sued over an allegation of sexual harassment, the court has stood up for democratic values. And while a popular narrative on the left may suggest that those days are over, the court — even with its new Republican appointees — did the very same with Trump. It did not agree that Trump’s financial documents should be shielded from judicial scrutiny, nor did it play along with the former president’s meritless efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.

Partisans on both the left and the right will always take issue with many of the court’s decisions. Ideology has always informed constitutional interpretation, and it always will, because we all have a different vision for how we should understand, as Justice Robert Jackson famously put it, the Constitution’s “majestic generalities.”

True, many of the Supreme Court’s election law decisions have rightfully garnered passionate disapproval. Decisions such as Citizens United, which afforded corporations “free speech” rights to make unlimited campaign-related expenditures, or Shelby County, which undermined a large piece of the Voting Rights Act, offer much fodder for criticism. But they were based on good faith disagreements over how the Constitution tells us democracy should function.

As the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer warned us in his wise dissent in Bush v. Gore, a rare decision that diverged from the court’s democracy-sustaining record, the public’s confidence in the court is a hard-earned “public treasure” that we can’t afford to take for granted. For the sake of preserving that confidence, Justice Clarence Thomas should commit to recusing himself from any matters relating to the events of Jan. 6.

Wayne Batchis, J.D. and Ph.D, is an associate professor of political science at the University of Delaware where he serves as the director of the Legal Studies Program.
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