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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Conservative Political Hacks in Black Robes on the SCOTUS

Is it possible that the Supreme Court of the United States has become a venue where ward politics is practiced?  Where political ideology is valued over the rule of law?  Could this have happened to this country? 

After reviewing the recent disasterous 5-4 ruling by the SCOTUS on strip-searching and what will be the probable overturning of President Obama's ACA, it is becoming more apparent that political hackery is the driving force at the highest court in the land. 

This is a disaster for every fair-minded American and for our Constitution.

"Ginni Thomas’s 2009 creation of a tea party non-profit group for which she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed contributions, as well as her subsequent creation of a tea party consulting firm last year, has become the basis for allegations by some liberals that her husband’s impartiality has been compromised.

And her attendance at an annual summit of major conservative donors organized by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch – revealed in a recent speech by a federal judge and Thomas family ally – can be expected to draw even more scrutiny." --Politico

Will Clarence Thomas Recuse Himself From Obamacare Case?

"Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear constitutional challenges brought on by twenty-six states and a business group to President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. There will likely be arguments in the spring and a ruling by July, right in the heat of the presidential election.

This is a good time to recall that seventy-four members of Congress have signed a letter asking Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any ruling on the Affordable Care Act because of his wife’s work as a conservative activist and lobbyist, where she specifically agitated for the repeal of “Obamacare.” The recusal effort was spearheaded by Representative Anthony Weiner, and his resignation in June slowed the momentum around this issue on Capitol Hill—but there’s still ample evidence for concern.

Ginni Thomas resigned from Liberty Central late last year amid controversy over her role, though the decision was also aided by fundraising troubles and a bizarre, ill-considered phone call she placed to Anita Hill, the woman who accused her husband of sexual harassment twenty years prior.

But only a few months later, Ginni returned as head of Liberty Consulting, a new firm that boasted the ability to use Ginni’s “experience and connections” to help clients “with “governmental affairs efforts.” She met with over half of the incoming freshman class of legislators, and e-mailed all of their chiefs of staff, dubbing herself “a self-appointed, ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party movement.”

Justices Scalia And Thomas's Attendance At Koch Event Sparks Judicial Ethics Debate

"Reports that two Supreme Court Justices have attended seminars sponsored by the energy giant and conservative bankroller Koch Industries has sparked a mild debate over judicial ethics.

On Tuesday evening, the New York Times reported that an upcoming meeting in Palm Springs of "a secretive network of Republican donors" that was being organized by Koch Industries, "the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes." Buried in the third to last graph was a note that previous guests at such meetings included Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, two of the more conservative members of the bench.


"There is nothing to prevent Supreme Court justices from hanging out with people who have political philosophies," said Steven Lubet, a professor of law at Northwestern University who teaches courses on Legal Ethics.

But the Koch event appears more political than, say, the Aspen Ideas festival. In its own invitation, it was described as a "twice a year" gathering "to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it." In addition, it's not entirely clear what the two Justices did at the Koch event. A copy of the invitation that served as the basis for the Times's report was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. It provided no additional clues. A call to the Supreme Court and an email to a Koch Industries spokesperson meanwhile were not immediately returned.

Faced with a lack of concrete information, and cognizant of Koch's fairly intense history of political involvement, legal ethicists are urging for more disclosure.

What complicates the report, as Gillers notes, is that the Supreme Court, very recently, handed down a major decision on campaign finance law that Koch Industries quickly utilized. Citizens United overturned existing law by ruling that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money on federal elections. Koch has always been an active political and philanthropic giver."

The Roberts Court invariably sides with the powerful over the weak.

Supreme Court Justice Alito: My fundraising for conservative causes is ‘not important’

Statement and fundraising appear to conflict with Code of Conduct for United States Judges
"Supreme Court Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. said his involvement with a conservative fundraiser was “not important” after being confronted by a Think Progress blogger Tuesday night.
At a fundraising event for the right-wing magazine American Spectator, Lee Fang of Think Progress asked Alito why he thought it was appropriate to attend such a highly political fundraiser.

It’s not important that I’m here,” Alito reportedly told Fang.

“You also helped headline this same event two years ago, obviously helping to raise political money as the keynote,” Fang shot back, only to receive the same response from Alito before he walked away. “It’s not important.”

The American Spectator fundraising event featured Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Republican Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), US Chamber of Commerce board member William Walton, and major Republican donor Paul Singer.

According to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a justice should not “solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a political organization or candidate.”

In 2009, Alito also headlined a fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which funded the conservative journalist James O’Keefe and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Alito is reported to have helped the institute raise $70,000."

In her NYTimes column today, Maureen Dowd describes the conservatives on the SCOTUS as "hacks dressed up in black robes."

"This court," she wrote Wednesday, "is well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in modern American history...It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...[M]irrors the setup on Fox News.

All the fancy diplomas of the conservative majority cannot disguise the fact that its reasoning on the most important decisions affecting Americans seems shaped more by a political handbook than a legal brief. [...]

In 2000, the Republican majority put aside its professed disdain of judicial activism and helped to purloin the election for W., who went on to heedlessly invade Iraq and callously ignore Katrina.
As Anthony Lewis wrote in The Times back then, “Deciding a case of this magnitude with such disregard for reason invites people to treat the court’s aura of reason as an illusion.”

Conservative hacks in black robes on the Supreme Court? 


Infidel753 said...

Remarkable -- they're hardly trying to hide it any more.

This needs to be more widely known -- and we need to make sure that no Republican is sent to the White House to make judicial appointments any time soon.

Rational Nation USA said...

Any outrage when liberal judicial activism is at play Shaw? Or is it only when it has a conservative face? Just asking. Aren't all justices supposed to be impartial?

Shaw Kenawe said...

RN, can you give me an example of the wife of a justice being blatantly political and campaigning for the repeal of legislation?

Aside from that, you've asked the wrong question. It is the conservatives who have railed against judicial activism in the past and complained about a liberal bias in the court. Now that they're participating in what they've denounced, the conservative purists who detest judicial activistism are silent.

I don't recall a court in my lifetime as nakedly partisan as this court is.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Infidel, it appears that the only rebuttal the two conservatives who commented here have is that "you do it too!"

[The anonymous troll comment was deleted.]

Darth Beacon said...

The conservative S.C. is on a collision course with the executive and legislative branches.

Rational Nation USA said...

I guess my point is "judicial activism" is apparently defined by the side being judicially active. And it seems to be quite partial to the side that is guilty of being activists.

There are plenty examples but why discuss settled decisions, ie: law?

Anonymous said...

No Judicial activism here

or let's be fair when you want justices to recluse themselves


Anonymous said...

I meant "recuse" themselves(slapping self)

Shaw Kenawe said...

louboy, the Sotomayor ruling had nothing to do with overruling legislation by the US Congress, so I don't understand your comment here.

My point about "judicial activism" is that the conservatives HOWLED about it when liberals supposedly engaged in it, and are silent now that the conservative justices engage in it.

A double standard.

Leslie Parsley said...

I've been hanging out on this earth of ours for more decades than I want to announce to the world. This nonsense that "liberals" do it too is just bullshit. It's like having a conversation with Bob Schieffer! Where's the proof?

Not only are the 4 +- 1 totally corrupt and unethical, they are appallingly small minded and simply do not possess the breadth of knowledge necessary to uphold the Constitution and the rights of the people one would normally expect from members of the highest court. In fact, they are more reminiscent of small time judges in the rural South. Worst of all, they don't care - as Maddow explains in this video.

Dave Miller said...

Shaw, as much as RN may want to claim a rational viewpoint, the simple fact that he generally supports the GOP, which currently has no rational core, shows his true colors.

Let's stipulate, for the moment, that the left is guilty of judicial activism.

The GOP has for years decried that, as you have pointed out.

However, now that the GOP has a law they want interpreted differently, suddenly judicial activism is seen as a corrective on an unconstitutional law.

Les, whether or not the left favor, or participate in judicial activism is not what Shaw, or any other intelligent lefty is saying.

We are calling your side hypocrites for only objecting to the practice when our side practices it.

Consistency, and indeed a core belief, on the part of the GOP would dictate a hands off response from the conservative side, wouldn't it?

Now before you go into the standard "it is not activism when you are striking down an unconstitutional law" line, let's remember, as I pointed out on your blog awhile back, that GOP partisans even felt left leaning activism against racism was also wrong.

Many on the right, to this day, hold that the court had no right to intervene in Brown v. Topeka. Their view was that if the law was wrong, we should amend the Constitution.

All this is just another excuse to try and change the rules of interpretation to fit the needs of the right.

A nice anonymous said...

shaw you've attracted another name-calling troll to your blog. funny isn't it how they can't make an argument so they resort to asshatery. Talk about stupid.

Rational Nation USA said...

Dave, I will not repeat his again. I do not have a side, nor do I plan on voting for the side you in your apparent wisdom have chosen to place me on.

If I supported 50, 75, 90, or 100 percent of your views what would in your opinion be enough that I would no longer be a "right wing wacko, wing-nut, fascist?

Get me point bucko? Know I have more important things to do.

Shaw Kenawe said...

RN, Dave didn't use those terms to characterize you. BTW, speaking of terms, didn't you use these terms over at your place?: "partisan progressive utopian la-la juice."

La-la juice? Is that something you get at a juice bar in Santa Monica?

Dave Miller said...

RN, have I ever called you a "right wing wacko, wing-nut, fascist?

Bottom line, here is where I stand on things...

The left has used the courts over the years to get political outcomes that would have been slow in coming through the legislative process. A good example of this is of course, Brown v. Topeka, argued by the great Thurgood Marshall.

For years the right has argued that this decision, and many others, specifically from the Warren Court, were decisions of judicial activism and deviated from a strict constitutionalist stance.

That's fine. I do not agree with that, but I do not have to.

Now we have a president who, in the face of a party who had stated goals to make him a failure and a strategy to oppose every piece of legislation he proposed, manages to get a national health care plan passed.

This plan, modeled on a GOP plan from MA, and along a basic outline, with a coverage mandate, of an earlier GOP plan was opposed by the GOP, at least in appearance, solely because it was proposed by Barack Obama.

As part of the GOP plan to derail the legislation that we all know they would have supported had the president been named Bush, they took the plan to the Supreme Court.

Now they are asking SCOTUS to invalidate a law that was duly passed by Congress.

As the left has rightly brought up the hypocrisy of the GOP stance, once again favoring the same thing they criticize the Dems for, the GOP crowd has changed language.

You RN, and those on your site are good examples. Along with Silverfiddle, you and your group have looked past the blatant hypocrisy and are saying that this is a corrective to over reach by Congress, and it is okay to use the court in that manner.

Please tell me how the determination is made between judicial activism and a constitutional corrective and why when Dems essentially do the same thing, it is activism, and when the GOP does it, it is a corrective?

Les, I know you are uncomfortable with activism from either side. You have stated that and I respect consistency.

And your statement about activism being defined by either side is sadly accurate.

As an aside, I haven't been called Bucko in many a year...