Author Topic: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.  (Read 3263 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« on: June 20, 2011, 09:30:58 pm »
CREDO:


It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.


A New York Times expose published Sunday details the improper ties between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and influential rightwing funder and activist Harlan Crow.1

Crow is a major contributor to conservative causes and a stalwart supporter of Clarence Thomas. In past years he reportedly gave Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, $500,000 to exploit the Citizens United decision and start a shadowy, Tea Party-related group called Liberty Central. He gave Thomas a Bible (estimated value $15,000) that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, and allegedly provided the Supreme Court Justice with access to his yacht and private jet.

As if that wasn't enough, the New York Times has revealed that Thomas may have improperly solicited a multi-million dollar donation from Crow to benefit one of his own pet projects near his birth place in a remote coastal community outside Savannah, Georgia.

Enough is enough. It's time for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign.

Shockingly, the Supreme Court is not legally bound by the code of conduct for federal judges, though Justices Breyer and Anthony M. Kennedy have testified to Congress that members of the Supreme Court voluntarily follow the code which explicitly prohibits justices from directly soliciting charitable donations. If Thomas can't legally be removed from office because adherence to ethics rules for the Supreme Court are voluntary, then we must simply demand his resignation.

Crow is far from a disinterested philanthropist. He has donated nearly $5 million to Republican campaigns and rightwing groups, including a six digit donation to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which so effectively attacked Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election. He's on the board of the ultra conservative American Enterprise Institute which brought a case to the Supreme Court challenging federal voting rights laws, a case that found only one sympathetic vote on the court -- that of Clarence Thomas.

Recusal is not enough. It's time for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign.

Crow is not the sole source of questionable ethical behavior on the part of Clarence Thomas. His highly questionable relationship to an ethically challenged Supreme Court justice is simply the latest to be exposed.

Clarence Thomas participated in a secret political fundraising event put on by the Koch brothers to fund Tea Party infrastructure groups.2

And for years, Thomas disregarded rules requiring him to report his wife's income on financial disclosure forms. His household received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the conservative Heritage Foundation during a period when he was voting on landmark cases in which the rightwing think tank had a clear ideological stake.3

This type of behavior wouldn't be tolerated for any other federal court judge. Common Cause Attorney Arn Pearson says in the Times, "The code of conduct is quite clear that judges are not supposed to be soliciting money for their pet projects or charities, period. If any other federal judge was doing it, he could face disciplinary action."

Even absent a legally binding code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, a Justice resigning for ethics violations is not without precedent. Justice Abe Fortas resigned in disgrace in 1969 after it was revealed that he had received gifts from interested benefactors similar to those received by Clarence Thomas.4

Fortas, prior to resigning, actually recused himself from voting in cases related to his benefactor. Thomas, however, has refused to recuse himself from cases before the court in which organizations related to Harlan Crow continue to file briefs.

Enough is enough. It's time for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign.

Clarence Thomas' behavior has long been beyond the pale. In response to these latest revelations by the New York Times it's long since time to demand Clarence Thomas' resignation.

Offline Hypestyle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 5844
  • Intellectual Conqueror
    • View Profile
    • Hypestyle's Homebase
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2011, 07:26:50 pm »
I predict.. he's probably staying put.. ah well..  Has anyone notified Eric Holder? since he's apparently unafraid to go after John Edwards..
Be Kind to Someone Today.

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 12:33:15 am »
No focus on the substance of the opinions of Justice Thomas, in terms of consistency and legal principle. No suggestion that he would have ruled differently in any case. Because he would not have. How is this obvious? By reason of his consistent application of legal principles of constitutional construction to reach whatever results logically flow from those principles (rather than the other way around, working backward from result to rationalization, as is done by other jurists).

Bottom line: More partisan whining by crybabies, driven by ideological bias.

Yawn ... this gets so boring.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 08:02:28 am »
No focus on the substance of the opinions of Justice Thomas, in terms of consistency and legal principle. No suggestion that he would have ruled differently in any case. Because he would not have. How is this obvious? By reason of his consistent application of legal principles of constitutional construction to reach whatever results logically flow from those principles (rather than the other way around, working backward from result to rationalization, as is done by other jurists).

Bottom line: More partisan whining by crybabies, driven by ideological bias.

Yawn ... this gets so boring.
So you don't think his wife receiving payments is inappropriate?

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 08:25:19 am »
Of course his wife has no right to pursue her own career or take public positions on controversial issues. Justice Thomas should demand that she quit all public activity, stop expressing positions on controversial issues, and cease her career ... or he will divorce her. A woman's place is in the home.

I wonder if the same people who are whining about Justice Thomas would be similarly "outraged" if, say, the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice worked for, or openly supported, or was an active member of, or seved in an executive capacity, with the ACLU or the NAACP?

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 08:30:56 am »
Good approach to not answering the question. 

And to answer your question, yes in the reverse situation a liberal judge would be out of a job by now.

Offline Battle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9142
  • M.A.X. Commander
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2011, 09:25:33 am »
Notice how the word 'whining' is used as a verb?

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2011, 09:41:15 am »
Good approach to not answering the question.  

And to answer your question, yes in the reverse situation a liberal judge would be out of a job by now.

I seriously doubt that "Credo" would have written the article he wrote making his silly demands, or that you would be posting it on your Forum, if Justice Thomas were a Liberal jurist whose wife was an executive with the ACLU or the NAACP.  Let's be real here, Reginald. This has nothing to do with you consistently applying ethical principles.

Anyway, this is largley a repeat of what we have discussed before. I'm outta here. After reading the other posts above, gotta go hose off my hip boots.

Offline Battle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9142
  • M.A.X. Commander
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2011, 10:48:40 am »
...and hip boots are worn while posting online.

  ???

Strange.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4499
  • One never knows, do one?
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 07:47:48 am »
You're claiming that Judge Reinhardt's situation with respect to the Prop 8 case is equivalent to Justice Thomas' situation.

So then for you, Mrs. Ripston's salary at the ACLU is equivalent to the rather lavish gifts and funding Justice Thomas and his wife have solicited and received.

Judge Reinhardt's situation applies to one specific case and he provided a legal memorandum on the reasons for his decision. Agree or disagree with his reasons, that's all above board. Justice Thomas, not so much.

The fact is that if Judge Reinhardt had engaged in activities that were equivalent to those of Justice Thomas, he would be facing disciplinary action. As was pointed out in the original article, Supreme Court Justices don't have a legally binding code of conduct. Hence the appeal to resign. I don't expect it to work. I don't think Justice Thomas much cares how it looks.

 

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 09:47:18 am »
Reginald, turns out my question was not hypothetical, after all. Simply replace "Supreme Court Justice" with "Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."  So, before checking out, I'll share this.

I scanned your website and surprisingly found no objection to liberal Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s refusal to recuse himself (from the Prop 8 Gay Marriage case) on the basis of his wife’s leadership in the ACLU, financial compensation by the ACLU, her outspoken public statments on the issue, or even her organization filing an amicus brief in his case. Maybe you were unaware? Well, now we can expect you to stridently demand Reinhardt’s resignation, yes?  Hahaha.  Because Reinhardt still holds his job. ;D

It is also interesting to note that Judge Reinhard’s response to his critics is essentially identical to the response that I provided you, regarding Justice Thomas and his wife.  So, in fact, my post above was entirely responsive to your question. 

Judge Reinhard’s response suggests that the sexist underpinnings of your position are indeed outmoded. 

Though, between you and me, we both know you are not a sexist. You are simply engaged in ideological warfare that has nothing to do with ethical principle whatsoever. Which is why you and people like the activist you quoted at the outset of this thread will continue to demand the resignation of Justice Thomas while, no doubt, remaining silent regarding Judge Reinhardt.

Which naturally leads to the question, "Why do I even try?" These political discussions inevitably turn out to be wholly pointless, because often you and those who agree with you on the Forum do not apply consistent moral or ethical principles to reach the conclusions you advocate, what you support, what you criticize, or what you adamantly refuse to condemn (even regarding some issues that are highly disturbing that one would expect decent and principled responses to).  ::) 

In terms of a more productive use of my time ... I've finally got Netflix ... and have a few things to catch up on that are far more enjoyable.

In any event, here are a couple of articles that you should find interesting:

Under the Radar
Josh Gerstein on the Courts, Transparency and More
9th Circuit judge won't recuse in Prop. 8 case

December 02, 2010

A federal appeals court judge has rejected a request that he recuse himself from a three-judge panel set to consider a ruling that held California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

Opponents of the ruling asked Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a well-known liberal on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, to remove himself from the case over Proposition 8 because of ties his wife, Ramona Ripston, has to the litigation. Ripston is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which filed an amicus brief in the district court case under appeal. She also reportedly consulted with lawyers challenging Prop. 8, an anti-same-sex-marriage referendum.

However, in an order Thursday, Reinhardt refused to step aside.

"I have not hesitated to recuse from cases in the past when doing so was warranted by the circumstances," Reinhardt wrote. "Here, for reasons that I shall provide in a memorandum to be filed in due course, I am certain that “a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would [not] conclude that [my] impartiality might reasonably be questioned. ... I will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so. The motion is therefore denied."

The case is scheduled to be argued at the 9th Circuit on Monday.

UPDATE: This post has been revised to describe Ripston's activities in more detail.

The Ninth
Pro-Prop 8 Motion to Recuse Reinhardt Reinforces That Their Views of Marriage Are “Outmoded”

January 7, 2011

Prior to the Ninth Circuit’s hearing on Prop 8, the Proponents of Prop 8 moved to recuse Circuit Judge Reinhardt due to his wife’s, Ramona Ripston, 38 year career as the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Quick Summary:  Ripston was the first woman to head a major ACLU affiliate when she took over in 1972, and she has guided the ACLU/SC from a six-person group with offices above a wig shop to a 50-person legal powerhouse that has not only had a profound impact on Southern California’s institutions but also touched the lives of virtually all its diverse residents. Among countless other accomplishments, the ACLU/SC under her leadership successfully litigated an end to segregationist policies at the Los Angeles Unified School District that denied thousands of minority children their right to equal educational opportunities under the state constitution; took a lead role in a voting-rights lawsuit that paved the way for the election of the county’s first Latina county supervisor; helped overturn the anti-immigrant Prop. 187; and won the right for community groups to have a voice in shaping reform at the Los Angeles Police Department through the federal consent decree.

Judge Reinhardt’s 15 page memorandum is available here.  It provides a detailed response supporting his decision to deny the Proponents of Prop 8′s recusal motion.  In addition to providing the public with a detailed explanation of the judicial recusal standard provided in 28 U.S.C. § 455(a)and § 455(b)(5)(iii) and why recusal is inappropriate in this case, under both Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, Judge Reinhardt’s memorandum illuminates the “outmoded” views of marriage held (and promoted) by the Pro-Prop 8 contingent.

Writes Judge Reinhardt:  “My wife’s views, public or private, as to any issues that may come before this court, constitutional or otherwise, are of no consequence. She is a strong, independent woman who has long fought for the principle, among others, that women should be evaluated on their own merits and not judged in any way by the deeds or position in life of their husbands (and vice versa). I share that view and, in my opinion, it reflects the status of the law generally, as well as the law of recusal, regardless of whether the spouse or the judge is the male or the female.” . . .  “In 2011, my wife and I share many fundamental interests by virtue of our marriage, but her views regarding issues of public significance are her own, and cannot be imputed to me, no matter how prominently she expresses them. It is her view, and I agree, that she has the right to perform her professional duties without regard to whatever my views may be, and that I should do the same without regard to hers. Because my wife is an independent woman, I cannot accept Proponents’ position that my impartiality might reasonably be questioned under § 455(a) because of her opinions or the views of the organization she heads.”

The memorandum also provides a step-by-step explanation of the relative “lack” of role taken by the ACLU of Southern California in the current Prop 8 litigation and the briefing and argument before the Ninth Circuit.  The multiple pages detailing the ”non-role” by the ACLU illustrates the deeper problem that Judge Reinhardt’s denial of the recusal motion stands steadfastly against: judges recusing themselves simply because someone has called the judge’s impartiality into question.  Judge Reinhardt’s detailed explanation (even thought it was not required) reminds the public of the old adage: “simply saying something, doesn’t make it so.”  Simply, alleging that Judge Reinhardt’s impartiality is in question based on his relationship with his spouse and the views publicly held, espoused, and advocated by his spouse, “simply doesn’t make it so.”  As Judge Reinhardt concludes, judges must not recuse themselves simply because an allegation was made.  To do so will weaken our judiciary and allow (and encourage) parties to seek recusal of judges viewed as not being sympathetic to their cause.  If simply ”yelling smoke” will result in a judge’s recusal when there is no fire, the independence and impartiality of the judiciary as a whole is undermined.

Concludes Judge Reinhardt:  It is, indeed, important that judges be and appear to be impartial. It is also important, however, that judges not recuse themselves unless required to do so, or it would be too easy for those who seek judges favorable to their case to disqualify those that they perceive to be unsympathetic merely by publicly questioning their impartiality. See federal recusal statute) H.R. Rep. No. 93-1453 (1974) (providing legislative history of federal recusal statute) (“At the same time, in assessing the reasonableness of a challenge to his impartiality, each judge must be alert to avoid the possibility that those who would question his impartiality are in fact seeking to avoid the consequences of his expected adverse decision.”). Were I to be recused because of the facts Proponents cite, it would not be merely from serving on the present panel but from voting on whether to rehear the case en banc and taking part in any en banc proceedings held by this court. My wife has no tangible interest in this case’s outcome, and I do not believe that my impartiality in this case can reasonably be questioned on the basis of either her public statements or the ACLU/SC’s involvement in any judicial proceedings. For these reasons, I deny Proponents’ motion.

The 15 page memorandum is worth a read.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4499
  • One never knows, do one?
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2011, 05:20:14 pm »
The prior two posts appear to be out of order because michealintp posted an earlier version of his last post then deleted and reposted after my reply. In case anybody reading along is confused.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 09:11:09 pm »
Actually, I PM'ed Curtis and suggested that he simply copy the text of his prior post, then delete his prior post and re-post it after mine, so that the posts would be in order.  (I had revised my post, deleted and re-posted it with minor change, and then discovered Curtis was concurrently posting a response).  In any event, nobody should be under the impression that the content my post was modified to take into account anything Curtis wrote; my comments are directed primarily to Reginald Hudlin here, in response to his comments, past and present.

However, in response to what Curtis wrote, of course there is no principled way to distinguish the (no doubt) hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by the ACLU to Ninth Circuit Judge Reinhardt's wife, Ramona Ripston, over a period of decades.  Ripston was the executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, an experienced lawyer, and a senior executive with the organization. Anything paid to Ripston was paid to Reinhardt as half of her income is his community property under California law.  As a judge with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Reinhardt decides issues of critical importance to the ACLU. I have no objection to this, any more than I have an objection to Ginny Thomas being paid for her executive positions as a conservative political activist while her husband decides important Constitutional issues. The rights of women to pursue their careers, including outspoken public careers, should not be constrained because their husbands are jurists. Certainly not in 2011. 

Yet Reginald objects to this, at least in the case of the Ginny Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas. Why?  Of course because Thomas is a Conservative Jurist (to use the more tame adjective, not the derogatory phrase Reginald is fond of), not an extremely Liberal Jurist like Reinhardt. And Ginny is a Tea Party activist, not a Left-wing activist like Ramona.  What we are seeing here is just more of the same old HEF Double-Standard.

Furthermore, the facade the judges don't have viewpoints, and don't adhere to judicial philosophies, but rather are nothing but "impartial" machines churning out the law, is absurd. Which is why the entire premise surrounding the criticism of Thomas here is so ridiculous.  There is no indication that Thomas or Reinhardt have compromised their principles, whatsoever.

This "outrage" is all so phony; it makes me sick.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2011, 09:20:50 pm »


This "outrage" is all so phony; it makes me sick.
Or I could agree with what Curtis posted.

michaelintp

  • Guest
Re: It's time for Clarence Thomas to resign.
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2011, 10:16:32 pm »


This "outrage" is all so phony; it makes me sick.
Or I could agree with what Curtis posted.

Of course you 'could.'  Citing "Curtis" as a surrogate for independent thought is so much easier than keeping an open mind and applying standards of fundamental fairness and even-handedness.

Flippantly ignore all of the material I posted above. Don't seriously consider it.

Avoid prolonged exposure to any information, any ideas, or any facts, that might challenge your prejudices and double standards, or, worse yet, precipitate serious introspection.