Wife of Supreme Court Justice starts citizen activist group

mcrain

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I know it is the judge's spouse, and I have no problems with her independence, but the Supreme Court is supposed to be neutral. Not even the appearance of bias. Judges are supposed to be unbiased, neutral and decide cases on their merits. It is starting to feel like all of the Judges have made up their minds, and are only waiting for a case to come along so they can rule they way they already have decided.

Into the heightened political atmosphere between the Supreme Court and the Obama administration comes now Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, who is founder of a new nonprofit lobbying and political-organizing group catering to the "citizen activists" of the "tea party" movement.

Virginia "Ginni" Thomas says Liberty Central Inc. will educate motivated citizens to "preserve freedom and reaffirm the core founding principles," according to the group's Web site, and will serve as a way for concerned Americans to "make a difference in the fight for liberty and against the liberal Washington agenda."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/15/AR2010031503399.html?hpid=moreheadlines

(edit)

If you're curious about the GOP view of impartiality, here it is.

http://www.c-span.org/pdf/scourt_rsc.pdf

(edit 2)
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the highest-ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said the fairness issue was “the core of the American system” and was central to Republicans’ qualms.

“Every judge must be committed every day to not let their personal politics, their ethnic background, their biases, sympathies influence the nature of their decision-making process,” Mr. Sessions said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/us/politics/13judge.html

(edit3) Before anyone says anything about removing him...
Only one Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase (one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence), has ever been impeached. The House of Representatives accused Chase of letting his Federalist political leanings affect his rulings, and served him with eight articles of impeachment in late 1804. The Senate acquitted him of all charges in 1805, establishing the right of the judiciary to independent opinion. Chase continued on the Court until his death in June 1811.

In 1957, at the height of McCarthyism, the Georgia General Assembly passed a joint resolution calling for "The Impeachment of Certain U.S. Supreme Court Justices" believed to be enabling Communism with their decisions. The resolution targeted Chief Justice Earl Warren and Associate Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Tom Campbell Clark, Felix Frankfurter, and Stanley Forman Reed (as well as several unnamed deceased Justices) for "...[usurping] the congressional power to make law in violation of Article I, Sections I and 8, and violated Sections 3 and 5 of the 14th Amendment and nullified the 10th Amendment of the Constitution."
 

IntheNet

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Oct 6, 2009
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"Virginia "Ginni" Thomas says Liberty Central Inc. will educate motivated citizens to "preserve freedom and reaffirm the core founding principles," according to the group's Web site, and will serve as a way for concerned Americans to "make a difference in the fight for liberty and against the liberal Washington agenda."



I am proud of both Justice Thomas and his wife for their service to the nation and to freedom...
 

mcrain

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I am proud of both Justice Thomas and his wife for their service to the nation and to freedom...
You do understand that the role of a judge is to be impartial? One of the hard parts of confirmation is that they CAN NOT pre-judge an issue, so when Congress asks questions about things like abortion, they can't respond the way you might want.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the tea party activists, but Justice Thomas is a Supreme Court judge. If his wife is an activist against a "Liberal Agenda," how can he be impartial?

(edit) No, you shouldn't be criminally guilty for your spouse's actions, but in almost every industry, there are conflict of interest rules, and I don't think either she shouldn't be involved in this type of thing, or he needs to resign.
 

R.Perez

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Feb 16, 2010
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"service to freedom"

Freedom as you narrowly define it.

The freedom to exploit anyone or anywhere through the so called "virtues" of capitalism.

That is not my definition of freedom.

In a truly free society, 2 women could go to the prom together without fear of reprisal.

In a truly free society, any 2 consenting adults would be allowed to marry.

In a truly free society as person can't be deemed an enemy combatant and shipped off to a black site prison to be tortured.

Need I go on?
 

yg17

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Aug 1, 2004
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I am proud of both Justice Thomas and his wife for their service to the nation and to freedom...

Oh bull****. You would be screaming bloody murder if Sotomayor's husband (if she had one, I think she's single) was the member of a liberal activist group.
 

Eraserhead

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In Britain if you are a civil servant you aren't allowed to get involved in politics.

I also realise that those rules don't apply to your spouse/partner, however if you are in a serious position like a supreme court judge you really do have to be totally neutral, and that means that your partner probably does have to sacrifice their public political voice. To do otherwise is certainly bad form.

I'm not really sure if a judges partner should even be a member of a fairly political group - let alone a founder.

Its pretty unacceptable when Prince Charles tries to use his influence to do things and this is the much worse.

I am proud of both Justice Thomas and his wife for their service to the nation and to freedom...
You wouldn't say that if he was a liberal judge :rolleyes:.
 

IntheNet

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Oct 6, 2009
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You do understand that the role of a judge is to be impartial?
I don't believe Virginia Thomas' efforts with Liberty Central Inc. to educate motivated citizens to "preserve freedom" are in conflict with that. Or are you recommending that wives of Supreme Court Justices stay at home?

One of the hard parts of confirmation is that they CAN NOT pre-judge an issue, so when Congress asks questions about things like abortion, they can't respond the way you might want.
True... but what's this have to do with thread topic?

I don't think there is anything wrong with the tea party activists, but Justice Thomas is a Supreme Court judge.
The two topics you cite are unrelated in the sentence you advance.

If his wife is an activist against a "Liberal Agenda," how can he be impartial?
It didn't seem to bother you when Hillary Clinton was a senator and her husband was a lobbyist in terms of conflct of interest matters? Why are you presupposing that Justice Thomas' wife cannot engage upon work of her own choosing without the Justice retaining his impartiality? You have examples of impartial acts or just assumptions because you dislike the Tea Party movement?

No, you shouldn't be criminally guilty for your spouse's actions, but in almost every industry, there are conflict of interest rules, and I don't think either she shouldn't be involved in this type of thing, or he needs to resign.
If you surface some real issue where come conflict of interest arises, in the case you depict between the Justice and his wife, we would have a legitimate case to discuss. Otherwise I see no issue here.

Need I go on?
If you can do so coherently please do; I didn't follow your point as posted. I take it you object to Justice Thomas and his opinions but you failed to explain much beyond that.
 

yg17

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It didn't seem to bother you when Hillary Clinton was a senator and her husband was a lobbyist in terms of conflct of interest matters? Why are you presupposing that Justice Thomas' wife cannot engage upon work of her own choosing without the Justice retaining his impartiality? You have examples of impartial acts or just assumptions because you dislike the Tea Party movement?
Senators aren't supposed to be impartial and neutral. Duh.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
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I can't recall ever hearing about the spouse of a SC justice before unless it was an illness.

This is a bad move and reflects poorly on the SC and Justice Thomas.
 

Rodimus Prime

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Oct 9, 2006
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Still putting words in peoples mouths I see.

Read the whole post.;)
I read the post. You said it should be against the law.

While it does not look good on paper legally the is nothing wrong with it and they can not make it agaist the law because the you would the actions of said spouse could hold you crimanal liable. This is the case here. Now on some thing the justus could abstain from voting on saying a conflect of interst
 

Eraserhead

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I read the post. You said it should be against the law.

While it does not look good on paper legally the is nothing wrong with it and they can not make it agaist the law because the you would the actions of said spouse could hold you crimanal liable.
Agreed, its just very bad form, and he should probably step down.
 

Peace

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Apr 1, 2005
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I read the post. You said it should be against the law.

While it does not look good on paper legally the is nothing wrong with it and they can not make it agaist the law because the you would the actions of said spouse could hold you crimanal liable. This is the case here. Now on some thing the justus could abstain from voting on saying a conflect of interst

I said

"This should be illegal but it's not. she should at least recuse herself because her husband is a Justice."

I put the illegal in italics for a reason.

And you forgot the part in bold.

When it comes to the Supreme Court they are supposed to be impartial and the wife should know that and not start a subjective lobby to keep her husband from being seen in an impartial light. Which is what's going to happen.
 

bobber205

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yg17

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iShater

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I really don't understand how some people all of a sudden think that this type of conflict of interest is a GOOD idea. :confused:
 

mcrain

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Original poster
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I don't believe Virginia Thomas' efforts with Liberty Central Inc. to educate motivated citizens to "preserve freedom" are in conflict with that. Or are you recommending that wives of Supreme Court Justices stay at home?
Of course not, but they shouldn't be participating in political activism when they are married to a supreme court judge. That's kind of the point.
True... but what's this have to do with thread topic?
You really don't get it? The point of the thread is that a judge is supposed to be neutral. An example of that is that at confirmation they can't pre-judge issues. Here, Justice Thomas' wife is engaging in political activism, and there is, at a minimum, an appearance of impropriety/bias. If you were representing someone before the Supreme Court, and the issue was one the tea party disagreed with, would you think Justice Thomas could be impartial?
It didn't seem to bother you when Hillary Clinton was a senator and her husband was a lobbyist in terms of conflct of interest matters? Why are you presupposing that Justice Thomas' wife cannot engage upon work of her own choosing without the Justice retaining his impartiality? You have examples of impartial acts or just assumptions because you dislike the Tea Party movement?
Again, a judge is supposed to be neutral, and her involvement with this group creates an appearance that he is no longer neutral. As a party to a case before the supreme court, that would be very troubling. If he were a lower court judge, he would be removed from cases for cause.

If you surface some real issue where come conflict of interest arises, in the case you depict between the Justice and his wife, we would have a legitimate case to discuss. Otherwise I see no issue here.
As others have said, if this were a liberal judge, and the spouse was starting a radical leftist liberal or socialist group, I guarantee you that you would think it might make the judge less neutral/impartial.

I can't recall ever hearing a president condemn a Supreme Court decision during a State of the Union address!
I've heard Republican presidents decry judicial activism. But, the thing you are overlooking is that the President was talking to both chambers and asking that they fix the massive problem that the court created when it ignored a 100 years of precedent.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
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I can't recall ever hearing a president condemn a Supreme Court decision during a State of the Union address!

We have all kind of firsts don't we?

Maybe Virginia Thomas sees an immediate need to "preserve freedom and reaffirm the core founding principles" due to someone taking them away from us!
Please list the freedoms you have had taken away from you.

It is quite sickening watching what a hard on you have for your ideology over anything else. Reminds me of radical Muslims.
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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I really don't understand how some people all of a sudden think that this type of conflict of interest is a GOOD idea. :confused:
He's a conservative - of course its acceptable.

It would be nice if responding to purely partisan comments didn't clog up the forum :(.
 

iShater

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He's a conservative - of course its acceptable.

It would be nice if responding to purely partisan comments didn't clog up the forum :(.
I think partisan is more like it. The current bunch of people who call themselves conservatives have given that ideology a bad name.