When I heard that Clarence Thomas’ wife Virginia was launching a Tea Party group, I wasn’t really shocked. I was, however, confused that the Thomas family would allow for such a blatant revelation of their political biases. Not only is Clarence Thomas seen as a profound disappointment to the African-American community, he has now further embarrassed the legal profession and undermined the integrity of the bench. When you sleep next to someone who has openly admitted that she wants to undermine the president’s “hard-left agenda,” you can hardly call yourself impartial.
In Virginia Thomas’ words, “I have come to know and love the Tea Party patriots. It has been a privilege to become a bit of an ambassador of sorts for the national board.”
NYU Law Professor Stephen Gillers says that Virginia breaks no rules by becoming a Tea Partier, “Ideological issues, as opposed to monetary ones, are not a subject of concern.” A judge’s spouse, he said, “can have a full political life, and take positions on political issues and legal issues, even ones that come before his or her spouse.”
So, according to Gillers, Thomas is not allowed to sit on cases where his wife has a financial stake, but he is welcome to sit in on cases where his wife has a strong ideological stake. That’s like saying that “I can’t let your family make money on your rulings, but I can let you rule on cases where your spouse has shown a clear, pre-conceived bias and political agenda.” I’m not sure how much sense that makes, but hey, this is America.
WATCH THIS DAILY RUNDOWN REPORT ON THE SUPREME COURT:
[MSNBCMSN video=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”35910211″ id=”msnbc47627c”]
To make matters that much more interesting, Virginia Thomas is allowed to take donations from corporations using the recent change in law that her husband supported. Corporate money doesn’t go to Justice Thomas directly, but it goes to his wife, who then influences Thomas’ decisions in ways I can’t even write on this screen. I’m not sure how anyone can perceive any of this to be ethical. Oh, here’s the best part: If there appears to be a conflict of interest in any Supreme Court case, Justice Thomas gets to decide if he should recuse himself. The recusal decision is not subject to the review of anyone but Thomas.
The actions of Virginia Thomas are an eye catching continuation of the tainted legacy of her husband, who replaced Thurgood Marshall on the bench. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has not, to my knowledge, done anything in the past 20 years to show that he has any allegiance, concern or loyalty to black America. The only references I’ve seen toward black people were his alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill, which revealed him to have a preference for Long Dong Silver, a porn star from the 1970s.
There is also his use of Affirmative-Action programs to get through law school, only to undermine those programs later in life. I am not sure if the world evaluates Clarence Thomas as a black man or as a white racist who was given the distinct inconvenience of being born with black skin. It is quite rare to find an African-American other than Ward Connerly who has worked so hard to undermine almost every area of political progress achieved by the African-American community.
Given that Clarence and his wife have expanded on the impossible by going to even deeper levels of questionable behavior, we can only wonder what might come next. Any conservative who accuses a liberal of being an activist judge only needs to look at Thomas and his wife. Clarence Thomas, true to form, has remained one of the most tragic figures in American legal and political history. Even his fellow conservatives can’t be happy about this.