Friday, November 18, 2011
Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case
Imagine you were on the eve of a bitter civil trial against a huge corporation with deep pockets and the presiding judge is dining, partying and fundraising with the attorneys defending said corporation.
You would be correct to yell at the top of your lungs, this is a foul breach of ethics.
You would be in the scope of your rights to bring charges of Judicial Misconduct to any judicial governing body.
To be more precise, this would be a gross conflict of interest and it would contaminate the judge's ability to convey impartiality.
Apparently, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Anton Scalia believe they are beyond reproach...
The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.
The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.
Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles. Another firm that sponsored the dinner, Jones Day, represents one of the trade associations that challenged the law, the National Federation of Independent Business.
Another sponsor was pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, which has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. The dinner was held at a Washington hotel hours after the court's conference over the case. In attendance was, among others, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and an avowed opponent of the healthcare law.
The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas. source
Bob Edgar, President and CEO of the Common Cause, responded to this appalling ethics violation by stating:
“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges. The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”source
This is not new territory for Scalia or Thomas. Thomas has been under-fire for both being too cozy with the Koch brothers and zealous Tea Party activism on the part of his wife before:
...the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.
In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative "core principles," she said.
The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources -- including corporations -- as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.
"I adore all the new citizen patriots who are rising up across this country," Thomas, who goes by Ginni, said on the panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I have felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great."
The move by Virginia Thomas, 52, into the front lines of politics stands in marked contrast to the rarefied culture of the nation's highest court, which normally prizes the appearance of nonpartisanship and a distance from the fisticuffs of the politics of the day. source
Hopefully, the tide of overwhelming public disgust and backlash against Thomas and Scalia will pressure these Justices to recuse themselves from any and all litigation regarding the constitutionality of Health Care pending in front of the Supreme Court.