Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The LA Times reports that Virginia Thomas, wife of Clarence Thomas, recently formed Liberty Central, a nonprofit non-tax deductible (read political) organization. The mission statement of the organization says:
Liberty Central is activating informed American patriots who are seeking knowledge of the core founding principles and passionate about preserving freedom and liberty. By providing tailored information, encouraging civil discourse, and inspiring activism, Liberty Central brings people together to protect the core founding principles.
Justices are expected to stay out of politics, but no rules apply to the spouses of justices. The issue has not come up before, at least on the high court, so whether his wife's involvement in Liberty Central creates conflicts of interest for Justice Thomas remains an open question. Ms. Thomas has said that she rarely discusses court matters with her husband.
The new organization is linked with the tea party movement and expects to get donations from corporations, now freed from restraints on political contributions.
I'm all in favor of spouses having separate careers, but I wonder about the conflicts problem when one spouse is on the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas can't help but notice what his wife is doing. Mostly, though, I worry about the idea of "activating patriots" when other "patriots" have, in recent days, used racial and homophobic slurs against people with whom they disagree.