Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SCt Justice's Wife to Run Political Nonprofit

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.



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This is really a cheap shot. I'm curious whether you have similar concerns about Ramona Ripsten chairing the ACLU in Southern California with cases before her husband 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt? Moreover, did you worry when SEIU members in Missouri called Ken Gladney, a black tea partier, the N-word and beat him up so that he had to seek medical attention? It probably didn't even register on your radar. Yet a few idiots out of thousands of peaceful protesters make comments, admittedly bigoted but uncharacteristic of the vast majority of protesters and certainly never promoted by any of the organizers and leaders, and you try to link it to Ginni Thomas? Frankly, that's disgraceful.

Posted by: Patrick | Mar 24, 2010 10:17:37 AM

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