Justice Thomas, Again

I wrote about Justice Thomas and his omission of all his wife’s income from reporting forms back in January.

Under pressure from liberal critics, Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court acknowledged in filings released on Monday that he erred by not disclosing his wife’s past employment as required by federal law.

I was surprised that he was apparently unable to parse a straightforward question on a federal form.

I’m not on Twitter and I don’t follow Anthony Weiner in the news, so I was not aware that Weiner was raising questions about this. I thought the questions that were raised were good ones back in January, and I still do. Whatever I think about the Weiner Tweet, I’d still like the questions answered or at the very least discussed.

This is the report Justice Thomas completed on May 13, 2011. In this report, he reveals an investment in Liberty Consulting.

If you scroll down and read the report, you’ll find a letter designation for investment amounts. His investment in Liberty Consulting has the letter “J”, so that means it was at or less than $15,000, according to the key at the bottom of the form. You’ll also note that he has placed an “X” after the name “Liberty Consulting”. That X means that he didn’t have to reveal this investment in the last reporting period.

You can certainly talk about Anthony Weiner or the 21 year old woman who is being pursued by media in the comments, if you want. I’d rather you didn’t, because you can read and comment on that at every commercial media outlet, and those people aren’t the subject of this post. Justice Thomas is the subject of this post. Just like the last one, back in January.

I had questions then and I have questions now . I don’t think there’s anything in the Big Rule Book For Citizens that forbids my questioning of Supreme Court Justices on ethics and conflicts. I simply don’t buy that they, alone among judges or lawyers, are due an enormous amount of deference on compliance with simple reporting rules, or on anything else, really. I think his not reporting income when there obviously was income is a problem, and I’d like to see some public discussion of what seems to be an investment in a lobbying shop.

37 replies
  1. 1
    kdaug says:

    Don’t mean to go all conspiratorial here, but a) Weiner’s raises a fuss about “pube on my Coke can” Thomas’ shady financing, and then b) an unidentifiable prick pic gets Tweeted from Weiner’s account, which he alleges is a hack.

    If this is a “STFU, Tony”, it would seem to fit the M.O.

    Let’s see if Weiner brings it up again.

  2. 2
    Ben Cisco says:

    @kdaug: Weiner shouldn’t have been the only one speaking to this in the first place. Our Ferengi Controlled Infotainment Networks are complicit for NOT bringing this up. Can anyone here imagine this story getting buried had Thomas NOT been a NeoConfederate? Me neither.

  3. 3
    kay says:

    @kdaug:

    Weiner doesn’t have to bring it up again, though.

    I do think someone should, and I’ve thought that for months. I don’t understand how a person omits 600k+ in income. He didn’t know he had it?

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    And the connection between Thomas and Breitbart (don’t have a link, but Breitbart has apparently dedicated a book to him or something) just makes this all the more suspicious. Weiner is usually like a terrior with a bone when he’s on the case and I have no doubt whatsoever that this was an attempt to try to get him to let go of that bone.

    It really is a war with these people. I am a pretty non-violent person but I have a feeling I’m going to have to get rid of my inner DFH and start channeling my inner Boudicca.

  5. 5
    John R says:

    Pshaw! Supreme Court Justices of the Right Type are above questions of ethics. Since they know instinctively what is Right and what is Wrong, there need be no concern that they will allow their personal feelings to influence their awesome, legally brilliant (yet common-sense), narrowly-focused and Constitutionally-limited judgements. Liberals, on the other hand..

  6. 6
    kay says:

    @kdaug:

    Getting away from who knows whom and all that, I have another question. There seems to be some deeply held ideological belief among conservatives that revealing financial information is somehow a violation of the First Amendment.

    I’d like to know how far this ideological belief extends, and how they plan on squaring it with TRANSPARENCY!, which is one of the issues the Tea Party are always screaming nonsensically about.

    Because I don’t buy that Justice Thomas didn’t understand a federal form. Is this more 27% belief system bullshit they’re going to spring on us?

  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    It’s clearly wrong, they know it, but it’s, you know, sacred sacred Mammon that would get polluted if it was used to feed kids or keep bridges from falling down instead of diamond earrings like Gawd intended.

  8. 8
    gene108 says:

    What’s funny is when you tell right-wingers about your criticisms of Justice Thomas, they turn it into a game now.

    They’ve decided, because liberals call stuff like portraying President Obama as an African witch-doctor as racist, that any criticism of black people is racist, therefore calling out Justice Thomas for not disclosing his wife’s income is now racist.

    It’s a fun game. Herman Cain would be a bad President. Liberals are RACIST. Allen West isn’t doing things to help Floridians. You’re a RACIST liberal.

    It’s interesting the lessons right-wingers learn from being criticized and / or getting caught screwing up.

    It never seems to be, “damn, I did wrong, so now it’s time to make amends”. It’s usually trying to invent new ways to deflect and dodge, while continuing bad behavior.

  9. 9
    amk says:

    Most of the liberals are pursuing the cock & bull story shows their attraction for the latest shiny objects dangled before them by msm, I guess. All puns intended.

  10. 10
    stuckinred says:

    Five GI’s killed in Iraq this morning.

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    @gene108: It’s interesting the lessons right-wingers learn from being criticized and / or getting caught screwing up.
    __
    It never seems to be, “damn, I did wrong, so now it’s time to make amends”. It’s usually trying to invent new ways to deflect and dodge, while continuing bad behavior.

    Another commenter and I had a discussion a few threads back; these days, conservatism isn’t a political stance as much as it is a mental illness.

    Imagine your life if you could never admit a mistake and never change course.

    Exactly!

  12. 12
    kay says:

    @gene108:

    I have other questions, too. After Watergate, there was a huge proliferation in what are called “sunshine laws”, reporting requirements, etc.

    My father, who is old, says (rightly, I think) that the drive for transparency post-Watergate was hugely beneficial to people, because they learned a lot about government officials, where before it really WAS all smoke-filled rooms.

    Given the conservative hostility to post-Watergate reforms, and the continuing grudge they hold on the Nixon deal, are attempts to evade or ignore transparency requirements ideological w/them?

    Because sunshine laws are very popular. People love them, at the state level.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    @Ben Cisco:
    @kay:

    Agree with both of you. No excuse for the “lamestream media” not to be hammering on this. Shoe, other foot, all that.

    But I think if he goes silent, it’s telling. If he doubles down, even more so.

  14. 14

    ok, i am totally willing to believe that clarence thomas is a man willing to lie through his teeth, has desultory ethics and principles,and owes his wife big time, in a way that makes him need to allow her to pile up whatever money by whatever means, without questioning the reflection on him.

    exactly what course of action can you take when a supreme court justice is on the take? honestly, curious where this could lead.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    @kay: There was a time when I would have said that was a stretch.

    Sadly, no longer. When they claim they leave their lights on or their Hummer idling to piss off liberals; geez, keeping money has a side benefit.

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    Thomas and Thomas are both political activists. That’s all there is to it. That Justice Thomas happens to be in a job where he can’t be fired or even questioned for making ideology-driven decisions should raise the bar for conflict of interest on the part of his spouse. But rightly or wrongly things don’t currently work that way

  17. 17
    kay says:

    @WereBear:

    There was a time when I would have said that was a stretch.

    I’m getting it from Citizens, well, the conservative response to the attempts to mitigate the effects of Citizens.

    How SURE they are that it’s some kind of huge unlawful imposition to require people to disclose anything.

    That seems deeply ideological to me, and anti-transparency, as a concept.

    But no one can say they’re anti-transparency, so they don’t.

  18. 18

    Somewhat related to your post, i noticed recently that unless someone dies, TPM goes totally silent over weekends. Given all the major news that gets shuffled out in the friday news dump late enough that nobody covers it, it would seem they would have someone on the weekend desk to cover these types of stories. It’s sort of frustrating that they adopt traditional media publishing schedules, since they are all “new media” and that.

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I love them for sending a real human being to Wisconsin. I sent them an email!

    I’m sure they were all very flattered, passing it around and such… :)

    I’m loyal. Us attorney scandal + Wisconsin and they’re good for years with me.

  20. 20
    Pat says:

    Let’s just say I would not be surprised to learn if there is a connection between weinergate and the congressman pestering Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases where a conflict is clearly evident.

    I also believe that Supreme Court Justice SHOULD be held up to higher scrutiny than the average American citizen. After all, the decisions and “judgements” made by this group are of interest to the entire world, not only to the United States and its citizens. If any Justice does not like these demands for transparency, then by all means, return to private life and then no one will give a damn!

  21. 21
    inthewoods says:

    When Tim Geithner didn’t file his taxes correctly, the Right was besides themselves – where are they now?

  22. 22
    kay says:

    @inthewoods:

    Right. Which was bad. Of Geithner. So he had to explain for 3 weeks, or whatever.

    And that’s wasn’t a conflict question. It’s a why-in-the-hell does such a big shot use TurboTax question, to me, anyway.

    He must be extremely cheap.

  23. 23

    @kay: Yeah, that was a WTF. Seriously, the dude makes six figures a year, and runs a fed bank and he’s using TurboTax??

    Did he get it through his AOL account?

  24. 24
    kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Spread a little money around, MR WHEELS ‘O COMMERCE, and hire someone.

  25. 25
    Gina says:

    @kay: Considering the outrage of Charlie Rangel’s omission of income from his rental properties regarding his taxes, it seems that there is some support for the idea that powerful people, even if they’re really rich, should have an idea of how much they’re raking in.

    Another case of IOKIYAR? If so, I have to wonder at what point even the mainstream will start to question if this is the best we can do.

  26. 26
    Xenos says:

    Turbotax? We got our free copy through my spouse’s employer, a big-four accounting firm. When it buggered up the process for sorting out Massachusetts income from our New York Income we knew something was wrong and did that part by hand. No big deal. It is a tool, not a crutch. Although a crutch is a tool, I suppose. Analogy fail.

    Geithner has no excuse – he knew with every paycheck how the FICA withholding was done, so it was his job, not Turbotax’s, to know whether he needed to pay the half or the full amount.

    As for Justice Thomas, the obvious solution is impeachment, at least the formation of an investigatory committee. Even if it can’t go anywhere, you need to shout out, again and agian, that Citizens is a corrupt decision. No stomach to do what needs to be done, unfortunately.

  27. 27
    inthewoods says:

    @kay Yes, did not mean to imply that I think Geithner was innocent!

  28. 28
    kay says:

    @Gina:

    Considering the outrage of Charlie Rangel’s omission of income from his rental properties regarding his taxes

    I think the distinction there would be that Rangel was required to comport w/House rules.
    The problem with the SCOTUS is, there are no rules. It’s “embarrassing” it “casts doubt on the independence of the judiciary” and on and on, but there’s very few hard and fast rules that apply to them, apparently.
    Which is a problem for me, personally, because they’re the national “follow the rule” people, and I don’t know why they’d get special dispensation. Other judges don’t.
    Anyway, not having a hard and fast rule doesn’t mean people can’t and shouldn’t debate their conduct, so I don’t agree with this “oh, well, they have no requirements! Move on.” deal.

  29. 29
    Gina says:

    @kay:

    The problem with the SCOTUS is, there are no rules. It’s “embarrassing” it “casts doubt on the independence of the judiciary” and on and on, but there’s very few hard and fast rules that apply to them, apparently.
    Which is a problem for me, personally, because they’re the national “follow the rule” people, and I don’t know why they’d get special dispensation. Other judges don’t

    What’s hard for me to sort out is what rules DO actually apply. With the IOKIYAR thing muddying the waters especially.

    As far as my comment about the Rangel outrage, I was thinking in terms of popular perception and the blather from Real Murikens that had a decidedly populist tone when they were going on about the unstated income – their disdain seemed less about a legal issue than a philosophical one, so I’m surprised at how blatantly that seems to not matter in this case, rules or no rules.

  30. 30
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    Kay, thanks for keeping a focus on the Thomas angle of all this. I appreciate it.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    @kay:

    It’s hard to imagine anyone better suited to mount a pure heart, empty head defense.

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    @Gina:

    The Rangel thing was exacerbated by the fact that he was ranking member of Ways & Means, the committee that writes tax legislation.

  33. 33
    grandpajohn says:

    @Gina:

    I have to wonder at what point even the mainstream will start to question if this is the best we can do

    simple answer never, unless Doug can get that reign of terror thing going

  34. 34
    grandpajohn says:

    @Gina:

    Another case of IOKIYAR?

    Yes

    I have to wonder at what point even the mainstream will start to question if this is the best we can do

    Never, unless Doug can get that reign of terror thing going

  35. 35
    grandpajohn says:

    The problem with the SCOTUS is, there are no rules.

    Thing is, when the idea of a supreme court was introduced in the constitution it was written by people of integrity
    and honor in regards to their public behavior and thus they assumed that the person elected to be president and the legislative body who gave approval would have the same characteristics, so they would then appoint people to these positions who also had the same characteristics and therefore would not need rules of proper behavior Unfortunately the years since have proved that assumption to be incorrect.
    Originally,ability not political leanings were to be one of the chief qualifications to be appointed to the Supreme Court. My how times have Changed. Guess old Ben had the right idea about the difficulty of keeping the type government they gave us.

  36. 36
    HyperIon says:

    Kay wrote:

    I’m not on Twitter.

    Bless you, Kay.

  37. 37
    Lex says:

    @kay:

    are attempts to evade or ignore transparency requirements ideological w/them?

    Yeah, pretty much, at the federal level, although here in N.C., where the government historically has been controlled by Dems, some Dems are just as bad. A lot of local governments are nonpartisan, so it’s a little harder to say at that level. But at the federal level, yeah, definitely.

    In fact, as the recent discussion here on the book “Nixonland” highlighted, a whole lot that we don’t like about today’s politics and government has its roots in Republicanism of the Nixon era.

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