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Clarence Thomas, Public Enemy #1

Guest post by Jake

After spending the better part of the past two and a half years failing to sell us on Obamacare, the left is gearing up for a potential health care reform showdown in the nation’s highest court. With the most carefully considered and strategized plan to prevent Obamacare’s destruction, many on the left are poring through legal scholarship, getting anecdotal evidence, and . . . ha, just joking. They’re trying to intimidate the only black guy on the Supreme Court.

But I guess what is the left supposed to do at this juncture? Instead of putting forth a budget or a jobs plan to help the economy, Democrats have turned to their common role as race card players and “grandma-killing GOP” alarmists. Why would they expect that they have to do anything different when fighting the potential end of Obamacare? Nah, it’s better to launch an enormous coordinated effort to destroy credibility of distinguished jurist Clarence Thomas and eventually force him to give up his vote, or even his post, as a Supreme Court Justice. Many could say (this is my obligatory Obama strawman argument) that this is an unprecedented high-tech lynching of a brilliant Justice. However, it does have precedent. Heck, just about 20 years ago the left tried to do the same thing to scare Clarence Thomas from taking his position as Justice of the Supreme Court. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose.

The newest scandal dealing with the most ethically-challenged, despicable, disgraceful, insulting Justice in our nation’s history is . . . sit down, you don’t want to be standing up when you read this . . . he got a wealthy friend to help another man preserve and restore a cannery where Thomas’s mother once worked. Oh. That’s not, um, too sexy, but I bet Justice Thomas did it in a very unethical, evil, maniacal way and he needs to go.

Yep, that seems to be the gist of the scandal. Read it at the New York Times for yourself. To be honest, the New York Times did point to the many ethical scandals of Clarence Thomas, like having rich friends. I guess having friends who know somebody who know somebody who might be in front of the Supreme Court is wrong, becoming unethical under the “Sixth Degrees of Kevin Bacon” section of the Judicial Code of Conduct.

Keep in mind, it might not be wise to take the New York Times at its word. As we saw with the Breitbart/Weinergate situation, if anybody has ever made a mistake, he/she has lost all credibility. And I remember in 2008 a New York Times article alleging that John McCain was having an affair. The real story? Well, not so much.

Now as I type this, there is a tweet from Think Progress stating that 100,000 nimrods have signed a petition urging Justice Thomas to resign. Pathetic. Think Progress also has a tweet saying that Justice Thomas heard cases in which AEI filed a brief after AEI had given a gift to Justice Thomas!! OH MY STARS!!! Corruption, corruption, corruption. Well, actually, not really. AEI was never a party in the case, but facts don’t need to get in the way.

I guess part of this new pressure coming down results from the impromptu resignation of the face (and torso) of the Democratic Party, Anthony Weiner. Weiner was making the rounds (many times wearing clothes) on cable earlier this year, incomprehensibly screeching about how Justice Thomas should recuse himself from an Obamacare case in front of the Supreme Court, in the event that a case does get to the Supreme Court. Apparently, Justice Thomas’s wife has a job (consider her lucky in this economy that Weiner helped create) and part of that job entailed saying bad things about Obamacare! Not only that, but she was paid to do that job! Well I never. Granted, I would think that this would lead Justice Thomas to finding Obamacare constitutional so that his wife keeps her job, but I’m not a Congressman without morals, class, and decency.

There are some other accusations too, like Justice Thomas forgetting to report his wife’s income, gifts received, speaking engagements, his attendance at conferences, etc., but there is very little talk about what it is that Justice Thomas specifically is doing that is unethical. Unless you read Think Progress or Daily Kos, you won’t find too many outlets calling Justice Thomas corrupt. What you will read is that there is an appearance of corruption, and in that event Justice Thomas should recuse himself to preserve integrity and confidence in the Court.

This whole notion to the appearance of being influenced is a novel, easily manipulated test. It’s not a strict test for Supreme Court justices to follow. They have the discretion in deciding when they should recuse themselves in a case. Many times, this is to prevent the appearance of impropriety. In Justice Thomas’s case, it’s a concerted, relentless effort to take his predictable vote out of the ballgame. We know how Justice Thomas will vote. His jurisprudence is consistent (because of that whole nutty staying true to the Constitution thing he believes in). Justice Thomas isn’t going to be bought or persuaded by money or gifts if Obamacare gets up to the Supreme Court. However, to change the rules, many media outlets and law professors are pushing the adoption of the “appearance of impropriety” test. And, pray tell, how is the best way to give off the appearance of impropriety? Well, by having the media, elected officials, law professors, etc. spend many hours and ink making flimsy connections and half-assed accusations of ethical violations or corruption. Eventually, other media outlets and TV shows pick this up, maybe the late-night hosts start maybe jokes about it, and now it has become a part of the national dialogue. With his credibility destroyed, he has no other choice than to recuse himself and, possibly, resign in disgrace. Pathetic, but it’s still the best way to win the battle, I suppose. Just wake me up when the New York Times, Think Progress, and Daily Kos start investigating Kagan about how much of a role she played in drafting Obamacare.

I close by addressing my favorite aspect of this whole ordeal. Many left-wing blogs have compared Justice Thomas to Abe Fortas, a former Supreme Court justice who resigned amidst controversy. These blogs show a bullet-proof comparison between the two situations, saying that like Justice Thomas, Abe Fortas liked to associate with wealthy individuals, which apparently led him to resign. However, that’s not really the case. Abe Fortas signed a contract with the foundation of a Wall Street financier to get paid $20,000 a year for the rest of his life, and then his widow for the rest of hers. The financier was under criminal investigation, and it was expected that Fortas would help the financier stave off some of the charges or get a Presidential pardon. While Fortas denied the allegations, proof has come out to show that Fortas did broach the subject with LBJ. Plus, there were allegations of Fortas dodging taxes.

Any idiot can see the differences between these two situations (and that’s why I understand the liberal blogs are still running with these stories.) All that Justice Thomas has done wrong is befriending wealthy people. The best the left can do is allege that maybe his friends might know someone or something that comes in front of him. But this coordinated effort will not stop until Justice Thomas is gone. The media and the left lost badly when they tried to stop Thomas from getting to the bench. In what could be their last stand against him, the media and the left will pull out all the stops to finally eliminate Justice Thomas. Pathetic.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.

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