Louise Slaughter

The movement to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for impeachable offenses continues to gather momentum even as he thumbed his nose at critics in recent days by fund-raising for ultra-right critics and presiding over a celebration of his own heritage orchestrated by one of his billionaire financial supporters.

Antonin Scalia and Clarence ThomasNew York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, at left, a Democrat and the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, sent a follow-up letter Nov 18 to the U.S. Judicial Conference requesting that the Thomas failure to disclose required financial information be referred to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. This letter was signed by 52 House Democrats, compared to 20 who signed a similar letter in September.

Meanwhile, Thomas and fellow conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, portrayed above, were featured speakers at a fund-raiser by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal advocacy group seeking to shape court decision-making. The appearance of the lifetime appointees defied critics who point to judicial ethics restrictions on the appearance of impropriety. Separately, Thomas visited his birthplace of  Pin Point in Georgia to dedicate a museum in his honor founded with the financial support of Harlan Crow, a real estate tycoon who has been a major financial supporter of  the justice's wife, Virginia. Crow's money to help her found a consulting organization to take advantage of her husband's decisive vote in the 5-4 Citizens United ruling is part of the House Democrats' effort to obtain an impeachment investigation. Crow's affiliations include a board membership of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which for decades has advocated for political and policy changes in governance.

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Conservative French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called the euro "an idiotic currency" Nov. 2 at the National Press Club, and said she would push for a return toMarine Le Pen the franc if elected next April. She said the world economic system “seems to me to be completely out of control.”

A member the European Parliament and the leader of the Front National (FN) Party in France, she said the euro “is producing poverty, unemployment, de-industrialization, an explosion of inequality and everywhere, despair.” She called also for France to withdraw from Libya, and curtail immigration. I helped arranged the talk, and we are shown at left shortly before her Press Club speech. Her U.S. senior strategic advisor, Guido Lombardi, is in the photo by his daughter, Lejia, who also took the photo below left. Shortly afterward the room filled with about 50 journalists, including a half dozen television crews.

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Don SiegelmanA legal showdown of historic proportion unfolds Nov. 2 in an Alabama federal court. Squared off in Courtroom B4 beginning at 10 a.m. in Montgomery were the Obama Justice Department and its most important domestic defendant, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, once the leading Democrat in his state.

Frank Johnson CourthouseSiegelman wants the government to provide documents proving that Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary really withdrew from the case, as she claimed. The government contends he is not entitled to confidential government documents. After five years Siegelman has finally won a hearing on a request for documents that are central to his 2006 convictions on corruption charges. Middle District U.S. Magistrate-Judge Charles S. Coody, sitting under the authority of the district's Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller, presides in the courthouse shown below.

Beyond that, Siegelman is in the rare position of having witnesses step forward with evidence that his prosecutors and trial judge framed him. Meanwhile, Siegelman has been tried and sentenced to a lengthy prison term in what our Justice Integrity Project, among others, has described as the nation's most notorious political prosecution in decades. Some of us have documented this many times, with both sources and official denials in the links below.

The main and more novel focus of my column today is how this case exemplifies others around the nation whereby the Obama administration fails to protect our precious legacy of due process. Already, this disgraceful pattern has deeply damaged Obama's reputation and re-election chances.

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GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain Oct. 31 denied a claim of staff sexual harassment that's grabbing headlines and outlined at a National Press Club lunch how he would revitalize the country with his tax plan. The former businessman and radio host, portrayed below in a club photo courtesy of Al Teich, finished his Q&A by Herman Cainsinging a deep-voiced version of a spiritual.

As part of volunteer services that club members render, I was asked to cover the event for the Wire, the club's internal publication for its more than 3,000 members. Before the speech started I asked Cain what he'd suggest as the headline for my story. "Common sense!" he responded with a smile. Below is an adaptation of the report I filed about the come-from-behind candidate who now leads in the latest polls of Republican candidates, or is tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- but now faces scandal allegations.

Club President Mark Hamrick, who works for the Associated Press in its broadcasting and online unit, began Q&A by asking Cain about a Politico report Oct. 30 that the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s paid two former staff members to settle their claims that Cain, as CEO, had sexually harassed them. The moderator of an earlier event on tax policy run by the American Enterprise Association had cut off a questioner who tried to ask about the report, with the moderator saying it would likely be addressed at the Press Club.

“I would be delighted to clear the air,” Cain responded. “I have never sexually harassed anyone and these accusations are totally false.” Cain, nearing his 66th birthday, said he didn’t know details of any settlement by the association, as alleged by Politico. “I recused myself,” Cain said, “and allowed my general counsel and my human resource officer to deal with the situation -- and it was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis.” Update: Cain told Fox News in an interview later in the day that he recalled a settlement. See below.

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The Supreme Court fulfills its vital role in preserving democracy by earning public confidence, as Justice Stephen Breyer told a packed hall last week in Washington, DC. But his lecture and book, Making Our Democracy Work, glossed over current controversies, such as the "Virginia and Clarence ThoStephen Breyermas Bought By Billionaires" ad released this week.

My purpose here is to illustrate how one of the top ambassadors for the court responds to specific allegations of corruption that are seldom raised officially in Washington because the court has such power. So, this column focuses more on Breyer's Oct. 27 responses than on the evidence, which is best available via the links below.

Fresh from a National Press Club lecture the previous night where retired federal judge Lillian McEwen said Justice  Thomas should resign on grounds of corruption, I asked Breyer during Q&A how the court decides on its responses to inquiries. I identified myself as reporting on this year's allegations of bribery and false statement by Thomas, and said I've received no comment from Thomas. Breyer, at left, responded that he guides the court's spokeswoman when a matter pertains to himself, and has seven volumes of ethics books and also trusted ethics advisers that he consults on difficult issues. When a follow-up questioner asked Breyer about abortion, he ducked by joking, "We've already had a reporter gently try to bring up something," and smiling as he waved his hands at his side, as if to shoo away a beggar.

Breyer's inclination at the forum to gloss over current controversy is one way to preserve the court's stature. Another has been his 2010 book, a national best-seller that was strongly praised by the New York Times, Washington Post and other establishment opinion-leaders and information gatekeepers. But not everyone was bedazzled. McEwen, author of DC Unmasked and Undressed this year, a former law professor and my guest at this event, told me it seemed like a warmed-over speech for a civics class, not one for a sophisticated DC audience.

Clarence and Virginia Thomas...Bought by BillionairesThe lecture did not address the revelations by Common Cause and others this year of false statements by Thomas in his sworn annual disclosure statements to hide an estimated $1.6 million in reportable income and gifts for him and his wife, Virginia. Forty-six House Democrats  have called for a House impeachment probe.

Protect our Elections.org is a progressive group that says it has been working with the FBI since July on an investigation of Thomas and his wife. This week published the ad above, headlined, "Clarence and Virginia Thomas: Bought By Billionaires." The text is about David Koch, at far right, and Harlan Crow, shown between the Thomas couple. It says:

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David StewartDavid O. Stewart, a noted historian and legal scholar, joins the Oct. 27 edition of the MTL Washington Update radio series Oct. 27 to discuss his latest book, American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America, which was released this week. Join him, my co-host Scott Draughon and me with your questions on the live show, available worldwide on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) network founded by Draughon. Click here to listen live or later by archive. For questions and comments, call (866) 685-7469 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Mac users need “Parallels.”

Stewart, a prominent Washington-based litigator as well as author, has a rare gift of drawing timely lessons from his historical research in a popular manner, as he did last month in the Huffington Post in describing how Burr's "non-partianship" helped make him a target more than two centuries ago. This month Stewart explored how the charge of "treason" is affecting high-stakes U.S. politics these days, just as it did at the nation's founding. He debunks today's claims as having little in common with real-life fears when treason law developed. He began his Huffington Post column, Treason on the Cheap, thus:

It's called "the king of crimes." In political debate, it can serve as the ace of trumps, an incendiary accusation that appeals to emotion rather than reason. And, like much in our culture, it has been cheapened almost beyond recognition. Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate, started the latest round of treason-slinging, denouncing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's anti-recession policies as "almost treasonous." Fellow Republican Jon Huntsman turned the tables, claiming that Perry's statement that U.S. borders probably cannot be secured is "pretty much a treasonous statement."

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