Thomas Must Resign, Says Former Judge, Lover

Author and former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel Lillian McEwen, whose memoir this year describes a five-year romantic relationship in the 1980s with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will deliver a lecture Oct. 26 calling for his resignation on grounds of corruption that is dangerous to the public.

“The mask he has worn for so long has slipped during the past 20 years to reveal dishonesty, greed, and abuse of the public trust,” she told me in an exclusive interview before her talk at the National Press Club at 7 p.m. (ET). “Fueled by self-hatred and resentment, Justice Thomas has allowed himself to be purchased.”

Update with my video interview: Clarence Thomas—perjurer, tax cheat, fanatic, party operative—has GOT TO GO, declares Judge Lillian McEwen (his former lover).

Her comments come during widespread concern among court scholars over its ethics, partisanship and the adverse impact on the public. "The Supreme Court," says the cover of the widely respected Closed Chambers analysis by former court clerk Edward Lazarus, "affects the life of every American every day." Part of the concern has been visible in many retrospectives this month on the 20th anniversary of the Thomas confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee, in which he denied sexually harassing his former staffer Anita Hill. But, as reflected below, the criticism recently has gone far beyond Thomas to reflect dismay about an unaccountable judiciary. Some on the bench accept money and gifts from those with interests before the courts and, recently in the case of Thomas, brag that they do not need to follow precedent if they want to change the law.

"This is going to be a big year for the Supreme Court," says Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron, whose group fought the Thomas nomination and, as described in a new column here, A Question of Integrity Hangs Over the U.S. Supreme Court, is launching a documentary next Tuesday portraying the court's failings. "This election cycle is going to remind everyone of the effects of its infamous Citizens United decision, as vast sums of corporate money flood the electoral system."

Clarence Thomas  Thomas has ignored requests for comment aside from occasional and largely oblique denials of irregularities.

McEwen’s lecture will be the first time she provides a view on the justice’s overall fitness to serve based on her varied experiences with him and as part of Washington's legal community. The retired judge at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year published a blunt memoir, DC Unmasked and Undressed. In a powerful narrative style that largely avoids politics and policy, it recounts her search for happiness in law and romance after a harsh childhood with cruel parents in then-segregated Washington, DC. She says she decided to break up with Thomas before his current marriage in 1987, his second, but before then had experiences with him that suggest to her that he perjured himself in his 1991 confirmation testimony about Hill.

The Senate committee chaired by Joe Biden failed to call witnesses who could have supported Hill publicly. The conservative group Citizens United had mounted a television ad campaign backing Thomas and targeting Biden and two other prominent Senate Democrats for what it called their past scandals.

The campaign,devised by Citizens United founder Floyd Brown following his 1988 successes with the notorious "Willie Horton" presidential ads, ridiculed Biden and his colleagues Ted Kennedy and Alan Cranston, with a headline, "Who Will Judge the Judge?" McEwen was by then a former counsel to the committee while Biden was chairman. She says Biden and others on staff knew during the confirmation battle that she had dated Thomas during the years he supervised Hill at the Reagan Administration's Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and Department of Education.

Her Oct. 26 lecture with Q&A, however, pertains primarily to what she describes as an overall pattern of Thomas deceptions that includes his family life, best-selling 2007 autobiography, My Grandfather's Son, and his search for wealth and approval among wealthy backers.

Those kinds of suspicions exploded into scandal earlier this year over the justice’s false statements on his annual federal judicial disclosure forms. As first documented by Common Cause in January, he failed to disclose what critics compute as at least $1.6 million in benefits to his household, much of it payments to his wife, Virginia. Year after year, the justice falsely denied on the simple, sworn forms that his wife received reportable income, according to the revised forms he submitted after Common Cause exposed the scandal in January, initially through a Los Angeles Times article. The non-partisan reform group has an updated chart here of allegations. The Alliance for Justice has a more general report on court ethics here.

Since then critics in Congress, public interest groups and the press have documented conflict of interest, false statement and bribery allegations involving at least two of the nation’s most important cases of the past century, each decided on 5-4 votes with Thomas casting a deciding vote.

Bush v. Gore in effect awarded the 2000 presidency to the Bush administration by halting the Florida recount at a time when Thomas was arguably conflicted by his wife's work leading Bush transition planning for the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing advocacy group. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission last year upended federal election law by removing restrictions on campaign contributions by corporations and unions under the majority’s theory that the law unduly burdens their First Amendment rights. 

Apparently seeking to cash in on the forthcoming decision, Virginia Thomas obtained $500,000 in November 2009 from real estate mogul Harlan Crow, according to documents now public. The documents show that promptly after the court announced the decision in January 2010 she created Liberty Central, a 501 (c-4) organization that would pay her $495,000 in salary to lead a group that would help corporations perform effectively under the wide-open election system the court put in place nationally.

Forty-six House Democrats have called for an FBI and/or House impeachment probe. On Oct. 25, a progressive group called Protect Our Elections posted an ad headlined,
"Clarence and Virginia Thomas...Bought by Billionaires," and shown below.

Clarence and Virginia Thomas...Bought by Billionaires

The explanatory text begins:

Virginia, Harlan, Clarence and David have been having a good laugh at our expense. How much longer will we let this go on? America’s citizens have had it with people in power who violate the law. That includes Clarence Thomas who has used his position as a Supreme Court Justice to flout the law and enrich himself, his wife and their cronies through corrupt backroom deals with billionaires Harlan Crow, and Charles and David Koch.

Also, the group posted a 12-page, single-space summary of false statement, bribery evidence against Clarence and Virginia Thomas, which it says it sent to the FBI in July as part of an ongoing dialogue with the FBI and members of Congress. Kevin Zeese, counsel for Protect Our Elections.org and an affiliated group, Accountability in Justice, says prosecuting Clarence Thomas should be the top priority for anyone concerned about ethics in government because Thomas is "corrupter No. 1" among all of the nation's high-level government officials in terms of documented evidence of crime. For months, Zeese has also been one of the main organizers preparing for an Occupy Wall Street offshoot now located at Freedom Plaza near the White House. He says the Freedom Plaza protests resulting in 19 arrests Oct. 15 at the Supreme Court are just the beginning of its campaign against Thomas and his court colleagues who fail to provide oversight against internal lawbreaking and corrupt rulings.

Kathleen Arberg, the court spokeswoman, told Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery that the Thomas omissions on his disclosure forms were "inadvertent," as Bendery reported in Democrats Ramp Up Calls For Ethics Probe Of Clarence Thomas. Thomas declines comment, as does his friend and benefactor, Harlan Crow, heir to the Trammell Crow real estate fortune and an active advocate for extreme right-wing causes and donations benefitting the Thomas family and legacy. But Politico reported Thomas to have told a February meeting of conservative supporters at Liberty University closed to the media that he and his wife will continue to fight for liberty despite attacks, as described here: Defiant Clarence Thomas fires back.

Similarly, right-wing legal scholar John Yoo, author of notorious memos at the Bush administration justifying torture and now a professor of the Boalt Hall law school at the University of California, published an op-ed Oct. 22 in the Wall Street Journal, Twenty Years of Justice Thomas, applauding the career.

Justice Thomas's two decades on the bench show the simple power of ideas over the pettiness of our politics. Media and academic elites have spent the last 20 years trying to marginalize him by drawing a portrait of a man stung by his confirmation, angry at his rejection by the civil rights community, and a blind follower of fellow conservatives. But Justice Thomas has broken through this partisan fog to convince the court to adopt many of his positions, and to become a beacon to the grass-roots movement to restrain government spending and reduce the size of the welfare state.

Clarence Thomas set the table for the tea party by making originalism fashionable again. Many appointees to the court enjoy its role as arbiter of society's most divisive questions—race, abortion, religion, gay rights and national security—and show little desire to control their own power. Antonin Scalia, at best, thinks interpreting the Constitution based on its original meaning is "the lesser evil," as he wrote in a 1989 law journal article, because it prevents judges from pursuing their own personal policies. Justice Thomas, however, thinks that the meaning of the Constitution held at its ratification binds the United States as a political community, and that decades of precedent must be scraped off the original Constitution like barnacles on a ship's hull (Emphasis added).

More generally, the allegations of criminal and ethics violations arise at time of rising concern about the power of judges and their lack of accountability. The Washington Post reported this week that six of eight leading GOP presidential candidates are calling for sharp new restrictions on the power of judges.

Glenn GreenwaldCommentator Glenn Greenwald, right, published an important new book this week, With Liberty and Justice for Some, describing how the courts have created a two-tiered legal system:

As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? It is now clearly understood that, rather than apply the law equally to all, Wall Street tycoons have engaged in egregious criminality -- acts which destroyed the economic security of millions of people around the world -- without experiencing the slightest legal repercussions. Today, it is glaringly obvious to a wide range of Americans that the wealth of the top 1% is the byproduct not of risk-taking entrepreneurship, but of corrupted control of our legal and political systems....

In lieu of the rule of law -- the equal application of rules to everyone -- what we have now is a two-tiered justice system in which the powerful are immunized while the powerless are punished with increasing mercilessness. As a guarantor of outcomes, the law has, by now, been so completely perverted that it is an incomparably potent weapon for entrenching inequality further, controlling the powerless, and ensuring corrupted outcomes (Emphasis added).

Into this debate comes McEwen, whom I got to know this summer from reading her compelling memoir and interviewing her Sept. 22 on my weekly public affairs radio show, Washington Update. This week I suggested her speaking invitation before the McClendon Group at the Press Club, which hosts newsmakers with important stories who may be overlooked by deadline-driven media. Previous speakers have included Congressman Ron Paul, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, and future Obama National Security advisor James Clapper.

The McClendon Group, named for longtime White house correspondent Sarah McClendon, has been chaired for many years by her former staffer John E. Hurley, whose many civic posts included membership on the Justice Integrity Project's board of directors. As usual, the discussion will begin with a "Dutch Treat" dinner at 6:30 and a lecture at 7 p.m. followed by Q&A. Club rules ban microphones or photo at these gatherings but note-taking is permitted for the on-the-record remarks.

My prediction is that the smallish room will be packed beyond its capacity of about 50, including those standing, and that this will be a landmark in the historic public debate about whether criminal law and related ethics considerations can apply to Supreme Court justices who feel free tochange the law to accommodate their supporters under the guise that only justices can imagine what Founders would decide.

McEwen has a unique perspective as not only a companion of Thomas for what she describes as five of his formative years in Washington, but also as a former federal prosecutor, defense litigator and law professor, at Howard University. As a further preview of her remarks, she told me that by the time she ended the relationship with him, she had introduced him to Plato's Retreat, threesomes, and sexual fantasies, and heard him talk about exactly the same porno star, Long Dong Silver, that he specifically denied in his confirmation hearing as ever mentioning to Anita Hill

“He transformed himself,” she says more generlly, “from a self-pitying alcoholic into a campaigner who gave speeches for Republican candidates and causes all over the United States. His reward would be a seat on the Supreme Court.”

But, in her words, “He had turned into a bully, a religious hypocrite, and a very angry man as a result of the masks that he had to wear in order to please the Republican conservatives and evangelicals who would support his nomination.”

The slogan, "To be continued," seems especially apt here.

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment


 

Updated Sources
Justice Integrity Project, 52 House Dems Seek Thomas Impeachment Probe, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 21, 2011. The movement to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Slaughter 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.

Savannah Now / Savannah Morning News, A monumental day at Pin Point, Chuck Mobley, Nov. 20, 2011. With a powerful and poignant mixture of preaching and preservation, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the community of Pin Point celebrated the unveiling of a historical marker and the dedication of a heritage museum Saturday. I am a son of Pin Point,” said Thomas, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Washington Post, Clarence Thomas attends hometown museum dedication; source of funding for institution prompts questions, Robert Barnes, Nov. 20, 2011. On a crisp morning, Thomas helped dedicate a Georgia historical marker noting the importance of Pin Point, where his birth and elevation to the Supreme Court was not the first accomplishment but simply the most recent. And then, with the rest of the crowd, he walked the 7/10s of a mile to the other end of a community too small to be called a town.  There, a whitewashed new Pin Point Heritage Museum has taken the place of the seafood cannery where his mother once worked while her baby rested in a crab basket. Its aim is to tell the rich story of the freed Sea Islands slaves who founded Pin Point, and to preserve what some historians say is the last piece of Georgia coastline still owned mostly by African Americans.  “Let us just savor this miracle,” Thomas said when it was his turn at the pulpit of his mother’s packed Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. “Pin Point has a chance to survive.”  Pin Point is the world into which Thomas was born, but the museum is owed to the world in which Thomas now lives. His friend Harlan Crow, a wealthy Dallas developer who also donates to conservative political causes, has spent millions of dollars on the project. Comment section.
 
Huffington Post, Clarence Thomas Assailed for Alleged Ethical Lapses by More House Dems, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is turning up the heat on Justice Clarence Thomas based on new information that builds upon previous reports of his alleged ethical lapses. In late September, Slaughter had sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States to request official action on Thomas' multiyear failure to disclose his wife's income from various conservative think tanks and activist organizations.The Judicial Conference is the principal policy-making and administrative body for the federal court system. On Friday, Slaughter submitted a new letter, this time addressed to Chief Justice John Roberts in his capacity as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference, to update and clarify the September letter. Only 19 other members of Congress joined her September letter; Friday's letter had the support of another 51 members. At issue is the fact that Thomas repeatedly checked a box titled "none" on annual financial disclosure forms in response to a question about the sources of spousal income. Yet during those years, his wife, Virginia Thomas, worked for the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and for the Tea Party lobbying group Liberty Central, which she helped found.  The first letter asserted that Thomas' nondisclosures persisted "[t]hroughout his entire tenure of the Supreme Court," which began in 1991. It was fair to infer from his "high level of legal training and experience," Slaughter wrote, that the justice's failure presented the type of "willful" behavior that federal law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Department of Justice for investigation.
 
Protect our Elections.org: Clarence and Virginia Thomas: Bought By Billionaires, Oct. 25, 2011. Virginia, Harlan, Clarence and David have been having a good laugh at our expense. How much longer will we let this go on? America’s citizens have had it with people in power who violate the law. That includes Clarence Thomas who has used his position as a Supreme Court Justice to flout the law and enrich himself, his wife and their cronies through corrupt backroom deals with billionaires Harlan Crow, and Charles and David Koch.
 
Mark Crispin Miller’s News From Underground, Clarence Thomas—perjurer, tax cheat, fanatic, party operative—has GOT TO GO, declares Judge Lillian McEwen (his former lover), Andrew Kreig Interview of Lillian McEwen, Oct. 26, 2011.
 
Huffington Post, A Question of Integrity Hangs Over the U.S. Supreme Court, Nan Aron, Oct. 24, 2011. This is going to be a big year for the Supreme Court. This election cycle is going to remind everyone of the effects of its infamous Citizens United decision, as vast sums of corporate money flood the electoral system. The blockbuster healthcare case could be heard and decided right in the middle of the presidential campaign. Big cases are on the Court's docket that deal with civil liberties, personal privacy, consumer rights, the environment, the rights of citizens to use the courts to seek justice, and, of course, corporate power. Last week, protesters, including Princeton professor Dr. Cornell West, were arrested outside the Supreme Court, carrying signs saying "Human Need, Not Corporate Greed." At the same time, public faith in the Court as an institution is falling. Gallup reports that the Court's approval rating has plummeted to 46 percent, close to an all-time low.
 
John YooWall Street Journal, Twenty Years of Justice Thomas, John Yoo, left, Oct. 22, 2011. This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Clarence Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court. In his first two decades on the bench, Justice Thomas has established himself as the original Constitution's greatest defender against elite efforts at social engineering. His stances for limited government and individual freedom make him the left's lightning rod and the tea party's intellectual godfather. And he is only halfway through the 40 years he may sit on the high court.
 
OpEd News, Judging the Judge: Citizens Must Unite After 20 Years of Clarence Thomas, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 19, 2011. The Clarence Thomas era on the court began 20 years ago with a fraud upon the public at his White House "swearing in" and has expanded into ongoing infamy.
 
Reinbach Observer, The Case Against Clarence Thomas, Andrew Reinbach, Oct. 19, 2011. When is official Washington going to do more than talk about Clarence Thomas?  After all the issues raised this year about the Associate Justice–including apparent perjury on his financial disclosure forms, his intriguing connections to the Koch Brothers and to Harlan Crow, and apparent bribery–you’d think the Justice himself would be calling for an official investigation just to clear his name.  But no. Aside some elliptical references to the waters rising around him, Mr. Justice Thomas seems to think silence is his best bet.
 
Washington Post, Enjoying basic loyalty, despite dip in popularity, Robert Barnes, Oct. 17, 2011. Gallup has announced that only 46 percent of Americans approve of the institution, a drop of 5 percentage points in the past year and 15 points in the past two years. “The same forces that have caused Americans to lose trust in the presidency and Congress appear to be affecting the way Americans view the Supreme Court,” Gallup said in a report accompanying the poll. “In addition to the public’s lower level of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government today than in recent years, the Supreme Court’s approval ratings — like those of Congress and the president — are in the lower range historically.”  Newt Gingrich says the Supreme Court is so far off base that its decisions would be practically non grata in his White House. “I would instruct the national security official in a Gingrich administration to ignore the Supreme Court on issues of national security,” he told the conservatives gathering at the Values Voters Summit.

Associated Press / Washington Post, Activist Cornel West among 19 people arrested for protesting on steps of Supreme Court, Oct. 16, 2011. Author, commentator, civil rights activist and Princeton University professor Cornel West has been arrested while protesting on the steps of the Supreme Court about corporate influence in politics. A Supreme Court spokeswoman says 19 people were arrested Sunday afternoon after they refused to leave the grounds of the court.
 
C-SPAN, Anita Hill 20 Years Later, Oct. 15, 2011  (Video). An all-day conference titled "Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later" was on the Hunter campus in New York City. Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Senate confirmation hearings in 1991, was keynote speaker. Hill is now a professor at Brandeis University. Among two dozen other speakers were Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist; Gloria Steinem, author and co-founder of Ms. Magazine; New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, and Hunter Provost Vita Rabinowitz.
 
 
Huffington Post, OWS and the 99 Percent After 20 Years of Clarence Thomas, Nan Aron, Oct. 14, 2011. As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows in size and intensity by the day, it's worth noting that Saturday marks the twentieth anniversary of the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. In our view, one has led directly to the other. Since he took his seat in 1991, Justice Thomas has become the almost perfect distillation of the ultra-conservative agenda -- the pointy end of the spear of corporatism and social conservatism on the Supreme Court. Jeffrey Toobin, in a recent article in The New Yorker, called him "probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties," whose "views both reflect and inspire the Tea Party movement." 

Guardian, Clarence Thomas's conservatism: The first 20 years, Jason Farago, Oct. 13, 2011.  The enigmatic judge keeps a low profile; yet, time is very much on the side of the supreme court's most reactionary justice

National Public Radio, The Ripple Effect, Nina Totenberg, Oct. 11, 2011. Twenty years ago Tuesday, the nation was spellbound by a political and sexual drama that played out before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Following an NPR report, the committee was forced to hold a second round of confirmation hearings to examine allegations it had previously ignored about Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill said she had been sexually harassed by Thomas when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the hearings probing that charge would change America's political, judicial and cultural landscape forever. But, while the Thomas confirmation hearings would have a profound effect on the country, Justice Clarence Thomas has proved to be a lightning rod, an enigma and, perhaps, a justice of prophetic vision.

Daily Beast, Surviving Clarence, Leslie Bennetts, Oct. 3, 2011. On a balmy Indian-summer afternoon in Waltham, Mass., a slender, attractive 55-year-old professor welcomes a visitor to her modest office at Brandeis University to talk about the historic scandal that transformed the national debate over sexual harassment two decades ago. Calm and as cheerful as her bright tomato-red cardigan, Anita Hill smiles wryly when asked if she suffered from posttraumatic stress after testifying at Justice Clarence Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where she was pilloried for revealing the way she said he behaved as her boss in two different jobs. “It was traumatic,” acknowledges Hill, who teaches public policy, law, and women’s studies at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. “It hurt, and it hurt people I cared about. But I was determined not to be defeated by people who tried to make me out to be something I wasn’t.”

Washington Post, For Anita Hill, the Clarence Thomas hearings haven’t really ended, Krissah Thompson, Oct. 7, 2011.Twenty years ago, when Anita Hill returned home from the contentious Senate hearings during which she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, people told her not to worry — her name would be forgotten in a matter of months. But two things have become clear this week as she has re-entered the debate: The raw tensions over race, gender and politics raised by the hearings have not been forgotten. And Anita Hill is acting like a woman who wants her name remembered.

Huffington Post, Clarence's Questions, Part 1: The Case Of The Burning Cross, Oct. 7, 2011. Justice Clarence Thomas has not asked a question at a Supreme Court oral argument since Feb. 22, 2006. Many have commented on the meaning of his reticence, and Thomas himself -- who is as loquacious in speaking engagements as he is mum on the bench -- has put forward several explanations for his opting out of the lively back-and-forth among his eight colleagues and the lawyers who appear before them. But this series is called "Clarence's Questions," and not "Quiet Clarence," for a reason: As his sixth anniversary of self-imposed silence approaches this term and his third decade on the Court begins, it's worth examining the moments when Justice Thomas felt compelled to step into the fray.

Justice Integrity Project, Common Cause CEO Ramps Up Call for Thomas Probe, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 6, 2011. Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar Oct. 6 ramped up his group's call for a Justice Department probe of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on ethics issues. Speaking on the Washington Update weekly radio show I host Scott Draughon, Edgar cited new evidence to argue that federal judicial authorities should refer the matter to the DOJ.

Anita HillWashington Post, The legacy of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, Ruth Marcus, Oct. 6, 2011.Even now, with the healing distance of two decades, the subject of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas retains its power to provoke and divide.  It was 20 years ago this month that Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment surfaced, threatening to derail Thomas’s imminent confirmation to the Supreme Court. I spent the weekend-long marathon of hearings in the Senate Caucus Room, the majestic setting of soaring marble columns and gilded ceiling contrasting with the squalid details of Hill’s allegations.  It was both riveting and horrifying. By the time the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings were gaveled to a close at 2 a.m. Monday, I — like everyone else — was simply relieved that it was over.

Huffington Post, Democrats Ramp Up Calls For Ethics Probe Of Clarence Thomas, Jennifer Bendery, Oct. 5, 2011. House Democrats are ratcheting up the pressure for a formal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to disclose information relating to his wife's earnings -- as much as $1.6 million over the past 13 years -- on his annual financial disclosure forms. House Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), right, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee calling for hearings "on the pattern of potential ethical lapses" by Thomas, who, after years of filing his financial forms properly, stopped disclosing his wife Ginny's employment status every year between 1997 and 2011. During that time, the letter states, his wife made at least $1.6 million, based on reports from outside groups.  "Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law," reads the letter to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.). "In addition, news reports indicate that Justice Thomas may have also failed to report gifts from wealthy supporters and inappropriately solicited donations for favored non-profit organizations."


Bob EdgarCommon Cause / Alliance for Justice, Citing new evidence, Common Cause and Alliance for Justice urge formal investigation of Justice Thomas’ disclosure failures, Oct. 5, 2011. Emerging details about gaps in annual financial disclosure reports filed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggest that the justice deliberately withheld information required by federal ethics laws, Common Cause said today.  “There is now more than enough evidence to merit a formal inquiry as to whether Justice Thomas willfully failed to make legally required disclosures, perhaps for as long as 13 years,” said Bob Edgar, president of the non-profit government watchdog group. As a result, Common Cause joined with Alliance for Justice on Wednesday, in a letter asking the U.S. Judicial Conference to refer the matter to the Attorney General for possible action under the Ethics in Government Act. Emerging details about gaps in annual financial disclosure reports filed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggest that the justice deliberately withheld information required by federal ethics laws, Common Cause said today.

OpEd News, Reform Teams Must Fight for the Dream, But Do It Much Better, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 4, 2011. As the Supreme Court begins its annual term on Oct. 3, I'd like to share suggestions below on how legal reformers -- our team, in other words -- can be much more effective in achieving results. That's the dream. But reformers face huge challenges that require new approaches to fight due process violations and other wrongdoing that appears to extend high into the legal system.

Justice Integrity Project, Reform Teams Must Fight for the Dream, But Much Better, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 3, 2011. As the Supreme Court begins its annual term today, Oct. 3, I'd like to share suggestions below on how legal reformers -- our team, in other words -- can be much more effective in achieving results. That’s the dream. But the reality is that we face huge challenges that require new approaches to fight due process violations and other wrongdoing that appears to extend high into the legal system.

Counterpunch, Supreme Court Scandal Widens: Koch Entertained Justice Thomas At His Private Club, Pam Martens, Oct. 3, 2011. For the past three years the U.S. has been served up a heaping dose of free market creative destruction that is the sine qua non of legions of corporate funded front groups. First Wall Street, then housing, now the nation’s highest court have been brought low by its force. As it turns out, creative destruction is 90 percent corruption and 10 percent creative.
 
Justice Integrity Project, Troy Davis, Clarence Thomas -- and Georgia On Our Minds, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 26, 2011. Georgia’s shameful execution of Troy Davis on Sept. 21 prompts me to share the research tools below even though many other injustices, obviously, are constantly occurring around the world. Three decades ago, I researched a Georgia case involving Jerry Lee Banks, a young man black man sentenced to death for a white woman's murder after he could afford only to pay his defense lawyer $10 and a kettle of fish. For that fee, the defense lawyer never called key witnesses who could have proven innocence. the lawyer, later disbarred in another case, created as an appeal only a semi-religious poem never actually mailed to a court. The clear-cut facts of the Banks frame-up and prompt death sentence reversed my view about whether a completely innocent person could be convicted under our modern legal system.
 
OpEd News, Clarence Thomas' Lover Reflects On DC Life, Love, Law, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 22, 2011.
 
New Yorker / Annals of Law, Partners: Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan? Jeffrey Toobin, Aug. 29, 2011.  As the Justice has assumed an influential role on the Roberts Court, his wife has helped lead the public war against the Administration.  It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas.  These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

Legal Schnauzer, The Road from Clarence Thomas to Harlan Crow Runs Close to Home, Roger Shuler, June 27, 2011. Mounting evidence indicates Justice Clarence Thomas is so ethically compromised that he should be removed from the U.S. Supreme Court. The latest evidence comes from a New York Times piece about Thomas' ties to a Texas real-estate baron named Harlan Crow. We have discovered that the Thomas/Crow story, in a roundabout way, links to one of our storylines here at Legal Schnauzer. In fact, our story is about judicial chicanery in Alabama, the kind that favors the wealthy over regular citizens. That theme should sound familiar if you have been following the trail of Clarence Thomas' numerous ethical lapses. And it raises this question: How far will some wealthy Americans go to buy justice? The answer, in the case of Harlan Crow, appears to be "pretty darned far." When you examine the actions of another wealthy titan, a man whose family has ties to Harlan Crow, you get the same answer.

New York Times, Thomas' ties to a Texas real-estate baron named Harlan, Mike McIntire, June 27, 2011. The two men met in the mid-1990s, a few years after Justice Thomas joined the court. Since then, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow’s Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas. In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow’s largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges.

Slate, Clarence Thomas writes one of the meanest Supreme Court decisions ever, Dahlia Lithwick, April 1, 2011. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are at pains to say that New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick was not aware of or responsible for his subordinates' unconstitutional conduct, except—as Justice Ruth Ginsburg points out—that Connick acknowledged that he misunderstood Brady, acknowledged that his prosecutors "were coming fresh out of law school," acknowledged he didn't know whether they had Brady training, and acknowledged that he himself had 'stopped reading law books … and looking at opinions' when he was first elected District Attorney in 1974." And Connick also conceded that holding his underlings to the highest Brady standards would "make [his] job more difficult."

Politico, Defiant Clarence Thomas fires back: Clarence Thomas says that he and his wife 'are focused on defending liberty, Kenneth P. Vogel, Feb. 27, 2011. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – his impartiality under attack from liberals because of his attendance at a meeting of conservative donors sponsored by the Koch brothers and his wife’s tea party activism – struck a defiant tone in a Saturday night speech in Charlottesville, Va., telling a friendly audience that he and his wife “believe in the same things” and “are focused on defending liberty.”  Delivering the keynote speech at an annual symposium for conservative law students, Thomas spoke in vague, but ominous, terms about the direction of the country and urged his listeners to “redouble your efforts to learn about our country so that you’re in a position to defend it.” He also lashed out at his critics, without naming them, asserting they “seem bent on undermining” the High Court as an institution. Such criticism, Thomas warned, could erode the ability of American citizens to fend off threats to their way of life.
 
Counterpunch, Why Judicial Corruption is Invisible, Dec. 10, 2010. John Barth, Jr. We all would like to believe that, as when we were children in a family, there is in our society a final authority to whom we can turn in case we are seriously wronged. We are not predisposed to believe the accusers of the judicial process any more than the detractors of Santa Claus. Perhaps critics are merely sore losers or angry convicts, and perhaps judicial misconduct would be exposed by appeals courts or the mass media, and corrected. Why guess our way without the facts? Such pre-dispositions held by many otherwise educated adults allow pervasive institutional corruption of the judicial branch to remain hidden.

Washington Post, Clarence Thomas's wife calls Anita Hill, stirring an old controversy, Karen Tumulty and Kevin Merida, Oct. 20, 2010. Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas: An enduring mystery. Virginia Thomas's phone call to her husband's accuser adds another strange twist to a nearly 20-year-old controversy  The decision by the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to confront the woman who accused him of sexual harassment two decades ago has stirred up old and painful questions that have never fully been put to rest.