20 Dem Reps: DOJ Should Investigate Clarence Thomas

Twenty Democratic members of Congress wrote federal judicial authorities on Sept. 29 to request a formal Justice Department probe of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas for long-term Clarence Thomasfailures to disclose junkets, other gifts and income.

A coalition of both black and white Democrats told the Judicial Conference of the United States that it is required by law to seek a Justice Department investigation of the new allegations against Thomas
and his wife, the Republican political activist Virginia Lamp Thomas.
Most of the allegations became public this year. They involve claims of undisclosed gifts, junkets, income and other conflicts, along with the justice's failure to report his wife's earnings on annual judicial disclosure forms that he signed under oath.

“Due to the simplicity of the disclosure requirements, along with Justice Thomas’s high level of legal training and experience,” said the congressional letter to the conference secretary  James C. Duff, “it is reasonable to infer that his failure to disclose his wife’s income for two decades was willful, and the Judicial Conference has a non-discretionary duty to refer this case to the Department of Justice.”

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UN Expert Slams Media On Misleading Palestine Coverage

Joe Lauria

Joe Lauria, United Nations correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, joined me Sept. 29, on Washington Update to discuss the UN's news-filled fall convocation. Click here to listen to  the one-hour live weekly public affairs show with co-host Scott Draughon, founder of the MTL network. Lauria described a remarkable misunderstanding by most reporters about last week's UN news.

A blunt-speaking expert, Laurias amplified on his Boiling Frogs column, "Why Palestine is Already a State: Shoddy Reporting Misrepresents Palestinian UN Bid," republished just after the show on Huffington Post. He argued, "A combination of mistakes—whether through ignorance or design—and significant omissions of fact have left the American public misinformed about why the Palestinians went to the United Nations last week and what they are trying to achieve." His insights can be heard by archive available globally via the link above.

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Troy Davis, Clarence Thomas and Georgia On Our Minds

troy and Virginia DavisGeorgia’s shameful execution of Troy Davis on Sept. 21 prompts me to share the research tools below.

Three decades ago, I researched a Georgia case involving Jerry Lee Banks, a young black man sentenced to death for a white couple's murder. He could afford to pay his defense lawyer only $10, plus a kettle of fish and collard greens. The defense lawyer never called independent witnesses who could have proven innocence and never filed an appeal. In sum, the facts of the Banks frame-up and prompt death sentence reversed my view on whether a completely innocent person could be convicted under our modern legal system.

A second Georgia miscarriage of justice involves the ongoing work of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, a native of the state and arguably the court’s most consistent justice in denying appeals from death-row inmates. He was the Court’s liaison to Georgia for purposes of the appeal of Davis, shown at right in a family photo with his mother, Virginia.

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Siegelman Sentence Delayed As DOJ Hides Conflict Data

Don SiegelmanThe Alabama judge presiding over the notorious Bush prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman postponed the defendant’s re-sentencing last week while prosecutors continue to stonewall defense requests for documents showing whether federal prosecutors violated the defendant's right to an honest, unbiased prosecutor. On Sept. 22, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery postponed his re-sentencing of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy on corruption charges. Decisions by the Supreme Court and other appellate bodies reduced charges, requiring re-sentencing.

Siegelman, at right, a Democrat, was the state's governor from 1999 to 2003. He claims that authorities for five years have illegally blocked his document requests regardinLeura Canaryg Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, left, who recused herself from his case according to conventional wisdom. William Canary, her husband, was Siegelman’s longtime political enemy and the 2002 campaign manager for Bob Riley, Siegelman’s Republican opponent in that year's election for governor. Siegelman narrowly lost after election software recorded a 6,000 drop in his totals in Baldwin County after polls closed.

“No one [in authority] has ever grasped the magnitude of the recusal issue and why it is the most important issue in this entire case,” former Siegelman aide Chip Hill wrote me this week. “Absent proof that the case was conducted without conflict of interest, every action taken in that conflicted environment should be invalidated. That would include the original indictments, the trial, conviction, etc.”

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Clarence Thomas' Lover Reflects On DC Life, Love, Law

Judge Lillian McEwenThe featured guest Sept. 22 on my Washington Update radio show will be author and retired federal judge Lillian McEwen. She will amplify on her powerful memoir of overcoming an abusive childhood in the nation’s capital to find happiness, including a tempestuous romance from the early to mid-1980s with future Supreme CouJoe  Bidenrt Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

By coincidence, she had served as counsel during that time to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.), the future Vice President who presided over the controversial Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991.

By intention, Democratic and Republican senators alike arranged the schedule to leave Anita Hill's sexual harassment testimony largely unsupported on camera This paved the way for Senate 52-48 approval of the nation's second black justice -- by the narrowest vote in a century. Her compelling book, DC Unmasked and Undressed, was published with this description:

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Whistleblowers Compare Reprisals from Bush, Obama

George W. Bush

Who has been worse for whistleblowers and the public, the Bush or Obama administration? I posed that question and received different answers Sept.18, the first of three days of meetings by watchdog groups in Washington, DC.

Obama hasBarack Obama been better than Bush "because of the quality of his appointments," responded Government Accountability Project (GAP) Legal Director Tom Devine, an eloquent advocate with three decades experience. Devine did not mention any names in his remarks to the International Whistleblowers Association. Mark Cohen, GAP's executive director until earlier this year, became deputy special counsel to Carolyn Lerner at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The agency's job is to protect federal whistleblowers and investigate disclosures.

However, OpEd News (OEN) Publisher Rob Kall, another speaker, has a different view. "Since Obama has taken office," Kall reported in RoughTime for Whistleblowers, "most whistleblowers say his administration and his DOJ treat whistleblowers worse than any previous president."

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