After the reports of ongoing questionable conduct by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas including attending political functions and failing to disclose his wife’s income for decades, the embattled justice now faces a disbarment complaint in Missouri.
The complaint alleges that Thomas breached his duty and violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by knowingly and willfully failing for 20 years to state truthfully his wife’s income. The complaint also alleges that Thomas also labored under a financial conflict of interest by failing to disclose $100,000 in support of his nomination by the Citizens United Foundation when he heard the now-infamous Citizens United case. Finally, the complaint alleges, Justice Thomas made ruling that his wife benefited from financially and professionally and that, by extension, benefited him.
It’s not a surprise to see this filing against Thomas. Good governance group Common Cause continues to pressure the Obama administration to investigate Thomas and others who are improperly politicking from the bench. And even the Christian Science Monitor has challenged Thomas to change course and help de-polticize the Court.
But if Thomas’ recent speech to the Federalist Society in Virginia is any indication, the notoriously silent justice won’t change course anytime soon. In fact, it appears as though he is oblivious to any wrongdoing and has chosen instead to play the victim by categorizing the charges against him as meritless and politically motivated.
Those of us who remember Justice Thomas’ confirmation hearings and the Anita Hill affair should hear in these statements a familiar narrative. Only unlike his confirmation hearing, those seeking to mitigate the influence of corporate cash in our political system–a direct result of Thomas’ rulings–do not intend to let this fight go.
photo courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr