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SA’s Prick of the Week – Clarence Thomas

June 25, 2011

A recent New York Times expose detailed the improper ties between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and influential right-wing funder and activist Harlan Crow. Crow is a major contributor to conservative causes and a stalwart supporter of Clarence Thomas. In past years he gave Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, $500,000 to exploit the Citizens United decision and start a shadowy, Tea Party-related group called Liberty Central. He gave Thomas a Bible (estimated value $15,000) that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, and reportedly provided the Supreme Court Justice with access to his yacht and private jet. And if that wasn’t enough, the New York Times has revealed that Thomas solicited a multi-million dollar donation from Crow to benefit one of his own pet projects near his birthplace in a remote coastal community outside Savannah, Georgia.

Just this week, Congressman Chris Murphy penned a “Dear Colleague” letter asking his fellow members of Congress to sign on to an urgent request to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. This letter, spurred by the recent New York Times expose of Clarence Thomas’ unethical relationship with Harlan Crow, urges the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on escalating reports of unethical behavior by Supreme Court Justices. Shockingly, the Supreme Court is not legally bound by the Judicial Conference Code of Conduct, which currently applies to all other federal judges. Canon 4C of that code states that “a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the judicial office for that purpose.” Additionally, in Canon 5 the code states, “a judge must refrain from all political activity.” Yet, there have been alarming reports of justices — most notably Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito (all republican appointees) — attending political events and using their position to fundraise for conservative organizations.

Over 200,000 people have signed Credo Action’s petition calling for the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. My name is one of them. I never understood how Thomas became a Supreme Court justice after the very public hearing on how he inappropriately fondled Anita Hill, and I don’t understand why he’s still on the court after all of his graft and blatant political conduct. The sooner this Prick of the Week resigns in humiliation, the better.

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