Friday, August 26, 2011

Jeffrey Toobin - Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas Kill Obama's Health Care Plan?

Jeffrey Toobin has an interesting article in the New Yorker about the conflict of interest in Clarence Thomas sitting on the court when it (inevitably) hears the challenges to Obama's health care reform - his wife, Virginia, spent much of 2010 on a coast-to-coast campaign against the Obama Administration (and its health care reform legislation).
As she said in an introductory video on her Web site, “If you believe in limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, national security, and personal responsibility, and have felt these principles are under attack from Washington, then you’ve come to the right place.” In a later interview, she said, “I’ve never seen, in my thirty years in Washington, an agenda that’s so far left. It’s a radical, leftist agenda that grabs a lot of power to Washington so that Washington √©lites can pick the winners and losers.” In his own speeches, Justice Thomas expresses himself in terms similar to those of his wife. Answering questions recently in Florida, he said, “The government has to be limited. We have separations of powers, and some of the other enumerated powers that prevent the government from becoming our ruler. I don’t know if that’s happened already.”
Thomas would seem to be highly compromised in this situation, and it is very unlikely that he can offer an impartial decision based on the merits of the case - but he refuses to recuse himself, despite a call from nearly a hundred members of Congress that he do so.

Toobin outlines the personal and political partnership between Clarence and Ginni (her nickname) Thomas. Many of us see this as an assault on the supposed impartiality of the Court (which is a myth at best - look at Justice Roberts tenure as Chief Justice and you'll see the conservative agenda his case selection and rulings reveal).

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