Patterico's Pontifications

2/9/2011

(Congressman) Weiner to Ginny Thomas: Get Back in the Kitchen, Woman!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:31 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

That is the effect, if not the deliberate thought behind it, of a letter that the Weiner composed, that was signed by seventy three other Congresspersons claiming that Justice Thomas should step down from hearing any appeal of Obamacare.  Why?  Because his wife is a lobbyist and works for the Heritage Foundation.  He writes:

The appearance of a conflict of interest merits recusal under federal law. From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife’s financial stake in the overturn of healthcare reform is blurred. Your spouse is advertising herself as a lobbyist who has “experience and connections” and appeals to clients who want a particular decision – they want to overturn health care reform.

Well, I did a little looking, and this appears to be the website of the lobbying firm.  Go ahead, look through all of it.  Do you see a single word suggesting that she will influence her husband’s decisions?  Nope.  The best they can do is claim she asserts that she has connections.

First, this is tantamount to saying that the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice can never serve as a lobbyist.  Can you name a single lobbyist who doesn’t claim to have connections?

And what they want you to do is assume that those connections are solely the product of her marriage, to assume no one would be interested in her opinion, except as the wife of Clarence Thomas.  Now, while that is the reason why she is a household name, if we can trust wikipedia, we learn that she actually has about thirty years of experience in Washington, working for Congressmen and Presidents, even before meeting and marrying Thomas, and before he was on the Supreme Court.  She has built a respectable career for herself, on her own.

Moreover, your failure to disclose Ginny Thomas’s receipt of $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent opponent of healthcare reform, between 2003 and 2007 has raised great concern.

The fact is that she has been earning money from Heritage for years, and Heritage … well, look at their site.  They are not just a prominent opponent of Obamacare.  They advocate on just about about every issue imaginable.  And she has been with them since just before Bush became president.  So by their logic, Thomas can’t be a justice at all!

Notice what they are not alleging.  They are not claiming that anyone is paying her money so her husband would rule a certain way.  And let’s drag a little law into this.

First, the Code of Judicial Conduct states that judges are positively encouraged to participate in public life, even advocating for causes they believe in:

Complete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither possible nor wise; a judge should not become isolated from the society in which the  judge lives.  As a judicial officer and a person specially learned in the law, a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the law, the legal system, and the administration of  justice, including revising substantive and procedural law and improving criminal and juvenile justice.

Now the judge him- or herself is limited in their ability to advocate, but this Weiner would imply those same limitations on Mrs. Thomas—indeed greater limitations than the rules would apply to Mr. Thomas.

Second, the Code specifically gets into financial conflicts of interest, stating judges should recuse themselves if:

the judge knows that the judge, individually or as a fiduciary, or the  judge’s spouse or minor child residing in the judge’s household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the  proceeding, or any other interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding;

Then later in the Code, it defines a key term:

“financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, advisor, or other active participant in the affairs of a party

So it is emphatically not just receiving money from someone who might benefit in some tangential way.  In other words, in the case of Fed Ex v. UPS, the fact that a judge’s husband is a file clerk for Fed Ex is not grounds for disqualification.  So in fact this Weiner letter fails to even allege a financial interest, as that term is understood in the Federal Judicial Code.

But it gets even worse, and you will see I am not kidding when I say that they are claiming she is not allowed to work for anyone.  They then go on to bring up the lame complaints about Citizens United as follows:

This is not the first case where your impartiality was in question. As Common Cause points out, you “participated in secretive political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the [5-4] decision” on the Citizens United case.

I confronted that silliness before, but it’s worth remembering what Common Cause’s argument was.  It went like this.  Thomas received money from a corporation as a speaking fee (except there was no evidence he received any money at all).  In Citizens United, Thomas ruled that corporations have as much right to speak as any other actor.  Thus even though the specific corporation that may have paid Thomas was not a party to that case, that corporation benefited and therefore Thomas should have recused himself.

But this Weiner letter goes further, dragging his wife into it:

Your spouse also received an undisclosed salary paid for by undisclosed donors as CEO of Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization that stood to benefit from the decision and played an active role in the 2010 elections.

So according to them the mere fact she worked for a corporation means he must be disqualified.  And by the same logic she would be unable to take work from a corporation or any other business entity (such as partnerships) as a subcontractor, she would unable to sell them anything they would buy, and so on.  So basically, according to them, she can only work as a sole proprietor selling things and services to other sole proprietors, which makes it practically speaking, impossible for her to work.

So, stay in the kitchen, Ginny, the Weiner in Congress commands you!

This kind of sexism was discussed in another judge’s recent memorandum on the subject of recusal.  In it, he wrote:

When I joined this court in 1980 (well before my wife and I were married), the ethics rules promulgated by the Judicial Conference stated that judges should ensure that their wives not participate in politics.  I wrote the ethics committee and suggested that this advice did not reflect the realities of modern marriage–that even if it were desirable for judges to control their wives, I did not know many judges who could actually do so (I further suggested that the Committee would do better to say “spouses” than “wives,” as by then we had as members of our court Judge Mary Schroeder, Judge Betty Fletcher, and Judge Dorothy Nelson).  The committee thanked me for my letter and sometime later changed the rule.  That time has passed, and rightly so.

Who was this jurist who wrote those words?  Judge Reinhardt.  And while I disagreed with much in his memo, I did agree that merely working for a group advocating in favor of gay marriage was not cause for Reinhardt to recuse himself.  It was her actual participation in the suit that I had a problem with.

Anyway, the left will bray and act like, well, Weiners.  But they have no cause.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

CONCURRENCE BY PATTERICO: I write separately merely to emphasize that the Reinhardt situation is quite different, as Aaron correctly notes. Reinhardt’s wife signed onto a brief in the very same case. Mrs. Thomas never did any such thing.

Also, as SPQR notes in comments (and as Scalia has pointed out before), the bar for recusal of an unreplaceable Supreme Court Justice is, understandably, much higher than that applicable to a judge on a federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

131 Responses to “(Congressman) Weiner to Ginny Thomas: Get Back in the Kitchen, Woman!”

  1. What nonsense. Weiner is a c@ck.

    I suppose they raise similar concerns with Ginsberg when the ACLU take a position on something. I assume they are calling on Kagan to recuse herself from ObarckyCare.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  2. Back about 20 years ago, one Australian politician’s wife refused to disclose her financial interests. Her husband said, basically, “she won’t even tell me what she owns, so she’s certainly not telling you; what exactly do you expect me to do about it?”.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  3. That definition of “financial interest” strikes me as way too narrow. Are you telling me that Ginny Thomas has no financial interest in the overturning of Obamacare? Her livelihood depends on her reputation, and her reputation depends on her success, and her success depends on the overturn of this bill.

    Leviticus (f0f166)

  4. Thomas was in DC before he was a Court Justice. I’m not surprised he found a wife who works in the realm of policies and laws and politics. He is extremely principled, and I’m not surprised he wanted a principled wife who sees the world the way he does.

    This is extremely unfair. Thomas has never gotten a fair shake from democrats. It reminds me of Estrada. He is the most predictable Justice, and it’s absurd to claim he has any appearance of impropriety, because he’s simply going to interpret the constitution strictly.

    The government has no power to penalize people who don’t buy health insurance, and anyone could have noted Thomas would rule that way ten years ago.

    I hope this is all static flack, but I wouldn’t put it past some to attempt to pack the court. I think Virginia Thomas is a decent person who has every right to be part of our discussion on whatever she feels like talking about. And there is absolutely no doubt Weiner wouldn’t bat an eyelash at Reinhardt’s drastically more absurd affiliation with parties in a case.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. That may not be technical grounds for recusal, insofar as the technical definition of “financial interest” is the governing one, but it’s not like this is a facially ridiculous claim.

    Leviticus (f0f166)

  6. If this were a truly civil society, Justice Thomas would be allowed to demand satisfaction, and meet Weiner on the ground of the Mall at a distance of 20 paces each.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  7. leviticus

    how does her success depend on overturning it?

    lobbyists concern themselves with congress and the administration. they don’t lobby courts.

    the only concern is that someone might hire her as a way to pay back her husband. but that danger is always there, in any paying job. and it has to be alleged with a little more specificity.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  8. #

    That definition of “financial interest” strikes me as way too narrow. Are you telling me that Ginny Thomas has no financial interest in the overturning of Obamacare? Her livelihood depends on her reputation, and her reputation depends on her success, and her success depends on the overturn of this bill.

    Comment by Leviticus — 2/9/2011 @ 2:01 pm

    Her livelihood depends on Obamacare being overturned by her husband? I don’t see any promise by Virginia that stakes her reputation in this way. Her think tank will write a legal brief.

    In fact, I think it’s kinda unfair to ignore the basic fact that Justice Thomas’s conservative vote would never bolster the reputation of anyone who lobbied him because he is so predictably conservative. It’s a bit like taking credit for the sun rising.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  9. You’re drawing a pretty fine line to separate Thomas and Reinhardt, to say the former is okay, the latter is not. A difference without distinction, at least to those not wanting to spend hours analyzing the supposed differences.

    Weiner is not saying to get back into the kitchen. She is free to work wherever she wants… but in some cases, her choice of employment may – and should – have some impact on the perceived impartiality of her husband. He doesn’t get a pass based on how long she’s worked somewhere, nor because her employer likes complaining about lots of things, and not just Obamacare.

    It’s not sexism. Would it be if Thomas were gay and the challenge was that his lover worked for such an outfit… or if it was his son? That the complaint involves a woman doesn’t make it sexism (in fact, the seeming knee jerk yelling of sexism reminds me of liberal groups such as NOW, it’s something they can be counted on to do.)

    Finally, at least for now, why get agitated? Thomas ain’t going anywhere, he’s not stepping aside. To the extent public opinion matters, no one is going to start liking Obamacare or disapprove of the Supreme Court voting it down because Thomas votes on its constitutionality.

    On the over the top scale, this was a 7… it has to be for me to defend anything Weiner does.

    steve (369bc6)

  10. Leviticus – her success relies on ObamaCare being overturned? I think that might be a bit of overselling.

    JD (2da347)

  11. Her livelihood depends on her reputation, and her reputation depends on her success, and her success depends on the overturn of this bill.

    Huh? How does her success depend on the overturn of this bill? Has she lobbied for its overturn? And even if she has, she’s already suffered whatever impact that would have on her success rate, since she lost in the political arena; the judiciary reversing that loss wouldn’t change anything, since she wouldn’t be able to claim any credit for it.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  12. Does anyone on this planet believe that Justice Thomas’s vote would be to recognize this expansive commerce clause power, but for the lobbying of Heritage (or anybody at all?)

    He’s on the record as far as the Commerce Clause is concerned. What Weiner is saying is that Virginia has a financial stake in *nothing at all happening to change Justice Thomas’s views*.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  13. Of course, she has a financial interest in Obamacare being overturned. We ALL do (at least those of us not working for one of Obama’s favored industries).

    steve (369bc6)

  14. #

    #

    You’re drawing a pretty fine line to separate Thomas and Reinhardt, to say the former is okay, the latter is not. A difference without distinction, at least to those not wanting to spend hours analyzing the supposed differences.

    Justice Thomas doesn’t sit by Virginia as she argues a case. He’s just married to someone with an opinion.

    I think it’s actually a bold, bright line.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. dustin

    its hard to look at how democrats treat thomas and not conclude that there is racism there.

    for instance, it is alleged he just does what scalia tells him to. oh, except that he has publicly broken with scalia in cases and over time, scalia came over to HIS position.

    or the claim that thomas is a poor legal writer. taking out ideology, he is above average. better than burger (god, he was awful, so that you had trouble agreeing with him even when he was right). but not the most spectacular. and tellingly they said the same about thurgood marshall. now i disagree with marshall but marshall is one of the best writers among the liberals in a long time. sure he doesn’t have many flourishes. but then he never said anything as unfortunate as the word “penumbra.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  16. Steve’s got a point there…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  17. This is just another example of the leftists trying to delegitimize a Court ruling against their position.

    JD (6e25b4)

  18. What this is really about is trying to pre-empt any calls for Justice Elena Kagan to recluse herself.

    LarryD (f22286)

  19. “Leviticus – her success relies on ObamaCare being overturned? I think that might be a bit of overselling”

    – JD (and Dustin and AW, in so many words)

    She works for someone who wants Obamacare to be overturned. Her job is to effectuate their policy preferences. It’s not like her entire career will be ruined if Obamacare remains constitutional in the eyes of the SCOTUS, but she will have failed to effectuate the policy preferences of her employer, and, in some sense, not done her job.

    Her husband happens to be in a critical position as to the ultimate decision of the constitutionality of this bill that she has a stake in.

    Now, I agree that a strict adherence to this logic would prevent Thomas from being a justice at all, insofar as his wife’s work runs the gamut of political issues – and I don’t think that should be the case. My only point is that it’s not ridiculous to question whether or not recusal is/would be appropriate in these circumstances.

    Leviticus (f0f166)

  20. Steve’s got a point to the extent that it is amazing that Weiner is taking this opportunity to fixate on Thomas, when so many prominent jurists have spouses who have some relation to issues.

    But I personally think Reinhardt’s behavior is quite a bit different from Thomas’s. Both of them are very predictable, but Justice Thomas doesn’t go out of his way. He just applies a well known philosophy to the cases.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. dustin

    and i will add that the way they depicted him in the hearing was straight out of a stereotype. now, there have always been some people who internalize the stereotypes about their group and live it out. but that struck me as unlikely in Thomas’ case. his complaint that it was a high-tech lynching did seem correct to me at the time.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. Steve’s got a point to the extent that it is amazing that Weiner is taking this opportunity to fixate on Thomas, when so many prominent jurists have spouses who have some relation to issues.

    I was more talking about this:

    Of course, she has a financial interest in Obamacare being overturned. We ALL do (at least those of us not working for one of Obama’s favored industries)Of course, she has a financial interest in Obamacare being overturned. We ALL do (at least those of us not working for one of Obama’s favored industries).

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  23. No idea why I cut and pasted that quote twice.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  24. My only point is that it’s not ridiculous to question whether or not recusal is/would be appropriate in these circumstances.

    My real difference with you is that we all know that how Clarence Thomas will vote. There is no plausible argument that Virginia’s opinion on Obamacare will change his vote from what we would have known it would be if asked ten years ago.

    Her reputation will not be changed for the better when Clarence Thomas does as he will. No one will thank Virginia or blame her, and more than they would if the sun rose tomorrow.

    I know there’s a more generalized analysis, but Weiner shows pathetic discretion in taking such an absurd possibility as someone pushing Thomas to the right.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  25. Leviticus – if you apply that standard strictly, he would have to recuse himself from almost every case. That would strike me as ridiculous. Does she lobby congresscritters or Justices?

    JD (109425)

  26. lev

    so okay, suppose we are not talking about Virginia Thomas, but Ginny Smith, married to Harold Smith an accountant no one heard of.

    but Ginny is also lobbying against obamacare. so is it HER job to get the S.C. to overturn it?

    Again, ginny thomas’ job is to lobby the white house and congress. the S.C. is not her purview. and if they strike it down, she won’t be able to claim she did any of it. it would literally have nothing to do with it.

    i mean, unless it was her fault they left out the severability clause. heh.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  27. Dustin, so your position would be different if it were Kennedy’s wife?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  28. This is just the Left politicizing an adverse ruling, in advance. It is an extension of Tribe’s nonsense yesterday.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  29. Here’s how the cases of Thomas and Reinhardt would be similar: supposing Mrs Thomas were the president of the Heritage Institute, or at least on its board, rather than a mere employee; and supposing the Heritage Institute were to file an amicus brief in this case, or to have been consulted by the petitioners on the case, then it would be proper for Thomas to recuse himself.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  30. Linda Daschle [wife of former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Dascle] says she will deal with that potential pitfall the way she has since she resumed her lobbying career in 1997: by never lobbying her husband or any member or committee of the Senate. “With dual careers in public policy, you need to be careful and take steps to avoid any appearance problem,” she says. “I feel very comfortable with my activities.”

    Neo (03e5c2)

  31. dustin

    > My real difference with you is that we all know that how Clarence Thomas will vote.

    Well, i don’t think that is right, either. I confronted Orin Kerr’s similar argument, here. http://patterico.com/2010/11/30/happenings-in-reinhardtland/

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  32. “Nope. The best they can do is claim she asserts that she has connections.”

    It looks like their best argument is the financial connection.

    savoirfaire (ca368f)

  33. Aaron, I completely agree about the way Thomas was described and treated with suspicion. It’s a huge shame.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say that Thomas must have benefited from affirmative action, and therefore should have x,y,z opinion instead of applying the law as he does.

    There is an implicit notion in some that a black man who thinks like Thomas is a major problem.

    They can’t all be Maureen Scalia (a charming and well educated mother of 9 who is publicly thanked for her work with the kids as she stands by her husband).

    If there were some argument that Thomas’s wife will actually be awarded somehow for influencing her husband’s vote, I would entertain that. But she’s simply taking conservative stances on issues, with no indicator of influencing her husband (and no room for it, either).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  34. #

    Dustin, so your position would be different if it were Kennedy’s wife?

    Comment by aphrael — 2/9/2011 @ 2:19 pm

    Of course! Note, I make two arguments. One, that I don’t see any promises to influence her spouse, but rather a statement about connections from someone with lots of other connections. The other argument I make does fail if we change to Kennedy. That’s why Leviticus is making the point he’s making.

    I would need to see some indicator that Mary Kennedy is promising to influence her husband’s ruling, or specifically to be compensated for it. And I think it’s pretty obvious this is more sensitive for a swing vote. That’s why people like Weiner should use their faculties and discretion.

    Now, are we saying that Justice Kennedy can never rule on education issues? After all, Mary Kennedy has a financial stake, as an educator.

    Ultimately, we don’t need my second argument, that Thomas is predictable, if we rely on Leviticus’s analysis. Mary Kennedy might benefit from high pay for teachers, or from policies that make teachers more successful in other ways, but she hasn’t expressed that she’s gong to sway her husband.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  35. It would be interesting to see someone compare and contrast this issue and Reinhold’s refusal to recuse himself in the gay marriage case.

    Anon Y. Mous (a9ee3e)

  36. And my apologies for what is obviously an extension of Leviticus’s position, which he hasn’t expressed. I’m simply talking about the bare analysis that someone has some kind of general interest in a matter.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  37. FWIW, savoirfaire is imdw. Yet again.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  38. dustin

    scalia has 9 children?

    a catholic with 9 children? holy crud, now THAT is a stereotype. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  39. This is just more of what I commented about yesterday. The left is anticipating losing the case before the USSC and is trying to build a firewall by claiming prejudice.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  40. a catholic with 9 children? holy crud, now THAT is a stereotype. :-)

    Comment by Aaron Worthing

    Just to be clear, I don’t mean to diminish her accomplishment (she is a Harvard law grad, if I recall correctly) for raising a family. That’s impressive.

    Also, she has or had a financial interest in personal (tax) exemptions. Just as Mary Kennedy has a financial interest in teacher’s unions. Just as Virginia Thomas has an interest in many things that our Court deals with.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  41. That definition of “financial interest” strikes me as way too narrow. Are you telling me that Ginny Thomas has no financial interest in the overturning of Obamacare? Her livelihood depends on her reputation, and her reputation depends on her success, and her success depends on the overturn of this bill. Comment by Leviticus

    Looks like the success of this nation depends on the overturn of this gigantic piece of shit.

    Posted by Kansas

    kansas (7b4374)

  42. You’ve glossed over at least two important points:

    1). Ginni Thomas is listed as the sole person employed by Liberty Consulting, Inc. It’s almost impossible to believe that she wouldn’t be an officer and director, and have an equity interest, in that company. And to the extent that Liberty Consulting, Inc. receives payments for consultations with Ginni with clients opposed to ObamaCare or any sort of success fee or bonus, then she does have a financial interest in the matter in controversy.

    2). Justice Thomas did not disclose the payments that Ginni received in the last several years in her jobs. It’s not her working for those organizations that is the problem. It’s the failure to disclose the payments (which, as I understand it, Justice Thomas was required to do).

    This is not “get back in the kitchen”, Aaron or a case which would prohibit her from working in “any” corporation. This is not having a financial interest in a matter pending before the court and following disclosure laws properly. Nice try at demonizing (and grossly mischaracterizing) your opponents’ positions.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  43. JD, Kagan is prolly gonna recuse herself on Obamacare because her platonic friends cook her lots of eggs and butter…

    carlitos (180217)

  44. Weiner is supposed to serve in an oversight capacity to the Executive branch. In fact, he’s on the subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations.

    Yet his wife works for Hillary Clinton.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  45. I didn’t see these 74 democraps line up for recusal of a uber liberal judge, when that Ninth Circuit judge was deciding a gay rights case, and his wife was an important attorney representing the gay rights parties. I didn’t see them lining up to ask Judge Kagan to recuse herself due to her solicitor work for the Obama Administration and her possible involvement in crafting and selling Obamacare. But don’t dare suggest these democraps are partisan or hypocritical, or attempting to divert the nation’s attention from Judge Kagan’s conflict of interest, to the innocent wife of Judge Thomas. Do liberal judges and politicians really want to have a standard that their spouses can’t engage in political or non profit advocacy because related cases may eventually reach the judicial spouse? They better think long and hard about that one (I know liberals’ thinking long and hard about anything is a stretch).

    eaglewingz08 (74f660)

  46. Eaglewingz208: it’s worth pointing out that Justice Kagan has been recusing herself from cases she worked on as SG; this is normal and expected behavior for government attorneys who get appointed to the court.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  47. So we can expect her to recuse herself on ObarckyCare?

    JD (109425)

  48. I feel like I’m making far too many comments in this thread, but Aaron’s discussion of Kerr’s position is pretty relevant and almost prophetic.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  49. They should respond to Weiner Boy with the following:

    “No. Now shut your yappy trap.”

    RogerCfromSD (660519)

  50. Ginny Thomas should fire off a letter to Anthony Dick Weiner and inform him that she will use her “contacts” to oppose any law that he votes on that has to do with foreign aid to the Middle East, funding of any Islamic group, and any damn thing that has to do with the State Department (including funding) due to his own wife.

    Dick Weiner is married to Huma Abidin, a Michigan born Muslim whose mother lives and works in Saudi Arabia and who now has a tony job with the State Departement, given to her by the person she served as a body guard for, Hillary Clinton. Surely, if he considers Clarance Thomas too stupid to think for himself and is infleunced in his job by his wife, then the Dick Weiner must acknowledge that he too, is influnced by his Muslim wife.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  51. You Know that Weiner? Whiner? (sic) dude is a walking freak show I’ve seen him speak!

    Boar Breath (8abc04)

  52. We should recognize this for what it is, a blatant attempt to stack the deck for the upcoming ObamaCare ruling. Long live the separation of powers!

    Boar Breath (8abc04)

  53. “Ginny Thomas should fire off a letter to Anthony Dick Weiner and inform him that she will use her “contacts” to oppose any law that he votes on that has to do with foreign aid to the Middle East, funding of any Islamic group, and any damn thing that has to do with the State Department (including funding) due to his own wife.”

    The thing is, it seems like she’s a crappy lobbyist and just riding the tea party wave. But hey, money is money. Even Christine O is starting a PAC.

    savoirfaire (c7540f)

  54. Funny — Weiner and his ilk never had any objection to the spousal activities of the husband of 3rd Circuit Judge Midge Rendell. You now, when he was a big city mayor, governor of a state, or head of the DNC, not to mention his work as a commentator. http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/311811.php

    Is the reason racism, sexism, or just plain partisan hypocrisy?

    Rhymes With Right (4b584a)

  55. Comment by savoirfaire

    And your evidence is?

    And it relates to the statement you quoted how?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  56. savoirfaire – Why do you hate black people and Jooooos?

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  57. daley-

    If I was paranoid I’d think you were following me around- but I realize we are simply in agreement in regards to another commentor.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  58. You didn’t know that ginny thomas is white and anthony weiner jewish? oh what a fool.

    savoirfaire (e64787)

  59. savoirfaire – Why do you hate black people and Jooooos?

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  60. ==Why do you hate black people and Jooooos?==

    And wimmins, Daley. Don’t forget he hates wimmins, too.

    elissa (720dcb)

  61. How many names have you posted under, imdw?

    JD (2da347)

  62. elissa – savoirfaire can double your money on a used car!

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  63. “And wimmins, Daley. Don’t forget he hates wimmins, too.”

    what with their yucky contraception and abortions and being victims and all.

    savoirfaire (52d546)

  64. This is identity #30, at least, for this vile cretin. FU savoirfaire. Why don’t you go post a link to someone’s house. Bugger a goat.

    JD (2da347)

  65. Did he ever come clean about posting what he believed to be my home address?

    I think it’s time for a new policy. Brb.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  66. There. It’s a little longer, but it makes me happy.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  67. The standards for recusal are necessarily different for a Ninth Circuit judge and for a Supreme Court judge.

    Ninth circuit judges can be replaced on a panel by another Ninth Circuit judge. Supreme Court judges are not replaceable.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  68. Ginni Thomas either has or is a dog in the fight over affordable health care. She has a financial interest in it. And Clarence Thomas has not filed required disclosures of her paid work in political and policy related issues.

    Time for Aaaaaron Wwwwworthy to get back in the kitchen and cook up another soufflé. This one has fallen.

    Larry Reilly (0e1b2d)

  69. Ah, the voice of incompetent trolling arrives.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  70. Larry

    She has an interest in this? okay, so how does her financial worth increase if the decision goes one way or the other? And don’t cite the mandate, because that is a problem with 100% of the population.

    Patterico

    concurring on your concurrence. Reinhardt’s situation was much worse. And anyone who read my post on reinhardt can see i have been consistent. just being in an advocacy group, even getting paid by them, is not enough.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  71. “Jim” Yelverton yaks, and Mawy mimics.

    Icy Texan (85e8f9)

  72. It’s me, Icy Texan. Are we both having fun in the metroplex in the last two weeks?

    Jim (ad29d8)

  73. And to the extent that Liberty Consulting, Inc. receives payments for consultations with Ginni with clients opposed to ObamaCare or any sort of success fee or bonus,

    What exactly is that extent? What makes you think it’s more than zero?

    Ginni Thomas either has or is a dog in the fight over affordable health care. She has a financial interest in it.

    Really? What sort of interest?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  74. Didn’t he file amended disclosures, which blows “Jim” and Mawy’s thinkregress and Soros talking points right out of the water.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  75. Mil house – it is already quite apparent that this will become received wisdom. And infallible truth for the leftists.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  76. What is the new policy, Patterico? And no, dimwit never came clean.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  77. Justified is on.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  78. JD, he apparently filed 20 years worth of amended disclosure forms two or so weeks ago: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Supreme_Court/justice-clarence-thomas-amends-financial-disclosure-reports-virginia/story?id=12750650.

    I’m not particularly comforted when a judge amends 20 years worth of disclosures because (s)he doesn’t understand the filing requirements.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  79. What’s brb? Bring your own bottle?

    Jim (ad29d8)

  80. Milhouse, she says she counsels and acts as an ambassador for Tea Partiers. It’s tough to imagine that her company is not getting some fees for counseling over this item.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  81. Jim just admitted that it is make accusations with no evidence. And even if she did, it is not basis for recusal. You and yours are just trying to politicize this. Why do you hate black people, “Jim” ?

    JD (d4bbf1)

  82. Milhouse, she says she counsels and acts as an ambassador for Tea Partiers. It’s tough to imagine that her company is not getting some fees for counseling over this item.

    Comment by Jim — 2/9/2011 @ 7:19 pm

    Just so we are clear, Jim is making the accusations, and this is the level of proof he has. “Jim” should be embarrassed, but he has shown himself to be incapable of that.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  83. Jim, that does not make her or Justice Thomas have a financial interest in the outcome of the litigation itself.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  84. What is the new policy, Patterico? And no, dimwit never came clean.

    Comment by JD — 2/9/2011 @ 7:14 p

    I put it under the “submit comment” button.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  85. Go fuck yourself, JD. Where did I ever say I hated black people? And even a fucking retard like yourself would know that you don’t have definitive evidence until you’ve gone through discovery.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  86. Sorry, Patterico. Your new policy showed up just as you posted your new policy.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  87. It’s “tough to imagine” that Jim is not getting paid to peddle his silliness here.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  88. oops. I meant my new comment showed up just as you posted your new policy.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  89. I’m not, Patterico. Good try.

    Maybe the problem is that you’re (as a group) sticking your fingers in your ears and not hearing what the other side is saying, just like the right claims Tribe and others are doing with Obamacare.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  90. Oh. Thanks. It won’t stop them. They are obsessed.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  91. Jim:

    I’m not particularly comforted when a judge amends 20 years worth of disclosures because (s)he doesn’t understand the filing requirements.

    Thomas claimed the failure to disclose for 20 years was a misunderstanding, and perhaps that’s true given the rules didn’t require disclosure of how much Thomas’ wife was paid. In that sense, Thomas’ disclosure lapse was minor compared to failures by Democratic leaders like Charles Rangel and Harry Reid, both of whom omitted disclosure in situations where the rules required names and numbers.

    Finally, how clear were the disclosure rules and how difficult was it to complete the forms? And before you answer, remember that things like this can be onerous for the smartest minds. Even some tax lawyers won’t file their own tax returns.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  92. Jim’s standard of evidence is his imagination. That’s good to know. Maybe the lawyers on the blog will let me know if that standard of evidence will hold up in court. I have a few doubts.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  93. I dunno seems like a good idea, remember how Ginsburg recused herself from tax cases until recently because of her husband? Oh wait she didn’t despite the fact that he was a partner in a tax law firm.

    max (2f2a28)

  94. I spent some time poking around looking for the exact wording of the question and instructions for the disclosure statement supposedly requiring the information about Ginny Thomas but was unable to find it. Has anybody else come across it?

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  95. Has Ginsburg recused herself from cases where the a
    ACLU has a position, Jim?

    JD (d4bbf1)

  96. “: it’s worth pointing out that Justice Kagan has been recusing herself from cases she worked on as SG; this is normal and expected behavior for government attorneys who get appointed to the court.

    Comment by aphrael — 2/9/2011 @ 4:30 pm”

    aphrael – Are you referring to cases she has previously argued publicly on or something different? Do you have a list?

    What about cases or legislation she may have been involved in put only advised the government privately? Has she made any disclosures of those?

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  97. Also, as SPQR notes in comments (and as Scalia has pointed out before), the bar for recusal of an unreplaceable Supreme Court Justice is, understandably, much higher than that applicable to a judge on a federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Yeah, like no bar apparently….ethical or moral.

    Somehow, I’m betting this road goes both ways. For instance, I’m doubting y’all think Orin Hatch was out of line to suggest to Kagan recuse herself?

    The silence is deafening.

    PS The idea that Ginny Thomas has only two career choices: lobbyist or homemaker is a nice rhetorical device, but logically silly….

    timb (8f04c0)

  98. Before he starts mouthing off about a woman who actually works for a living, maybe Crapweasel Weiner should take a quick look at his past Earmarking.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  99. Somehow, I’m betting this road goes both ways. For instance, I’m doubting y’all think Orin Hatch was out of line to suggest to Kagan recuse herself?

    Yeah, but see, Kagan actually worked on the law.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  100. PS The idea that Ginny Thomas has only two career choices: lobbyist or homemaker is a nice rhetorical device, but logically silly….

    That’s because, you f**king idiot, ANY job is likely to be in some way affected by a decision put forth by the Supreme Court. The only way to avoid it is to not work.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  101. Let’s see … Leveling an accusation based on political motives for a tenuous, at best, allegation of potential appearance of impropriety is all good in timmah’s world, but someone suggesting recusal based on someone’s past work on a specific law is bad.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  102. Just to be clear, I don’t mean to diminish her accomplishment (she is a Harvard law grad, if I recall correctly) for raising a family. That’s impressive.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  103. Just to be clear, I don’t mean to diminish her accomplishment (she is a Harvard law grad, if I recall correctly) for raising a family. That’s impressive.

    I assume this is unintentional but the way this is worded makes it appear as if her accomplishment in raising a family is impressive only because she is a Harvard grad – not because managed to survive the demands of 9 children. Heh.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  104. Yeah, that wasn’t intended. Though I think it’s impressive she has that degree (if she does… I was actually just going off the top of my head), I also think it’s impressive to raise a lot of kids successfully. Just noting that she is, in my imagination, what some are demanding Virginia Thomas be. That’s a great thing to do, but I am annoyed with all the people coming out to condemn Virginia for finding her own place in our policy discussions.

    Just take Anthony Weiner’s wife, who works for the branch of government that Weiner is especially responsible for oversight over in his subcommittee assignment. Because Virginia’s views are more like the middle class’s, I think a lot of people just think she doesn’t qualify for more than ‘Famous conservative’s wife’, so to them, the idea she is trying to persuade must refer only to Clarence Thomas, who, in my opinion, is the last person she’s actually moving towards the right (as he’s already there).

    Anyway, I’ve been pretty clumsy in my comments today, Dana.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  105. Dustin, at a certain level this has little to do with Virginia Thomas and everything to do with her husband’s impenetrability in his consistent interpretations and rulings. Or maybe at a more base primitive level, it’s about the D and R…

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  106. DRJ, I can’t find the disclosure requirements after looking for about fifteen minutes. If you can find them, please post a link.

    Jim (ad29d8)

  107. Dustin,

    Minor point about Maureen Scalia. I recently watched a 2008 60 Minutes interview of Scalia and it said they met when he was a senior at Harvard Law and she was a senior at Radcliffe. I believe she went on to get her degree in English.

    It’s a very minor point but it gives me an excuse to link that video. I thought they were a charming couple.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  108. Thanks DRJ for correcting me. I must have heard ‘they met when he was a student at Harvard Law’ and remembered it incorrectly.

    I agree that they are charming. I think she’s seems like a great lady, and no disrespect to her, but what a lot of lefties assume Tea Party women ought to be like.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  109. Just to be clear: she’s a lobbyist. It’s what she does, and what she’s been doing for years. There are literally thousands of customers who need lobbyists, and thousands of issues they lobby on. There is not the slightest reason to believe that she has ever lobbied anyone about this bill. I have no idea whether she did so, and neither do Common Cause or any blog commenter.

    But supposing she did, there is no reason why her lobbying politicians and/or bureaucrats should give her any sort of personal interest in how the judiciary rules on it; she doesn’t lobby judges, so why would she care? Supposing she lobbied politicians not to vote for the bill; if that happened then she lost, and having the Court save the day isn’t going to change that. No client is going to pay her more as a result.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  110. Finally, how clear were the disclosure rules and how difficult was it to complete the forms?

    Looking at the form that has been published, it seems to me that it would be very easy to assume that the list of employers must only be filled out if the spouse earned “reportable income”, and that since the amount of income need not be reported it doesn’t count. That leads one to wonder what is “reportable income”, but if one’s filling in the form quickly one might not follow up on that wonder.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  111. One more thing:

    Milhouse, she says she counsels and acts as an ambassador for Tea Partiers.

    Really? She says this? Where?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  112. I live in Weiner’s district. It’s made up of big parts of working class Brooklyn and Queens. In the last election a total unknown named Bob Turner got 42% of the vote without any help from the GOP and almost no media nor money. He did better than Barney Franks’ opponent. Problem will always be that a good chunk of the populace will reflexivley vote for the Dem no matter what. But if the GOP recruited a serious candidate and ran a hard campaign Anthony Weiner might be looking for a job in 2013. Weiner is an embarrassment. And one thing such a candidate should do; make everyone aware of the fact that Weiner talks a good game about supporting Israel but does very little in Washington when it matters.

    Bugg (996c34)

  113. When Weiner introduces a bill to prevent the spouses and close family members of Congresspersons from working in any lobbying or media positions, we might be able to consider him a serious person instead of a rabid librul hack and propagandist.

    Fred Beloit (3f1b2d)

  114. Fred wins the thread, imho. at 113

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  115. Bugg, a big part of Weiner’s win was all the yeshivos and other Jewish institutions rallying behind Weiner, because he’s been getting them good funding. It’s not their job to look at the bigger picture, and worry about where the funding is coming from; their job is to pursue their mission, for which they desperately need money, and if someone is handing it out they’d be idiots not to take as much as they can get. It’s not as if turning down the money would save anybody any taxes; it would just go to someone else instead, and they’d be stuck paying the same taxes anyway.

    Had they perceived Turner as having a chance, they might have backed him anyway, just on principle; these are not loyal Democrats. But they couldn’t conceive of Weiner possibly losing, and if they were to turn their backs on him there would surely be consequences.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  116. Daleyrocks, I don’t have such a list, but it’s easy to generate one by poking at the SCOTUS website.

    The Supreme Court has handed down fourteen decisions so far this term.

    Justice Kagan has recused herself from:

    Abbott v US (interpretation of mandatory minimums)
    LA County v Humphries (lawsuit regarding failure to create a mechanism for contesting inclusion in a sex offender registry)
    Costco v Omega (unclear as no opinion was issued)
    Mayo Foundation v US (appliation of Chevron deference to an IRS decision)
    Harrington v Richter (availability of federal habeas claims for issues previously adjudicated on the merits)
    Premo v Moore (federal habeas)
    NASA v Nelson (background checks on government employees)
    Thompson v North American Stainless (sex discrimination complaint via EEOC)

    Thats 8/14 of the decided cases. Admittedly, this may be an odd subset of the cases this term, but it looks like she’s being very cautious about not getting involved in things – the US was only directly a party in two of these, so it looks like the others stem from amicus briefs.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  117. Aphrael – do you think she will recuse herself from the ObarckyCare case?

    JD (ae44dd)

  118. JD: yes.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  119. Do you think she should? Do you think Thomas should?

    JD (ae44dd)

  120. JD: I don’t think Justice Thomas should.

    I don’t know enough about what Justice Kagan *did* while she was SG to know whether or not she should.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  121. That is the problem with the Kagan situation, no? Lack of disclosure of involvement, if any?

    JD (ae44dd)

  122. JD – that’s no different than the problem Rehnquist faced when he was originally hired into the job of Supreme Court Justice. Or, for that matter, when Roberts was hired as a District Court Judge.

    If we’re going to allow former government lawyers to serve as judges, we have to accept that this is part of the price: there’ll be some large set of cases they can’t rule on at first, which will dwindle over time; and, because we won’t really be able to tell what their involvement in the case was when they worked in government, we’ll have to rely on them to be honorable.

    I don’t see any reason to believe that Kagan is being any less honorable than Rehnquist was in this regard.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  123. Fair enough. Though it seems a simple statement saying she was or was not involved would put any appearance of questions to rest. Maybe she has done so?

    JD (85b089)

  124. Well there’s a distinction, he recused himself in Tatum, a case involving wiretapping, which was part of his brief as head of the OLC,

    narciso (e888ae)

  125. JD: the case isn’t before the court yet. It’s premature to comment. That’s sort of standard operating procedure.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  126. Comment by aphrael — 2/10/2011 @ 8:33 am

    Thanks. Perhaps it will take more time for matters in which she was involved as SG to percolate to the level of the SC.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  127. Millhosue-

    Suspect that much of what you say is true. America is becoming more and more those that work and pay versus those with their hands out 24/7. Weiner and too many Dems represent and support the later, and support them from the taxes of the former.

    Bugg (9e308e)

  128. kagan doesn’t have to recuse herself unless she advised obama on the constitutionality of obamacare.

    and she might have.

    i think she should put out a memo saying why she shouldn’t recuse herself, etc. if she stays in the case. we should have some reassurance that she knows the rule and is following it, and is correctly asserting it doesn’t apply here.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  129. Urgh. The worst thing about all of this is having to see my Facebook Friends post it as a call to action.

    MayBee (081489)

  130. MayBee – you can rest assured that I will not be issuing any Facebook calls to action on this topic, or any other, for that matter.

    JD (2da347)

  131. Bugg, the yeshivos and other institutions that get this money work hard and do good work. They’re not congresspeople; it’s not their responsibility to look after the general welfare of the country. Their responsibility is to do the best job they can, which they can do better with more funding. So there’s no reason to blame them for having their hands out for whatever can be got; they should be doing that. And if Congress is spending this money anyway, their congressperson is perfectly right to try to get some of it for them; earmarks don’t in themselves increase total spending. It’s Congress as a whole that should a) not spend so much, and b) not spend any federal money on things that don’t benefit the whole country, and that aren’t in its enumerated powers. Since neither education nor the relief of poverty is in that list, no money at all should be going to any institution for those purposes; but that’s on Congress, not on the recipients.

    Milhouse (2e50ab)


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