Will Justices Roberts And/Or Thomas Ever Recuse Themselves?

More and more, it seems that the answer is NO, no matter how great the appearance of conflict of interest. Justice Thomas’s wife is active in groups that pursue the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”), having received as of May 2011, $150,000 from such a group, and the Supreme Court is about to begin hearing arguments, aiming for a decision possibly in June. And Roberts perceives this as no conflict of interest. And Thomas has no plans to recuse himself.

Roberts draws an equivalence between Thomas and Justice Kagan, who was, prior to her nomination to the Supreme Court, solicitor general to the Obama administration, i.e., she could have been but was not called upon to defend the Obamacare act. But of course there is no suggestion that Kagan or a member of her family accepted money to oppose (or support) the law. It would have been her job if it had come up, which it didn’t. So Roberts is drawing a false equivalence.

I cannot help thinking of that evil “nice guy,” Justice Scalia, who ruled in favor of Bush/Cheney in Bush v. Gore despite being a social friend of Dick Cheney. Apparently, no Republican-appointed judge or justice can ever be guilty of a conflict of interest, no matter what s/he does IOKIYAR.

A conservative Republican former friend of mine he pretty much doesn’t speak to me anymore once sententiously pontificated explained to me that it was important to Christians (he is one; I am not) not only to do the right thing, but to give the appearance of doing the right thing. I suppose there’s a secret exception to that rule specifically for Republican judges, who are considered “of exceptional integrity” (Roberts) no matter what godawful conflict of interest they engage in. I suppose “exceptional” can mean “exceptionally good” or “exceptionally bad”

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  • LiberalTalkingPoints  On Sunday January 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I dream of an activist progressive majority in congress akin to the bull moose party of the 1900s. People with the backbone to impeach justices on the basis of their corrupt judgement.

    • Steve  On Sunday January 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Welcome, LiberalTalkingPoints! (Or do you prefer to be called Joe?)

      We do seem to live in an ebb of both classical liberal thinking and truly progressive social action. Perhaps I’d have been happier living in the days you describe; then again, I like a good sociopolitical fight, and if our nation is to survive, let alone thrive, we have such a fight on our hands. The Bull Mooses (Meece?) were inspiring to me, but every generation faces different intransigent people and obstacles. They faced challenges; we face challenges… not less than theirs, but not the same ones.

      In any case, thanks for visiting, and welcome to the site. Sometime tonight I’ll add you to the blogroll here.

  • LiberalTalkingPoints  On Monday January 9, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the conversation. Joe is fine to save your fingers.

    Challenges for each generation are not the same indeed. Yet they set some examples for our times to gain inspiration from.

    I don’t like the sociopolitical fight, but feel it is necessary now for my family and the future of my children. I grew up in the 70s suburbs and have had a cushy life compared to the early 1900s. It just looks like it’s all going back to a more permanently stratified social divide unless our nation gets off the couch and votes with some educated self interest.

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