Wife of Clarence Thomas Organizes Tea Party Group

Virginia Thomas, wife of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, forms tea party group. Virginia Thomas told a recent panel “I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you.” She specifically went on to say that she was going to work against Obama’s “hard-left agenda.” It is an association that will likely add to a further patina of politics surrounding the Court, which just ruled in favor of conservative groups in the Citizens United case. I will be discussing this story tonight on Countdown.

There is, of course, no limitation on the spouses of justices in terms of political activities. However, historically spouses have avoided such entanglements in deference to the neutral role that their spouses are expected to perform on the Court. The involvement in such a raw political organization is, well, injudicious.

I did not share the outrage of some when Virginia Thomas worked for Heritage Foundation. Working for an conservative legal group is a bit different from working in a political organization committed to fighting the President’s policies. Once again, she is well within her rights to do so, but most spouses have avoided such a high-profile political role. This why it is so rare to ever hear of a controversy involving a justice’s spouse.

Worse yet, her group will be scoring members of Congress and accepting donations from corporations. This could raise recusal issues in future cases for Clarence Thomas, but he is unlikely to see his wife’s involvement as a recusal matter unless her group is directly involved in a case.

Ironically, Thomas said he does not attend the State of the Union because it is to “partisan.” He will not be married to one such partisan whose group will actively seek to oppose the President and democratic members.
For the Thomas story, click here.

118 thoughts on “Wife of Clarence Thomas Organizes Tea Party Group”

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  2. Duh–

    “The only way to have a greater chance of avoiding a conflict of interest would be for her to stay home and keep her mouth shut.”

    I would NEVER suggest that a wife be told to stay home and keep her mouth shut!!!!! 🙂

    I think it must be difficult for the spouses of elected officials to always have to watch what they say–just as it is for the elected officials. That’s one reason I would never want to run for any kind of political office.

  3. Duh–

    She isn’t precluded by law from running for office, is she? If not…then let the voters decide if they want her to represent them or not. That’s all I’m saying.

  4. “I guess I’d prefer to see someone like her working toward her aims and goals while out in the public eye–where her actions can be evaluated and judged–than working behind the scenes where no one can see what she’s actually doing.”

    Kind of a “Don’t ask; Don’t tell” for the spouses of Justices. 🙂

  5. Elaine M.,

    Just because a 501(c) has the ability to lobby, that doesn’t mean they will. I don’t have any problem with her saying “We’ve got to get the Constitution back to a place where it means something . . . or we’re headed for tyranny.” That might be because I agree with her.

    A conflict of interest would warrant recusal by Justice Thomas. The same conflict could arise with anything she chose to do. You wouldn’t have a problem with her becoming governor, and that would be more likely to present a regular conflict of interest. Being a member of Congress would present even a greater problem. The only way to have a greater chance of avoiding a conflict of interest would be for her to stay home and keep her mouth shut.

  6. Duh–

    I guess I’d prefer to see someone like her working toward her aims and goals while out in the public eye–where her actions can be evaluated and judged–than working behind the scenes where no one can see what she’s actually doing.

  7. “I think both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for the state of affairs our country is in.” ~~I agree completely.

    “I believe we need healthcare reform desperately–but I’m concerned about the bill that may be passed into law.” ~~ The timing was wrong from the onset. We’re broke! We need to straighten out the economy, and have a surplus before we can even start to properly reform health care.

    “I’m upset we bailed out AIG and banks that got us into this economic mess and that their corporate officers and others are still receiving huge bonuse–and that Congress has not passed any real reforms yet.” ~~ I agree completely

    “I don’t trust the likes of Summers and Geithner.” ~~Something about Geitner reminds me of “Simon Bar Sinister”. 🙂

    “If you haven’t listened to Limbaugh in ten years then I’d say you’re not in a postion to make a judgment about whether or not he is a hatemonger. He spouts a lot of rhetoric that goes way past telling people to stand up and say “no more.” ~~ I gave up on Rush during the Clinton Administration. I do know a lot of people that are regular listeners, and I don’t see any of them advocating violence. Most of those who listen to Rush express disdain for liberals. Most of those who regularly watch Olberman and Maddow have the same views of Republicans. I choose to avoid all of them. I’m smart enough to know that most people care for others. I prefer to give a hand up instead of a hand out. I’d give the shirt off of my back to someone in need, but I would not do the same for someone who gave their shirt away.

    “I have no problem with Virginia Thomas running for governor of her state–or for a national office.” ~~I’d have a problem with that. I think it infringes on the Separation of Powers Doctrine. (Especially if Mrs. Thomas would be serving in Congress. I think one profession controlling all three branches presents the same problem, and I think most would agree. Could you imagine physicians having control of all three branches?

  8. Duh–

    From the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog (3/16/2010):
    Ginni Thomas, Wife of Clarence, Launches Political-Organizing Group
    by Ashby Jones

    Excerpt:
    “We’ve got to get the Constitution back to a place where it means something . . . or we’re headed for tyranny.”

    – Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, during an interview at a Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in February.

    It’s a provocative quote, one you’d expect more to hear from the head of a lobbying and political-organizing group than from the wife of a Supreme Court justice.

    Well, lo and behold, Ginni Thomas is both the latter and the former. She recently founded a new nonprofit lobbying and political-organizing group meant to appeal to folks aligned with the “tea party” movements.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/03/16/ginni-thomas-wife-of-clarence-launches-political-organizing-group/

    ************
    And from The Nonprofit Quarterly (3/16/2010)
    Wife of Clarence Thomas Launches “Tea Party” Nonprofit
    by Rick Cohen

    Excerpt:
    Isn’t it likely that among the potential contributors to Liberty Central will be corporations and interest groups with cases (or active positions on cases) in front of the Supreme Court?

    http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2006:nonprofit-newswire-wife-of-clarence-thomas-launches-tea-party-nonprofit&catid=155:daily-digest&Itemid=137

  9. Duh,

    I think both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for the state of affairs our country is in. I believe we need healthcare reform desperately–but I’m concerned about the bill that may be passed into law. We could have had a good healthcare bill if the Republicans and Blue Dog Democarts and Joe Lieberman had cooperated with the majority of Democrats–and if the White House hadn’t made some behind the scenes deals. I’m upset we bailed out AIG and banks that got us into this economic mess and that their corporate officers and others are still receiving huge bonuse–and that Congress has not passed any real reforms yet. I don’t trust the likes of Summers and Geithner. I’d like to see someone like Elizabeth Warren or Brooksley E. Born put in charge of the Treasury.

    If you haven’t listened to Limbaugh in ten years then I’d say you’re not in a postion to make a judgment about whether or not he is a hatemonger. He spouts a lot of rhetoric that goes way past telling people to stand up and say “no more.”

    I have no problem with Virginia Thomas running for governor of her state–or for a national office.

    BTW, I’m also a fan of Professor Turley–but I didn’t agree with the position he took on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

  10. Elaine M.,

    I just went to their website http://libertycentral.org/
    The mission of the organization does not include lobbying. In fact, their news page talks about a recent poll. Here’s one of the gripes:

    “64% think politicians listen more to lobbyists than ordinary citizens”.

    They consider lobbyists to be part of the problem. I searched the whole site, and found no indication that they desire to be involved in lobbying.

    Maybe we should wait for the bridge to be built.

  11. Elaine M.,

    I haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh in over 10 years. Other than sound-bites, I couldn’t tell you what Limbaugh is telling his listeners. If telling people to stand up and say “no more” is hate mongering, I’d agree that he is a hate mongerer.

    I am in 100% agreement that our government is broken, but I’m not sure we both consider it to be broken for the same reasons. We can have ideological differences, and both still want the best for our fellow citizens. I think pushing thru a health care bill when the majority of those polled are against it, and when we don’t have the money to pay for it, is a function of a broken government. I’d say the same thing if you wanted to by a new car (bacuse it would get better fuel economy), but couldn’t figure out how to pay for it.

    Do you agree with the “Bailout” and the “Stimulus Package”?
    Would you have a problem with Virginia Thomas running for governor in her state?

    BTW, I’m a fan of JT, but I sure don’t agree with everything he has to say. 🙂

  12. Duh,

    Please read ALL of what I write in my comments. Don’t just cherry pick.

    I wrote the following in a previous comment: “You may not believe me–but I’d feel the same way about the spouse of a liberal justice involved in founding a liberal “coffee party” lobbying group.”

    I hate the extreme partisanship that is afflicting our country at the present time. Nothing is getting done for the betterment of most of our citizens because of the kind of bitterness and lack of cooperation that now exists in Congress–and in the populace.

    I think people like Rush Limbaugh are hate mongers. Ginni Thomas is a fan of his. That gives me reason to be concerned about her group and what its aims and goals are.

  13. Elaine M. said “Of course not! Much better to wait and announce the establishment of the organization once she found out that it would be able to solicit and use unlimited funds to use for lobbying purposes.

    BTW, you don’t suppose her tea party organization was in the planning stages while the case was before the court, do you?”

    Thanks for pointing out that the liberals were going to whine about it no matter when she chose to organize. I’m glad she waited until after the Court handed down their decision.

    Of course she was in the planning stages. In fact, she was probably told to wait until after the Court handed down a decision.

    Where is your complaint about Governor Rendell (D-Penn.) whose wife is a federal appellate court judge? What about Steven Reinhardt, a federal appellate court judge whose wife, Ramona Ripston, is Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California?

    As I stated earlier, the complaint is not about her playing the game. It’s all about what team she plays for.

  14. Thanks for both the well wishes and the lovely verses, Elaine.

    I’m sure the cough will clear up as soon as Cheney is in prison orange.

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