Profit From Behind The Supreme Court Bench?

Submitted By Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

I will be honest. I am not a big fan of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and as of late, I have had the same less than positive feelings about his wife, Virginia Thomas.  According to a recent Think Progress article, Justice Thomas’ vote on the Citizens United case has allowed his wife’s “consultant” company to profit by educating its customers on the best political causes to invest, I mean, donate to .

“Ginni Thomas’ new career advising clients on how to donate money to political causes is striking in light of the fact that this career path was much more difficult to break into just one year ago. In Citizens United v. FEC, Ginni’s husband Clarence cast the key fifth vote enabling corporations to spend unlimited money influencing U.S. elections. As a result of this vote, outside groups spent nearly $300 million influencing the 2010 elections — much of which would have been illegal before Justice Thomas greenlighted this spending. Now, Ginni Thomas appears to have found a way to earn money off her husband’s actions as a justice. Clarence Thomas released countless amounts of corporate spending on U.S. elections, and Ginni Thomas can get rich advising those corporate clients on how to direct that spending.”  Wasn’t it nice of Clarence Thomas to assist his wife, directly or indirectly,  in her endeavors to aid wealthy investors in hiding their campaign donations?

I am sure that it is just a coincidence that Virginia Thomas made this career choice shortly before the Citizens United case. This is the same spouse who contacted Professor Anita Hill recently in an attempt to convince Ms. Hill to “finally” tell the truth about Virginia’s husband’s alleged actions prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court. I thought when I read that story that this lady is off her rocker.  Now that I understand that she actually may have been protecting her meal ticket, it makes a lot more sense!  What do you think?

Source: Think Progress
Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

31 thoughts on “Profit From Behind The Supreme Court Bench?

  1. rafflaw,

    I’ve been reading about her new enterprise/firm “Liberty Consulting.” Very interesting. Thanks for posting about this.

    Justice Thomas’s wife Virginia Thomas now a lobbyist


    Did you read the following article?

    Virginia Thomas’ Anita Hill Call Reportedly Caused Problems With Conservative Donors

  2. Of course, Justice Thomas is not the only judge to have had a spouse in a prominent political role. Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s wife, Ramona Ripston, stepped down last year from being head of the Southern California ACLU. Third Circuit Judge Jane Roth’s husband was a U.S. Senator; Third Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell’s husband is a governor.

    Any reason to believe that Justice Thomas would have taken a different position had his wife chosen to be a housewife?

    What restrictions should be placed on the activities of U.S. Citizens because their spouses sit on the bench? Should we require judges to be single?

  3. This is obviously a fine line and even though it is obvious that they are working together to benefit the family, it would be impossible to show that his vote was directly influenced by his wife’s career and the congress today isn’t going to bring forth impeachment to try to find the truth.

  4. Rae,
    There is a big difference between your examples and the Supreme court and to answer your question, yes. I don’t care what job she has if it doesn’t impact his decisions or give the appearance of impropriety to his decisions.
    Addiction Analyst,
    You don’t have to have a very good imagination to make the connection. I agree that this alone would not be grounds for impeachment, even if Congress had the stones to do it. But maybe it is a start.

  5. “to answer your question, yes. I don’t care what job she has if it doesn’t impact his decisions or give the appearance of impropriety to his decisions.”

    Yes to what? Justice Thomas’ opinion would have been different had he been married to a housewife? Judges should be single?

    What restrictions should be placed on the activities of U.S. Citizens because their spouses sit on the bench? I fail to see how that can be a yes or no question.

    Maybe you should chew on this.

    “What we have here is the inevitable result of the growing equality of women, the resulting growing tendency of lawyers to marry lawyers (and lawyers are disproportionately likely to go into politics), and the general tendency of people to marry others like them. It makes sense that many judges these days are women whose husbands are of the profession, social class, and cast of mind that makes them want to go into politics. It makes sense that many male judges have wives who are likewise likely to be interested in politics. And of course since spouses are supposed to help each other (and much such help is entirely legitimate), the success of one may yield more opportunities for the other.

    Nor does this strike me as particularly pernicious or dangerous: Judges have plenty of political and ideological predispositions that they bring to the job from their earlier lives, and of course they have judicial philosophies that often make them in sync with particular political groups. That too is inevitable, and the fact that a spouse (or a child) has a high-profile political position doesn’t add much, I think, to those existing predispositions. In particular, I don’t think that the desire to remove any such mild additional influence of the judges justifies limiting the lives of the judge’s spouses and children. Virginia Thomas, like Ramona Ripston, should be free to go where her beliefs and talents take her, without having her spouse’s job cripple those ambitions.” -Professor Eugene Volokh

    If only we could go back to the day when spouses would just be seen and not heard. That would solve the problem. If these women knew their place… (sarcasm)

  6. Rae,
    I apologize if I confused you with my response. I was only answering your first question. I do believe that Justice Thomas’s decision may have been different if his Wife was not making a lot of money serving the people who benefitted by the Citizens United decisions. I would respectfully disagree with Prof. Volokh that this is an attemtp to cripple womens ambitions. To try to sweep this under the guise of today’s women and their ambitions is not being intellectually honest, in my opinion. The appearance of impropriety is something Judges are supposed to take seriously. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Justice Thomas and some of his colleagues.
    Your sarcasm is lost in all of the progressive policies that the Right Wing and Republicans have brought to American women in the last 20 years. (an attempt at sarcasm)

  7. “Any reason to believe that Justice Thomas would have taken a different position had his wife chosen to be a housewife?”

    There are two reasons:

    1. The whole of Clarence Thomas’ sleazy career.

    2. His wife is strongly implying her relationship with her husband makes her company a good bet to get favorable SCOTUS treatment.

    I find it amusing that those who are trying to destroy the gains of the feminist movement are the same people that will be the first to defend Thomas with the issue of women’s autonomy. By the way I’m not accusing you Rae of being of that ilk, I have no way of knowing not being familiar with you. I am talking in general of the ilk. Interesting enough John Fund on bill Maher Friday night used the same citation of the California Senator. The word goes out fast to the faithful as to the proper talking points to use. You’ve got to give props to the Roves, Heritage Foundation and the koch Bros. et. al. They are big league propagandists. But then so was Joseph Goebbels, who developed the specific tactics they use.

  8. I was taught that if you can’t say something nice about someone,you shouldn’t say anything at all.So Justice Thomas I have nothing to say.

  9. This is not just a matter of Thomas and his wife having some crossing over of their political and professional interests. They together are a movement. They are among the leaders of it.

    It is not just that they have certain ideological dispositions that they hold in private. They are at the forefront and champions of such beliefs to the level they are proselytizers. Hardly what one wants in someone on the judiciary who is supposed to judge with impartiality under the law.

    Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas is clearly exploiting her position as Clarence Thomas’s wife to greatly enhance her career prospects and in the prospect bringing disgrace on the U.S. Supreme Court. Were she not Clarence Thomas’s wife, the prospects of her new firm Liberty Consulting would be much less probable. Though a career government attorney, she would be far from a conservative celebrity.

    They are the epitome of the current dysfunction of the United States of America, themselves contributing an outsize share to the breaking of an entire branch of our government, shared with others who disregard clearly elaborated ethical and professional considerations in pursuit of their personal ideological agenda, that is in fact closely tied to their economic success.

  10. How was Virginia Thomas’ asking Anita Hill to tell the truth about Clarence Thomas’ actions prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court an attempt to protect her meal ticket? I don’t understand.

    By the way, I referred to Clarence Thomas’ “actions” rather than “alleged actions,” because Jane Mayer’s book, Strange Justice, removed any doubt about his sexual harassment of Anita Hill (not that any reasonable person who watched the hearings could have had any doubt).

  11. I’d say that they ought to be hung together Buddha….but someone might think I was speaking about lynching….I think that that is not legal in them parts…but bring em to Texas…we can take em out back…..

    or then again, the Bayou rarely gives up its secrets….

    right Buddha…

  12. Mike S.,
    Well said. It is amazing that the very same people who have attacked women’s rights for years are trying to claim that the Dems are attacking a strong Republican woman for being ambitious. What was the last positive thing the Republicans have done for women?
    Great video of Sgt. Schultz!!

  13. Rae: “If only we could go back to the day when spouses would just be seen and not heard. That would solve the problem. If these women knew their place… (sarcasm)”

    That’s not the issue. Should an opportunity arise that might even give the appearance of a conflict the judge in question should recuse themselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s Thomas/Ginny or a judge with a wife that lobbies for a left leaning organization hearing cases that deal with that cause or business.

    The problem is Thomas, not his wife. The fact that Ginny touts her connection to the judge is though either a fraud or makes it imperative for the judge to start recusing himself, something there is no indication he will do based on past practice. Also, the fact that he failed to list her income (not an accident) only makes the possibility of a compromised sense of ethics on the part of the judge more likely.

    It’s not Ginny, it’s Clarence.

  14. Elaine,
    Great video. The Professor was on fire in that interview.
    amen to your response to Rae. I hope Rae watched the video of Prof. Turley’s presentation on the Rachel Maddow show that Elaine provided, because he gave a concise and thorough explanation why Justice Thomas is violating Judicial Ethics with his fund raising and his wife’s fund raising for political groups.

  15. I feel it is time to openly recognize some facts about our current govt. From a poster at Common Dreams: “…decisions are made by the shadow government in the U,S.that is completely unaccountable to the public and aggressively counters any move towards democracy that may threaten the profit margins of the real U.S. government–the corporate oligopoly.

    The puppet government of the U.S. is Congress, the president, the Supreme Court, etc., and they are all well-paid and well-bribed to distract the public from this reality.

    There we have it: the three branches of the U.S. government–puppet government, corporate oligopoly, and shadow government. Civics 101, but a complete mystery to most Americans.”

  16. Thanks for posting that interview. So … whom do we turn to, what recourse do we have when the Supreme Court itself is corrupt?

  17. Kate,
    The only recourse that I know against a Supreme Court Justice who is violating judicial ethiscs is an impeachment. Maybe one of the other Turleyites can give us more on that question. I think Prof. Turley hinted at it in the above linked interview with Rachel Maddow when he said that is why they call them Supreme.

  18. After looking at her background on Wicki, Mrs. Thomas has been making some unusual decisions all her life.

    But she’s a lawyer and was on the board of Creighton Law School 2006-2007 so she can’t be all that bad, right? If she’d done something illegal or unethical, the ABA would have kicked her out, right? Did they – kick her out? How about Mr. Yoo? Mr. Bybee?

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