Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, two frankly vile human beings who once averred that mere innocence should not save a person from execution, seem to have encountered a spot of bother.
Last year, they ruled with the majority on the infamous Citizens United case, which effectively allows unlimited political spending by well-heeled corporations during election campaigns. Now it appears that their political associations have created a clear conflict of interest. Put a slightly different way, they were indulging their far-Right ideological excesses at the expense of upholding the law of the land as they were sworn to do.
Mr. Edgar [speaking for a citizen watchdog group called Common Cause] said the justices were featured speakers at invitation-only retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a private company whose officials have played an active role supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes.
He also said Justice Thomas may have had an undisclosed financial conflict of interest through his wife’s work as founder and CEO of a conservative advocacy group, Liberty Central. Edgar said the group stood to benefit from the Citizens United decision through easier fundraising and easier political spending. [Ms. Thomas has since stepped down as CEO of the group.]
In Thomas’ case, the unreported amount that his activist spouse earned from a far-Right “think tank” called the Heritage Foundation was $680,000—not exactly chump change.
The justice failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal non-investment income” would be disclosed, Common Cause alleged.
Federal judges are required to disclose the source of spousal income.
“It wasn’t a miscalculation; he simply omitted his wife’s source of income for six years, which is a rather dramatic omission,” said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law. “It could not have been an oversight.”
As noted, Scalia and Thomas have been palling around with billionaire Charles Koch, whose far-Right political pursuits were greased by the Citizens United ruling.
Readers may recognize the Koch name. Charles and his brother, in fact, bankrolled the most successful US conservative astroturf effort to date—the Tea Party.
The phrase “thick as thieves” comes to mind. But: quis judicabit ipsos judices?
H/t Sister Sage