Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recuse Me?

Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the healthcare law case, folks on both sides of the spectrum want certain Supreme Court justices to sit it out.

Conservative groups want to prevent Justice Elena Kagan from being among the members of the court to decide the case, which the justices announced on Monday they would hear this term. And liberal groups, similarly, want Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from the case.


But Kagan isn’t the only target. If conservatives have urged her recusal for fear of her reliably liberal vote, then it’s concern about Thomas’s usually-conservative voting record that prompted liberals to urge his recusal.

Seventy-three House Democrats, led by then-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), wrote earlier this year that Thomas should recuse himself because of his wife’s work with Tea Party groups in opposition to the law. The Democrats charged that Ginni Thomas had previously been compensated in part for her work against health care reform; the liberal magazine Mother Jones reported that she had received $150,000 in compensation from Liberty Central, a group opposed to the reform law, according to her husband’s financial disclosure forms.

There’s also a report that Mr. Thomas and fellow conservative Justice Antonin Scalia were guests at a dinner hosted by one of the law firms that will be arguing against the healthcare law before the Court.

Under the code of judicial conduct for judges and lawyers, that would be considered unethical, but the Supreme Court is not bound by that code… at least legally. So if Elena Kagan can’t be possibly be objective because she worked for the Obama administration when it wrote the healthcare law, how objective can Mr. Thomas be because he slept with someone who raised money to defeat it?