Sunday, May 14, 2023

Those ethics complaints against Thomas? We are making them up

Those ethics complaints against Thomas? We are making them up

Those ethics complaints against Thomas? We are making them up
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

If the Supreme Court were doing what liberals want, all those ethics complaints would be unnecessary.

But since the Left lost the majority on the Court, it’s time to discredit it.

That is pretty much the argument Chris Geidner makes in his blog Law Dork (I love the name, I have to admit, so kudos for that Chris!)

I admit that I am paraphrasing Geidner’s point a bit unfairly. He is not so crass as to outright state that the Court must be delegitimized because it is ruling in ways not to his liking. He simply implies it by making slurs about the ethics of conservative justices, particularly Clarence Thomas, and stating that it is necessary to repeat the slurs because the court is conservative.

The Left has always hated Thomas and has worked to discredit him from the time he was nominated to the Court. It has been one non-stop smear after another, and the smears have gone into overdrive since the Dobbs decision.

Black conservatives are a thorn in the side of the Left, and there is a wonderful Twitter feed called Chronicles of Racist Liberals that documents all the racist attacks on Black conservatives by liberals using the crudest terms imaginable. As you can imagine, the nicest slur on Clarence Thomas is that he is an Uncle Thomas. It gets much worse from there.

The attacks on Thomas and other conservatives are relentless, and their goal is simple and obvious. Liberals have been agitating to pack the courts to little success because, well, it is a blatant ploy to seize power. The next best thing is to pick off the conservative justices and replace them with ones of their choosing. Barring that, they want recusals in key cases to win by subtraction.

This is their current goal, although they may try to pack the court if Biden wins next year.

If the Left really believed their bullsh!t they would try to impeach Thomas, but that wouldn’t fly. So they are smearing him relentlessly.

So relentlessly that all 9 Supreme Court Justices fired back, and Sonia Sotomayor has even broken the silence to defend Thomas.

It is in this context that Geidner brings up Thomas and political considerations:

All of that to say, the Dobbs decision changed America overnight. And we’re still dealing — every day — with the fallout. And now, in the months to come, the six-justice majority could and likely will, on many fronts, continue to move the nation’s laws — and with them the country — to the right.

In that context, the questions about the court’s ethics can quickly appear to be based more in politics than in ethics. This was, in effect, much of the Republicans’ response to Democrats’ claims at last week’s Senate hearing on Supreme Court ethics reforms.

Much of the rest of the piece argues Thomas’ friendship with Harlan Crow is a problem.

Why, exactly this friendship is a problem is complicated, but it boils down to this: Crow is a conservative and Thomas is ruling as a conservative. Thomas, it can be argued, is being bought off by Crow.

This is, on its face, absurd. Thomas has been a conservative forever, which is why liberals hate him so much. It may be that conservativism is at the root of his friendship with Crow (I have no insight into their relationship, and perhaps they just like playing chess together), but it clearly isn’t transactional. As with all friends, their commonalities bring them together.

Clearly, Crow is not buying Thomas’ opinions, because Thomas’ opinions have remained constant for decades. The suggestion is vile.

By the way, the whole Sotomayor/Penguin controversy is also absurd. I understand why people are pointing to it suggesting liberal hypocrisy, but her opinions are not being bought either. It’s silly to argue that they are. She is a Lefty and will rule as a Lefty. She sold a book as many others do. She isn’t going to rule in favor of Penguin for money.

It’s not that people on the left only care about ethics because of the court’s decisions — although, honestly, that would be fine, too! — it’s that the new majority’s decisions, and the possibility of more of them, are so disruptive to established organizing principles of our modern legal society that they center the ongoing ethical questions surrounding Thomas. That, in turn, has led to broader ethics discussions and reporting about the justices.

This argument is refreshing, in a way. Geidner is at least saying the quiet part out loud. The Left is attacking Thomas not because they care a damn about ethics. It’s that they want power.

No kidding.

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