Category Archives: U.S Supreme Court

Rothman Seeks Ethics Investigation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Press Release

Washington, DC – On October 7, 2011, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ), along with 45 of his colleagues, sent a letter to the leaders of the House Committee on the Judiciary urging them to investigate and hold hearings on the outstanding ethical questions surrounding U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Here is the letter:

October 7, 2011

Lamar Smith
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
2138 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers:

We are deeply concerned about recent reports concerning potential ethics violations by a Member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas. We are also concerned by the unwillingness or inability of the Court to address these allegations in a manner that promotes public confidence and trust in the judicial system.

As you know, unlike all other federal judges, Justices of the United States Supreme Court have not adopted and are not subject to a comprehensive code of judicial ethics. In this instance, it is essential that the Congress – and in particular the House Judiciary Committee – review these allegations to ensure the integrity of the Court is not comprised in the eyes of the public.

Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law. According to a recent review by Common Cause, a nonpartisan government accountability group, Justice Thomas failed to report at least $1.6 million in income earned by his wife since 1997.

In addition, news reports indicate that Justice Thomas may have also failed to report gifts from wealthy supporters and inappropriately solicited donations for favored non-profit organizations. Meanwhile, the court continues to operate without a binding code of ethics or a transparent process to determine recusal.

We urge you, as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee of Jurisdiction, to investigate and hold hearings on the outstanding ethical questions surrounding the court.

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Filed under financial disclosure, House Judiciary Committee, Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S Supreme Court, US Congressman Steve Rothman

Decision Overturning Health Reform Would Increase Costs for Consumers

August 12, 2011

WASHINGTON – August 12 – Statement of U.S. PIRG Policy Analyst Mike Russo on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling today on Florida v. HHS, the lawsuit brought by state attorneys general and governors against the new federal health care law:

“Relying on a flawed understanding of Supreme Court precedent, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down a key element of last year’s health reform law. Unfortunately, consumers and small businesses would face significantly higher insurance premiums if the Supreme Court upholds this ruling. Americans would be left paying more than $1,000 extra a year, because those who choose to go without coverage will continue to use the emergency room as their only health care and shift those costs onto the insured.

“The health reform law protects consumers with pre-existing conditions from being discriminated against by insurance companies, and helps rein in the out-of-control cost of health care. The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling today jeopardizes those gains, putting consumers at risk of once again paying too much for coverage that might not be there when they need it.

“The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in June upheld the health reform law. This split among the Circuits makes Supreme Court review next year all but inevitable. The states who brought this suit should dedicate the time, energy and precious taxpayer dollars they are now spending on this lawsuit toward finding real solutions to the growing threat that health care costs pose to their states’ families, businesses, and budget.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress. ——————————————————————————–

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Filed under 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, consumers, Florida v. HHS, health care reform, press release, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S Supreme Court, U.S. PIRG

>Supreme Court justices ‘participated in political strategy sessions’ before Citizens United

>Has the time finally come to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Supreme Court rulings of two justices, Scalia and Thomas for conflicts of interest and the selling of their decisions ?

After reading the following that was post over at Rawstory.com I am beginning to think so:

On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, which overturned nearly a century of restrictions on campaign spending, a progressive group has asked the Department of Justice to look into “conflicts of interest” two justices may have had when issuing the ruling.

In a petition to be sent to the department this week, Common Cause will argue that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the campaign finance decision because of their involvement with Koch Industries, a corporation run by two conservative activists who many say directly benefited from Citizens United.

“It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision,” the letter alleges, as quoted at Politico.

The group will urge the department to disqualify Scalia and Thomas from the ruling. If that were to happen, the Supreme Court could vacate the ruling, effectively returning the campaign finance restrictions that existed until 2010. But, as Common Cause itself admits, the odds are against it.

At the center of the group’s claims is a document from Koch Industries unearthed last fall by ThinkProgress and the New York Times. In an invitation to a Palm Springs retreat to be held this month, Charles Koch boasted that previous events were attended by Scalia and Thomas.

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under Common Cause, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, NY Times, Politico.com, Raw Story, Think Progress, U.S Supreme Court

>President Obama’s Weekly Address 9/18/10: The Republican Corporate Power Grab

>The President explains how the most dire warnings about the Citizens United case have been proven valid as Republicans in Congress have blocked legislation to fix it.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under Citizens United, President Obama, Republicans, U.S Supreme Court, weekly address

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 1/23/10 This Week’s Supreme Court Decision

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama addresses the Supreme Court decision to further empower corporations to use their financial clout to directly influence elections and vows that “as long as I’m your President, I’ll never stop fighting to make sure that the most powerful voice in Washington belongs to you.”

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Filed under campaign finance, President Obama, U.S Supreme Court, weekly address

Today In History: 10/11/09

Highlights of this day in history: Congress OK’s U.S. military force against Iraq; Former President Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Peace Prize; Anita Hill accuses Supreme Court pick Clarence Thomas; Second Vatican Council opens; ‘SNL’ premieres

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Filed under Associated Press, Nobel Prize, SNL, Today in History, U.S Supreme Court

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 5/30/09

The President discusses the breadth and depth of experience held by his nominee for the Supreme Court. In the course of a life that began in a housing project in the South Bronx and brought her to the pinnacle of her profession, Judge Sonia Sotomayor accumulated more experience on the federal bench than any incoming Supreme Court Justice in the past 100 years, touching nearly every aspect of our legal system.

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Filed under President Obama, Sonia Sotomayor, U.S Supreme Court, weekly address