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Could Obama Appoint a Third Supreme Court Justice?

by: DocJess

Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 06:00:00 AM EDT

Wouldn't THAT be nice?

So, of course, let's start with the Constitution, which says in Article 3:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. (bolding mine)

Therefore, we know that we can lose a Supreme to "not good behaviour", which is an amorphous concept. Is murder bad behaviour? Stealing plates from the US Mint? How about perjury? Perjury is a bad thing. And it appears that Silent Clarence, who hasn't uttered a single word from the bench in over 5 years, has admitted his guilt in this regard. 

If he didn't admit perjury, he certainly admitted an inability to read the English language. He had to fill out a form, and the issue arises around one section. Let's see if you can answer the questions:

  1. Are you married?
  2. If so, does your spouse have any non-investment income?

Two yes or no questions. Incredibly clear. As opposed to, say, questions one would need to answer to pass the bar to become a lawyer.  Which Silent Clarence ostensibly passed. In Missouri. Complaints have been filed, and disbarment is on the table. Links here, and here. As an aside, the bribery charge information is here - and yes! it was from Citizens United. Relevant passage:

Clarence Thomas breached his legal duty and violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by knowingly and willfully failing for 20 years to state truthfully on required AO 10 Financial Disclosure Forms that his wife Virginia earned non-investment income. Clarence Thomas further labored under a financial conflict of interest by failing to disclose $100,000 in support for his nomination by the Citizens United Foundation when he sat in judgment of a case involving Citizens United. Finally, he made rulings that his wife benefited from financially and professionally, and by extension, that benefited him. In short, this unethical and criminal conduct violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, and undermines the rule of law, respect for the law and confidence in the law.

Would that be enough "not good behaviour" to get him thrown off the bench? Probably not, since that's a House action, and the tea baggers like both the ability to keep him on the bench AND the ability to "prove" they're not racist. Which, of course they are. One of the things they like about Silent Clarence is that he doesn't speak. Think about it, it will come to you. 

For the non-tea bag Republicans, this is a problem for the 2012 cycle. The likelihood is that he'll be disbarred. And the Justice Department will investigate. The fun part is that these things take time, and so it will be in the news for months, if not years. The GOP is going to have a lot of trouble here: if they stick with Silent Clarence, they're supporting perjury, which was, you may recall, one of the two charges over which Bubba the Big Dog was impeached. The other was obstruction of justice, which may well end up being an additional charge filed against Silent Clarence as the story unfolds. If, however, there is Republican support for removal from the bench, we're looking at the right losing their majority. If around the same time, Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts or Alito, say, won $234 million in the Powerball and decided to immediately retire, it would be a true rout. Imagine: we could regain the Supremes! And then maybe Obama would morph back into being a Democrat. And we might well keep the Senate, and in a perfect world, get the lower chamber back. 

A girl can dream. Sorry, I digressed. 

Seriously, Clarence Thomas is a disgrace to the bench that brought us the likes of the Marshalls, John and Thurgood, Holmes, Taft, Brandeis, Frankfurter, Douglas, Warren, and the rest of the exemplary justices. Yes, we had Fred Vinson, but everyone makes mistakes; hopefully the Thomas one will be rectified. No matter how you look at it, this is a problem for the Republicans. Our side will likely be led by Anthony Weiner in the House. Couldn't get a better advocate. 

There are a lot of people who believe that "what goes around, comes around." Wouldn't it be nice, really superlative, to see a dishonest, lackluster, self-serving Republican get what he deserves? Yes, it would. 

DocJess :: Could Obama Appoint a Third Supreme Court Justice?

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we need a vote (0.00 / 0)
Does anyone believe anything at all will be done about Thomas?  I have been assuming not.  The Dems/Liberals get tossed out or fired for next to nothing, but the Repubs.Teabaggers get away with anything short of murder.

Best case scenario (0.00 / 0)
The best case scenario would be that Justice Thomas gets disbarred, and then resigns.

He doesn't seem to be all that in to his job, so I don't think resignation would be out of the question. And it would be far, far better for the country that a process which removes him--that's one thing President Nixon got right.

Tea Party (0.00 / 0)
I wonder what action would have been taken by the House if Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor or Kagen had lied on their financial report like Thomas did?

Disbarment (0.00 / 0)

In Missouri, the process for disbarment requires:

1)  A determination by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel that there is a basis to seek discipline;

2) A hearing in front of a special master;

3)  Briefing and a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Even if there were a clear cut case for disbarment (or any sanction for that matter, as I am not sure that the conduct meets the ABA standards for disbarment), the Missouri Supreme Court has been under a so far light attack from the IIE for allegedly being controlled by the trial lawyers.  For the past five or six years, there has been an attempt to go away from our non-partisan merit selection process to something that would shift power to the Republican-dominated state senate.  I can't see the Missouri Supreme Court doing something so political as attempting to disbar a US Supreme Court justice under any circumstance, but certainly not under current circumstances.

disbarment is meaningless (0.00 / 0)
He doesn't actually need a law license for anything so it would at best be symbolic.  The only way to get rid of him is impeachment which necessitates Republicans turning on him.

[ Parent ]
Not quite (0.00 / 0)
Thomas doesn't strike me as someone who will fight to the end at this point. If sufficient pressure builds, he might decide it's a good time to retire.

[ Parent ]




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