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:
- Are you married?
- 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.