Judicial Ethics: America Owes Anita Hill an Apology and Clarence Thomas The Boot!
Other than my not liking this guy’s politics, the ethical issues I discuss here have huge ramifications for the average litigant, and especially anyone arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court or any court! I would call out a liberal or moderate judge who did the same thing!
According to “ProPublica”, NPR, and CNN, Clarence Thomas, controversial, ultra-conservative, Supreme Court Justice, who called Anita Hill a liar when she accused him of sexual harassment years ago, and his wife Ginni (notorious election denier), have accepted, for many years, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of what can only be described as “bribes” from a “right-wing Republican Billionaire activist” named Crow.
This “friend” became their friend five years after Thomas became a Supreme Court Justice. What a nice coincidence, a friend who loves you only because you are you who happens to be a billionaire right-wing “activist” willing to provide you millions of dollars in free stuff and to introduce you to hundreds of people who want you to rule in certain ways while you are in the Court. I wonder why elementary school custodians never find such friends?
Talk about an ethical blind spot!
So, being “blind” himself, Thomas, who claimed in a recent documentary to be a “..simple man, more comfortable in our RV, staying in WalMart parking lots”, asked “someone” whether he needed to report such largess.
“Nah”, the “someone” is supposed to have said. So, this “simple man” and his activist wife, who NEVER discuss politics with one another, took the “free stuff” and ran with it, for over 20 years.
Twenty years of free vacations and travel. Trips in a private jet to his “friend’s” luxurious yacht in Indonesia, island hopping, dozens of undisclosed plane flights, vacations, lavish food and drink, servants, private chefs, resorts, the works!
Lawyers and Judges spend their careers having to comply with “disciplinary rules”. These rules are rigid, sometimes silly, and sometimes common sense. Is it not startling that “The Supreme Court” is the only one that has no such rules?
I am not a judge, but I assumed there would be a rule called, “DON’T TAKE BRIBES”.
As for reporting these bribes, isn’t that a bit like “locking that barn door after the escape”?
If you follow the “don’t take” rule, you have nothing to report!
Perspective? Let’s think about this:
1. A few years ago, in one of my cases, a family court judge recused herself (withdrew) because my client’s wife was her hairdresser. She knew such a relationship created an appearance the judge might be influenced in favor of the hairdresser or even inadvertently slant against her hairdresser in trying to be fair. Either way, the appearance of a conflict is there.
2. In rural settings, especially, there has to be flexibility in this rule as “everybody knows everybody”. But bribery is bribery in New York, D.C., and Mayberry isn’t it? Or not?!
3. Would you want your judge to have accepted a free dinner from your spouse the night before hearing your motion? How about if she had paid for the judge’s family’s trip to Disneyland? Duh!
4. They say, “But he didn’t have any matters before the Court when he gave that stuff.”
5. Does it not matter that Thomas knew that his “friend” donated millions of dollars EACH YEAR trying to influence America on things like abortion, gun control, or immigration?
Did he know that when he voted to overturn “Roe v. Wade” and opined there are other precedents out there waiting to be overturned? Of course he did.
Why did he not connect the “ethical dots”?
Anita Hill might say, “Because he is a crooked liar of course.”
I agree. A “simple man” does not take millions of dollars in vacations and trips.
A “simple man” doesn’t lie about being a “simple man”, and he certainly doesn’t keep the dirty secret a secret.
What is my “take” on this mess? The question is NOT disclosure. The real question is should powerful politicians and judges be permitted to take “gifts” from people seeking to influence them?
I vote “No”! If they are dedicated to public service, that’s a credit to them, but public service while being “on the take” is, as I say above, BRIBERY.
Bribery is a felony! No judge “on the take” should stay on the bench!
Finally, where is the outcry from Republican leaders? Is this how they would react to Merrick Garland and George Soros doing the same thing? Don’t bother answering. If you engage them, they will swiftly change the subject to Hunter Biden or Hillary Clinton, or, Fox’s mantra, “Immigration!”
The American political system is morally and ethically bankrupt, and one party has sold its soul.
This post was written by Burton Hunter