Tea Party Republicans have their eye on the Senate for many reasons – with the power to appoint another Scalia or Thomas chief among them. Nothing would please Republicans more than to give Scalia judicial support when he makes seditious comments like suggesting armed rebellion if you think taxes are too high and argues that the right to vote free of discrimination is “some sort of black entitlement.” Of course, no Scalia is complete without a dynamic Tea Party duo like Clarence and Ginni Thomas
Two Supreme Court justices with ties to the Koch Brothers and one whose wife is on the Koch Brother payroll reflect what Tea Party “jurisprudence” looks like. It’s the sort of jurisprudence that would overturn Roe v. Wade, The New York Times v Sullivan and other rulings that coincide with the U.S. constitution as we know it.
A Kochist dominated Supreme Court would favor a corporation’s imposition of its religious beliefs on its employees and the community at large. It would reshape the constitution to reflect Kochist ideology in which corporations are people except when being a person entails responsibility or accountability. True to Kochism, the SCOTUS would support laws that reduce racial minorities to on slave wages and all of us to slave like work conditions. Women are reduced to”hosts” of future Kochist soldiers under the forced marriage laws envisioned by the Koch brothers. The LGBT community would be subject to the sort of policies resembling those of Putin’s Russia.
Antonin Scalia is the SCOTUS clown car ringleader, with Clarence Thomas as his Koch brother sidekick. While they have a generally cordial relationship with the Republican wing of the SCOTUS, when they disagree on an already restrictive interpretation of the constitution, you can count on Scalia and Thomas for an interpretation even more extreme and completely inconsistent with U.S. jurisprudence. They have overturned settled law and decades of jurisprudence to advance an agenda from which Thomas has financially benefited and both justices have numerous ties.
Their lust for rewriting the constitution in a manner consistent with Kochism is evident – not only when they join with the majority in a pro-corporate anti-human being ruling, but also in their concurrent and dissenting opinions on voting rights, campaign finance, second amendment issues and a host of other matters.
We can look forward to more seditious advocacy for rebellion if you think taxes are too high.
We already know why the Tea Party Republicans oppose a Supreme Court Code of Ethics consistent with the code that judges in lower courts must follow.
Had there been such a code, it would have opened the door to impeach Scalia and Thomas many times over. The combination of Ginni Thomas’ financial ties to the Koch brothers and Scalia’s stated biases would make it obligatory to recuse themselves on cases in which those connections and biases would constitute a conflict of interest. If there was a code of ethics, Thomas would have had to recuse himself from past ACA related cases and current ones because his wife was a paid anti-ACA lobbyist.
But Thomas’ conflict of interest doesn’t end there. Ginni is also a member of the Koch propaganda tank, Groundswell. She was the founder and leader of Liberty Central, a far right belief tank “dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist ‘tyranny’ of President Obama and Democrats in Congress.”
Even though Ginni’s Liberty Central is a thing of the past, she remains dedicated to the Tea Party’s blanket opposition to anything the Obama Administration is for, which means that Thomas is in a conflict of interest for any case before the Supreme Court that involves policies passed by the Obama Administration.
Ginni’s ties to groundswell and Liberty Central alone would be a basis for impeachment if the code of ethics law proposed by Democrats last year was in place because it means that Thomas is in a conflict of interest on virtually everything that is and could be before the court.
Scalia is no slouch when it comes to conflicts of interest, though I doubt anyone currently on the court is as ethically challenged as Clarence Thomas. Scalia has direct ties to the Koch brothers. He appeared at a Tea Party House meeting in 2011. In 2004, he refused to recuse himself from a case involving Dick Cheney with whom he has social connections. Had there been a Supreme Court Code of Ethics these acts would have been inconsistent with the principles inherent in that code.
With his life-long involvement in efforts to destroy the VRA, Chief Justice Roberts would also have to recuse himself on voting rights cases. But, believe it or not, this pales when compared to Thomas and Scalia.
Ok, let’s be real. Judges do have opinions about the law and about cases that come before them. Those opinions can be shaded by their political views. This is and always has been a reality, but it wasn’t always mutually exclusive to the concept of judicial independence. It is possible to have a point of view, and still have the ability to see jurisprudence as it is, rather than how you wish it to be.
However, the problem here extends beyond opinions the justices may have. Two of them have ties to the Koch Brothers who have benefitted directly from the court’s rulings. Thomas is especially ethically challenged with wife Ginny’s numerous financial ties and connections to the Koch Brothers, and their groups with a stake in many of the cases before the court.
This is the sort of judicial corruption that is found in Putin’s Russia and other countries known more for oppression and corruption than anything resembling freedom or individual liberty.
It’s also an inevitability if we allow Republicans to take the Senate, things will get worse. I’m sorry to raise this, but it is a reality. Some of the justices are getting on in years. That means the President will have to nominate new justices and they have to be confirmed by the Senate.
Even with a Democratic majority, the confirmation process was a struggle for qualified nominees Elena Kagan and Sonja Sotomayor. Of the five Republican Senators who voted for Kagan, 3 are no longer in the Senate. It’s doubtful that Republicans will confirm anyone other than a “faith based jurisprudence” nominee for whom a code of ethics would be seen as a code of obstacles.
The potential for a Koch bought Senate ready and willing to put more like Thomas and Scalia on the Supreme Court is very real and a compelling reason to vote this year and in future elections. To their credit, Republicans made the Supreme Court a motive to get their vote out and we are living with the consequences. The one way we can reverse the current situation is to elect people to the House and The Senate who believe in We the people to replace those who espouse Kochism.
Image: Judy Scooter