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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: clarence thomas

Justice Barrett Doesn’t Want You To Think She’s A ‘Partisan Hack’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court whose nomination was rammed through the Senate by then-Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on Sunday told guests invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, "My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

She was roundly criticized and mocked for that claim, which was reported by the Louisville Courier Journal.

Barrett was nominated immediately after liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, before she had even been buried. She was confirmed one week before the November 2020 election in a 52-48 vote, entirely on party lines, and sworn in the very next day, all thanks to the efforts of Senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell in 2016 infamously blocked President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from even getting a committee hearing, then pushed through Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh before Barrett's nomination.

Here's Senator McConnell celebrating Barrett's confirmation, which indeed was on former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's birthday:

The court now sits with a 6-3 highly-conservative majority, and some across the country feel several of the conservatives have flouted judicial ethics by weighing in on issues, directly or in directly. Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, is a far right wing lobbyist who used to run a Tea Party organization. She is believed to have had a hand in President Donald Trump's expulsion of transgender service members from the U.S. Armed Forces. And Justice Kavanaugh, infamously during his Senate confirmation hearing, infamously threatened revenge against Democrats.

In fact, as Amy Coney Barrett was being sworn in, The New Republic published an opinion piece stating she and Justice Kavanaugh "have demonstrated this week that they should be thought of as political operatives, not justices."

Barrett of course brought this perception on herself, allowing her nomination to be pushed through in the weeks before a highly controversial presidential election, appearing at a super-spreader event at the White House celebrating her nomination, then later standing on the White House balcony with President Trump, days before the election, all of which effectively worked as an endorsement of his re-election.

Los Angeles Times columnist Jackie Calmes noted at the time just how unprecedented this single act was:

Many are mocking Barrett's claim.










Far-Right Disinformation Outfit 'Project Veritas' Sunk By Hurricane Ida

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The destructive flooding of Hurricane Ida as it hit the mainland U.S. has stretched from the Mississippi all the way up the Northeast of our country. The realities of our country's archaic infrastructure has even led to some GOP officials voicing their support for President Biden's infrastructure bill, which they've generally tried to neuter and delay for political gain. The costs in human misery and economic instability of doing nothing about climate change are far higher than the money we should be spending to upgrade our country's vast infrastructure needs.

Bad policy and unproductive political theater will not offer you immunity for defying science and forces like weather. Bad policy decisions concerning climate change and infrastructure hurt everyone. The Daily Beast reports that dirtbag conservative operator James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas crew lost their Mamaroneck, New York, home base to Ida's floods. Peas and carrots or thoughts and prayers, whichever one means less.

O'Keefe is probably best known for breaking the law and getting awards from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' terrible wife inside of a swampy Trump Hotel lobby for his work hiring women to create false sexual assault allegations in the hopes of discrediting real sexual assault allegations. Read that last part over to yourself again and then think about the kind of terrible hole in one's soul you have to have to be involved in that.

In a video posted to the right-wing disinformation group's YouTube channel, O'Keefe unironically says that Project Veritas' next "story" might be delayed as he works on rebuilding the organizations' infrastructure. In the video, O'Keefe calls himself and his "organization" the "most resilient organization anywhere," and then blathers on with a trite reference to the phoenix rising from the ashes. He finishes by misquoting a poem by Rudyard Kipling in sort of a perfect encapsulation of the conservative movement in our country: conjuring up an old famous imperialist, racist, and anti-Semite and then lacking the intelligence and thoroughness to even properly repeat his least offensive poetry.

Guess he'll be asking for some more of that socialist taxpayer money he and his buddies rail so hard against but love to have in the bank for a rainy day.

How Clarence And Ginni Thomas Soil The Supreme Court's Ethical Standards

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, far-right activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, have quite the scheme going. She takes in dark money contributions to her Tea Party-connected nonprofit, Liberty Central, and organizes Republicans on exactly the kind of issues that often reach the Supreme Court. He sits on the Supreme Court and never recuses himself as justices are called on by federal law to do in certain situations, including ones where their spouses have financial interests.

And this is going on while Justice Stephen Breyer is solemnly warning that expanding the Supreme Court might be a problem because "Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed" the perception that the court is guided by politics, "further eroding that trust." As if that ship had not long since sailed.

That ship sailed when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held open a seat on the court for nearly a year of then-President Barack Obama's term to give Republicans a chance to fill it. It sailed again when McConnell then rushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett weeks before an election. And it has sailed repeatedly thanks to the actions of the Thomases.

Most recently that's come up on the issue of big tech, with Republicans feeling censored by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, despite reams of evidence that Republicans in fact receive kid-glove treatment from Facebook in particular.

Virginia Thomas has been sending out email blasts promoting a website and "influence network" about the "corporate tyranny" of big tech. Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in a case dealing with Donald Trump's habit of blocking his critics on Twitter, railing against the control "of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties" and the "glaring concern" for free speech.

On the one hand, the fundraiser and organizer raking in contributions and whipping up opposition; on the other hand, the justice proclaiming on the law.

This is not a new story. Virginia Thomas started Liberty Central in 2009 with secret donations enabled by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that same year. The very existence of those secret donations raised ethical questions, legal ethicists said at the time.

"It's shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife's organization," Deborah Rhode, director of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession, told The New York Times in 2010.

"The fact that we can't find that out is the first problem," she said. Not to mention, "how can the public form a judgment about propriety if it doesn't have the basic underlying facts?"

Virginia Thomas and Liberty Central also fought fiercely against the Affordable Care Act, which has of course ended up in front of the Supreme Court repeatedly. But while Supreme Court justices are supposed to recuse themselves in cases of conflict of interest, they get to decide when to do so. No one can make them, which means Clarence Thomas can be just as unethical as he likes.

So, no, Justice Breyer, expanding the court—something with lots of historical precedent—or otherwise reforming it would not be what undermined trust by creating the perception of political motivation. You have only to look around you on the court to see what's done that.

Justice Thomas’ Wife Overseeing Trump Purge

Ginni Thomas, wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is working hard on influencing Donald Trump’s decisions on who to hire — and who to fire — according to a Sunday report from Axios.

Ginni Thomas’ group Groundswell, a network of conservative activists, provided the Trump White House with a memo urging the administration to make personnel changes.

The memo was one of several the White House received, Axios reported, with the goal of ridding the administration of so-called “Never Trumpers” disloyal to the president and hiring only those who are loyal to him.

Thomas handed a list of names for potential hires directly to Trump in early 2019, sources close to Thomas said. The list included Fox News commentator Dan Bongino and an aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

The new reporting about Thomas’ involvement adds to the story Axios broke last week about the White House purging the administration of those officials deemed disloyal to Trump.

On Thursday, Trump’s personal aide John McEntee reportedly asked each Cabinet agency to “identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump.” Those individuals will be targeted either for removal or to be denied promotions.

Since he was acquitted by the Senate, Trump has moved to retaliate against some officials within the administration that cooperated with the congressional impeachment investigation.

Shortly after the acquittal, Trump had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman fired from his position at the White House. Vindman had testified before Congress that he was concerned about Trump asking the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, and he relayed those concerns to National Security Council lawyers.

After Vindman was fired, Trump suggested he should be punished further by the military.

Trump also removed Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from his post, and asked top Pentagon official John Rood to resign.

Sondland told Congress that “everyone was in the loop” regarding Ukraine, and Hood spoke out against Trump’s plan to withhold military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the country into investigating Biden.

According to Axios, McEntee will ramp up the purge of those perceived to be disloyal to Trump following the November election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Danziger: Just Another High-Tech Lynching

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

Late Night Roundup: Going Easy On The TSA

Conan O’Brien spotlighted the news that the TSA failed to detect weapons in 95 percent of tests through airport security. But as a “real” TSA agent explained, just look at how easy it is to get fooled here.

Seth Meyers also commented on the news about the TSA — after all the money spent and crushing inconveniences for travelers, in order to make us think we were safer.

The Daily Show highlighted everything that has gone wrong in Iraq — and the fact that the people who got it all wrong in the first place are the ones talking about everything that President Obama is getting wrong now. Thus, Jon Stewart presents a new slogan: “Learning Curves Are For P*****s!”

Jon Stewart also looked at all the media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner — and the real social progress here: That transgender women are now so accepted, they can now be totally objectified on TV, too. “Caitlyn Jenner, congratulations — welcome to being a woman in America.”

Jimmy Kimmel highlighted Donald Trump’s upcoming big announcement — and wondered if it might be connected to another recent celebrity news story.

Jimmy Fallon also looked at the “Pros and Cons” of Donald Trump running for president:

Larry Wilmore reported on the Supreme Court’s decision this week that threw out a conviction over threatening Facebook posts — and he reacted in horror at the news of which Supreme Court Justice he’s agreeing with now.

James Corden took a shift working at a kosher butcher shop. He had a great time — if he didn’t entirely know what he was doing.