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After reading Andrew Sullivan on Clarence Thomas and Citizens United decision (he ends his column by quoting from Adam B's recent dkos post) I was moved to write a kind of follow-up blog post that I'd like to also share here:

http://open.salon.com/...

As I was wading through various scotus decisions researching it, I was more "impressed" than ever by the damage Thomas is doing on the court. It's not just his part in the five member conservative majority. Even when an issue is so clear that even Scalia joins the rest of the justices in doing the obviously right thing, Thomas writes these crazy dissents that end up in the official record, and which therefore still have a chance to someday influence future decisions.

And if we ever regain the majority on the court, he'll still be there, not participating in oral arguments, never changing his mind, and cranking out those automatic dissents!

Originally posted to tenorslowworm on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 12:22 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Short of a catastrophic disaster (4+ / 0-)

      we are stuck with him and his republipig chosen colleagues ensuring the entire destruction of our democracy.

      Don't they have anything better to do?

      "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all" Andrew Carnegie

      by pantherq on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 12:32:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anything better? (4+ / 0-)

        Haven't you realised, that is the reason they were put there in the first place? They are there to ensure that Democracy goes the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo.

        FOSI: Full Of Shit Information - Both my sister and I are trivia freaks...

        by Spoc42 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:47:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I'm well aware of the machinations. (3+ / 0-)

          I'm just trying to proceed as if this were the country outlined in the Constitution.

          As to democracy going away, not going to happen.

          "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all" Andrew Carnegie

          by pantherq on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 03:20:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Watch and see. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            QuestionAuthority

            "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

            by dolfin66 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:56:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those that are behind the fascist movement here (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spoc42

              don't realize the mess they will be in when the public wakes up to this. All it would take is major power outages over a longer period of time depriving them of the soma from TV and talk radio. Combined with the intentional incompetence of crony capitalism delaying needed services and you have a recipe for pitchforks in the wealthy neighborhoods. They think they have a stranglehold on our military and police forces through their secret societies but they don't take into account the paring away of funding and therefore boots on the ground that they expect to protect them. Plus whatever equipment that is needed to stifle a rebellion is tied up in the crusades and in poor service condition due to over use and a slashing of maintenance budgets.

              Look at our delayed and incompetent response to the Haitian crisis. Do you think they will be able to get their act together any faster here over a larger area?

              "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all" Andrew Carnegie

              by pantherq on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 09:34:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QuestionAuthority

        That's why they were placed on the court.  The lower courts and appellate courts are filled with their replacements.  It's been going on for years.  Every time you hear one of these cretins bellow about "activist" judges, you know another right wing crazy is in line to oust that judge.

        "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

        by dolfin66 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:53:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thomas is merely a symptom... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShempLugosi, QuestionAuthority

      of what the right wing is doing to our entire legal system.  It will become increasingly draconian.  Unless Obama can replace two more judges with clear thinkers, the right wing will dictate who is on the court and you'll see more similar decisions like we saw last week.  Good bye Democracy.  Good bye freedom.  Good bye America.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:55:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the links. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlynne, loftT, QuestionAuthority

    I hit the link and read your blog post at Salon.  Very interesting and informative.  

  •  I'm reading "The Nine" right now (6+ / 0-)

    Written by Jeffrey Toobin, an account of the team of Justices from 1994-2005.  Thomas is, indeed, a nut.  Although he comes off as someone whom everyone apparently likes and gets along with.  But still, a nut.

  •  IS there a process for removing a Supreme (4+ / 0-)

    if nutjob indeed they turn out to be? I mean, Crazy can take over at any time, there must be a way to safeguard the Supreme Court of the land.

    •  The Justices are subject (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority

      to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors.  True crazy would likely result in enormous pressure to step down from the other members of the court as it would become a self-preservation issue.  There is also an ethical code of judicial conduct for the federal judiciary, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure it applies to Supreme Court Justices.  I don't think it's ever been tried.  Anyone know?  

      "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

      by jlynne on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:46:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Code of Conduct for US Judges (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jlynne

        explicitly excludes Supreme Court Justices, I assume in deference to the Court'sstatus as a creature of the Constitution, and the notion that the 3 co-equal branches are subject only to self-regulation:

        This Code applies to United States circuit judges, district judges, Court of International Trade judges, Court of Federal Claims judges, bankruptcy judges, and magistrate judges.

        Even if it applied, however, the Code deals with mental and physical disability of judges only in the most tangential manner, stating that Judges must "avoid impropriety" (Canon 2), with the following "commentary:"

        An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired.

        Similarly, a Judge must (Canon 3):

        be faithful to, and maintain professional competence in, the law
        and should not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.

        and should

        be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.

        Finally, supervisory judges have a duty to take action if a judge is not performing his duties in an appropriate manner.

        Have to agree with you that the most likely resonse to a mentally or physically incapacitated justice would be pressure from his colleagues, and that would come only when it was unavoidable.  When Chief  Justice Rehnquist was told he had terminal thyroid cancer, everything about his condition was kept under wraps, and his colleagues colluded in this silence:

        Reports after Rehnquist's death make it clear that the Chief Justice had been a very sick man, and that many - for example, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- had expected him to resign because of his illness. Rehnquist chose not to participate in a striking 44 oral arguments in his final term of service.

        Congress has also shown that it is too timid about inquiring into or disclosing Justices' health issues.  Again using Justice Rehnquist as an example:

        At the time of Rehnquist's confirmation hearings for Chief Justice, the Senate Judiciary Committee knew that he had been addicted to painkillers for a back problem; and that, at least on one occasion, he had been checked into a local hospital in a drug-induced state of paranoid delirium.

        Yet not one question about this was asked of Rehnquist, either in public or private session. Was this a deal between the Senate and the White House, or between the Committee and the Justice? We will never know.

        Eventually, a major scandal will occur, and that may finally provide the necessary impetus to look into things like the need for disclosure of health issues and the case for term limits on Supreme Court Justices.

        There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. -- Mark Twain

        by southriver on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 09:44:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Uglier than removing roadkill with bare hands (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShempLugosi, QuestionAuthority

      but yes, it's possible, but the outcome uncertain:

      Only one Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase (one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence), has ever been impeached. The House of Representatives accused Chase of letting his Federalist political leanings affect his rulings, and served him with eight articles of impeachment in late 1804. The Senate acquitted him of all charges in 1805, establishing the right of the judiciary to independent opinion. Chase continued on the Court until his death in June 1811.

      The acquittal of Chase — by lopsided margins on several counts — set an unofficial precedent that many historians say helped ensure the independence of the judiciary. As Chief Justice William Rehnquist noted in his book Grand Inquests, some senators declined to convict Chase despite their partisan hostility to him, apparently because they doubted that the mere quality of his judging was grounds for removal. Furthermore, federal judges became much more cautious by avoiding the appearance of political partisanship.

      Show me on the doll where Rahm touched you.

      by mydailydrunk on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:51:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ask Berry Gordy -- nt (0+ / 0-)

      "In our century, we've learned not to fear words" - Lt. Uhura

      by ShempLugosi on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:21:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Joe Biden . . . (5+ / 0-)

    who laid down like a dog during the Thomas confirmation process, and who probably could have saved us from the imbecilic Justice.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:00:09 AM PST

    •  Then who... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, QuestionAuthority

      would be Antonin Scalia's caddy?  Where else would they find a black sexual harasser who advocates slavery as a valid institution?  Yeah, buddy.  He's gotta be on our courts.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:58:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Thomas had been on the Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dolfin66

        in 1863, he would have held the Emancipation Proclamation to be unconstitutionally taking of a slaveowner's property without just compensation.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:39:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amend the Constitution! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    No corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation shall make contributions or donations of money or other things of value in connection, directly or indirectly, with a Federal, State, or local election.

  •  Clarence Thomas is a meat puppet (0+ / 0-)

    ..for the far right-wing Republicans. They tell him what his decision will be before he even hears a case.

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:08:48 AM PST

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