I am not a conspiracy monger. Readers of my work know that I take a dim view of trying to explain what happens in the world as some sort of organized or even generalized plot to discredit/destroy the right or its personalities.
The world is far too messy to be so organized about anything. But the human brain is a wonderful mechanism for ordering the world. We are born to see patterns around us; cloud formations as animals or other illusions that are beautiful but irrelevant. But just because it seems organized doesn’t mean it is.
Essentially, you can’t take outcomes as evidence of conspiracy. But isn’t it interesting that within a matter of a few days, three conservative Supreme Court judges have been reported to have ethics problems?
One helluva coincidence.
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a rich friend who likes to treat him and his lovely wife to expensive trips to luxury resorts. Would that the rest of us were so lucky. But Thomas violated the unwritten rule that justices need to act as Caesar’s wife: above suspicion.
The Nation thinks that what Thomas did is a hanging offense — or, at least, impeachable.
The relevant question, it would seem, is not whether Thomas is plausibly guilty, but whether the Democrats have the political courage to do anything about it. That’s a test congressional Democrats have already failed once—and at a time when the party had sufficient control of the House to easily approve articles of impeachment.
OK, so a 6-3 conservative majority becomes a 5-4 majority when Biden gets to name a flaming radical for a judge.
So why stop there? Jane Roberts, wife of Chief Justice John Roberts is a successful legal recruiter and was apparently paid $10.3 million in commissions from top-level law firms — a couple of which may have had business before the high court.
That eye-popping figure comes from records in a whistleblower complaint filed by a disgruntled former colleague of Roberts, who says that as the spouse of the most powerful judge in the United States, the income she earns from law firms who practice before the Court should be subject to public scrutiny.
“When I found out that the spouse of the chief justice was soliciting business from law firms, I knew immediately that it was wrong,” the whistleblower, Kendal B. Price, who worked alongside Jane Roberts at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, told Insider in an interview. “During the time I was there, I was discouraged from ever raising the issue. And I realized that even the law firms who were Jane’s clients had nowhere to go. They were being asked by the spouse of the chief justice for business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there was no one to complain to. Most of these firms were likely appearing or seeking to appear before the Supreme Court. It’s natural that they’d do anything they felt was necessary to be competitive.”
Jane Roberts is good at her job, and this is a problem? Unless you believe Mr. and Mrs. Roberts engage in the most boring pillow talk in history, there’s nothing to see here. Move along. It’s an idiotic attack with no basis to accuse Mrs. Roberts regarding ethics or the law.
Finally, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is in a spot of trouble for selling some property he owned in Colorado to the chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, one of the largest and most influential law firms in the country.
Gorsuch disclosed the money he made on the sale with his two partners — between $250,000 and $500,000 on his disclosure form. But he neglected to write down that it was the CEO of Greenberg Traurig who bought it.
In addition, a Denver-based lawyer for Greenberg represented North Dakota in what became one of the more highly publicized rulings in recent years, a multistate suit which reversed former President Barack Obama’s plan to fight climate change through the Clean Air Act.
Gorsuch joined the court’s other five conservative judges in agreeing with the plaintiffs — including Greenberg’s client — that the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its authority by regulating carbon emissions from power plants in the decision that makes it more difficult for the executive branch to regulate emissions without express authorization from Congress.
All three justices have made decisions benefitting benefactors who paid their wives or the justices themselves. But were those decisions made because of the money or because the decisions were based on solid conservative legal reasoning? Ethics rules are supposed to prevent questions like that from being asked, but in the modern world, it’s not possible.
Ginni Thomas and Jane Roberts are basically being told to quit their jobs, sit down, and shut up. They should be allowed the same freedom to work as anyone else. And if anyone believes Clarence Thomas can be bought by flying him to a resort, they really need to get out more.
Three justices under attack in a matter of days? Thankfully, Democrats need 67 senators to impeach Thomas or any other conservative justice — a number they will come nowhere near reaching.
It’s not a conspiracy. It’s hardball politics played to the hilt. A little birdie may have whispered about the dirt on Thomas, Roberts, and Gorsuch, but it’s a willing media that spreads the dirt around. In at least one case — Jane Roberts’ envious co-worker — the motive may have been personal.
Hardly the stuff of conspiracy-mongering. But instructive nonetheless.