Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Who Is Clarence Thomas?

My VIP for this week is Justice Clarence Thomas, the man whom the Left loves to hate. Thomas is just one of several justices on the Supreme Court who are being ambushed by the Left. The Left gets upset when the American people does not obey them, and they get even more upset at the Supreme Court. Thomas Jipping at The Heritage Foundation shared how the Left does its dirty work. 

Caring more about power than liberty, the Left believes that its political ends justify their means. Just consider how leftists try to manipulate the Supreme Court, including smearing as “unethical” justices the Left considers too independent, hoping Americans will automatically question anything they do.

The latest attack on Justice Clarence Thomas shows they are still at it, but the spaghetti is not sticking to the wall because it is fiction.

The Left first suggested that the Supreme Court follows no ethical standards or guidelines. The same federal laws governing recusal and financial disclosure, however, have long applied to justices as well as lower court judges.

Then the Left said that the Supreme Court does not have an “enforceable” code of conduct. Well, the code for lower court judges only provides “guidance” and the Supreme Court has followed that code for decades. Last fall, the high court essentially copied and pasted that code and put its own name on it. The Left didn’t seem to notice. Then the Left started dropping innuendos and rumors about things like the flag flown at a justice’s cottage or a vacation taken with some friends.

Now comes one of those leftist groups, calling itself Fix the Court, with another round. The justices recently filed their financial disclosure reports for 2023. These cover activities such as serving on boards, investments, gifts, and liabilities. Fix the Court asserts that Thomas failed to disclose most of the gifts he has received that, they claim, total about $2.4 million over the last 20 years.

As Paul Harvey would have said, here’s the rest of the story. First, the group claims to have “identified” gifts justices supposedly received from newspaper stories and its “own research,” whatever that means. Second, Fix the Court used its own definition of “gift,” failed to, er, disclose that this is not the definition of “gift” that judges and justices are required to use when filing their annual financial reports.

Judges instead follow the Guide to Judiciary Policy, issued by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The guide in place when Thomas joined the Supreme Court told judges to “exclude gifts received as the personal hospitality of any individual.” The 2012 revision stated that “a ‘gift’ … does not include … social hospitality based on personal relationships.” And the current rule, revised in March 2023, provides that any food, lodging, or entertainment received as “personal hospitality of any individual” need not be reported.

Third, Fix the Court’s description of how it came up with the gift totals is filled with words like “estimated” and “likely” as well as “we believe” and “in all likelihood” that, topped off with catch-alls such as “most likely an undercount” and the “additional ‘likely’ gifts” category. As they say, liars figure and figures lie. Not only are Fix the Court’s numbers literally their own invention, but this liberal smear of “and we hear this is just the tip of the iceberg” ambiguity makes their claims akin to double-hearsay.

Fourth, the group assigned whatever dollar figure they wanted to these “gifts” that Thomas was not required to disclose. How they could possibly know, for example, the value of private meals the Thomases enjoyed with friends while on vacation is impossible to fathom.

Fix the Court says that Thomas is unethical because he did not disclose what the group defines as gifts, with the value the group claims, regardless of the rules that federal judges actually have to follow. Those are just some of the misdirections and sleights-of-hand Fix the Court deployed to come up with numbers that they can then use to suggest that justices like Thomas, who interpret the Constitution as it’s written rather than making one up to fit the political agenda of this leftist group and its fellow travelers, are, well, just bad.

Jipping explained the Left’s “campaign to manipulate the Supreme Court” was all about doing whatever they could get away with. The Left’s reason is to create a Supreme Court that “will be a pliable and reliable political partner.” They have several ways of creating such a Court: “adding unnecessary seats to the Court, limiting justices’ terms, trying to force individual justices out of participating in certain cases, and smearing justices with fictional tales that they know most Americans will be unable to verify.”

Jipping then reminded his readers that King George used such “usurpations” as “undermining the independence of the judiciary” – which led to the War of Independence in 1776. This is “what distinguishes our judiciary from most others around the world.” It is this “fundamental principle” that we must defend and keep from being pushed aside.

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