The Widdershins

Manic Monday: Supreme Hubris

Posted on: October 3, 2011

Where do I begin?  The same Supreme Court that gave us the deadly Citizens United decision that refused to review the case of Troy Davis, and declined to permit a class action suit against Wal-Mart is at it again.  There have been any number of strange courts in my day, most especially the Berger court.  If you haven’t read Bob Woodward’s The Brethren, it’s well worth your time.  The Supreme Court, simply put, is as strong as its Chief Justice – and also as strong as the ethics of the other members.  It’s not complicated – the justices are given lifetime appointments to the highest bench in the land.  In return, the nation expects them to be self-regulating and above reproach.

John Roberts had some bumps in his confirmation process, to be sure, but I’m not certain that anyone ever suspected the absolute void of leadership that he has demonstrated.  Sadly, there is little in the way of judicial oversight for the Supremes, so much of the court’s ethical direction comes from the Chief Justice.  Roberts has had some dingers thus far, such as Justice Alito’s hunting excursion with Vice-President Cheyney on the eve of a decision that involved the veep.  One would have to believe that, if Justice Alito failed to see the obvious conflict, Chief Justice Roberts should have prompted him to recuse himself from the case.  Oh, but no – Justice Alito’s personal assurance that he could rise above the obvious was good enough for John Roberts.

The Chief’s headaches are multiplying.  Both Justice Alito and Justice Thomas have accepted speaking engagements for right-wing  conservative conferences that border on campaigning.  If that isn’t enough, Justice Thomas appears to have made a little bit of a math error repetitively over the past twenty years.  From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

Oops!  He just kind of forget nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.  Shucks, it could happen to anyone.  Read on:

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

I have to believe that at least part of the reason that the Supremes are asked to fill out the forms is the highlight any potential areas of conflict.   Doesn’t the Chief Justice so much as look at them?  Or, did he suppose that Mrs. Thomas’ work for the Heritage Foundation was voluntary in nature?  Perhaps he took Justice Thomas’ word that his spouse’s employer would have no being on his ability to judge the forthcoming  The United Red States of America vs. The Affordable Health Care Act in a fair, dispassionate manner.

I sincerely hope that Attorney General Eric Holder does not take this lightly.  His record of dealing with government officials, past and present, leans sharply toward declining to intervene. That said, these are not ordinary times and this calls for extraordinary measures. At this juncture, the very essence of our government is at stake.  Without credible judicial oversight, I worry about the future of the nation.  If the Chief Justice cannot seem to keep things in line, perhaps the Justice Department must.

This is an open thread.

36 Responses to "Manic Monday: Supreme Hubris"

Like we didn’t have enough crap to be dealing with! I’m tired of multitasking! 😉

It is dizzifying, isn;t it?

I just don’t see how things can end well when we are under a barrage of fire from all sides that are meant to protect us. All checks and balances are completely corrupted from the inside out.

There is no longer any institution that can be relied upon.

We are all on our own.

Let’s not forget the worst offender of all — Antonin Scalia.

Only a few days ago he publicly commented on a case currently pending before the courts, the latest transgression in a long list of ethically questionable actions on his part.

Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito are considered devout Christians. If we take seriously the C Street (The Family) agenda of worldwide Dominion then these 4 are actively promoting that issue.

Thomas and his wife seem to be flaunting ethics in the face by their support of the Tea Party and deserve to be investigated. Yet something tells me this won’t happen as cries of “racism” and “anti religion” rants will soon follow.

Oh, that’s fascinating @ 5. I am certain he will not recuse himself from that case, however.

Talk about legislating from the bench!

@8 – Yes, and yet these are the hypocrites who pontificate about how “activist judges” should not be allowed on the bench!

I have a basic rule when it comes to the rightwingers (and now, to the Obamacrats as well): If they are accusing someone else of doing something, most likely they are the ones doing it!

Oh no not the supreme court they are supposed to be above reproach I am sorry but this must stop impeach justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia, and Chief Justice Roberts…lets start over!!!

Appointments to the SC are high on my list this time around. Bader is getting older and does not look healthy.

Her retirement under a Repub president will only offer more nominees matching the likes of the rotten 4 already onboard with the GOP.

Not saying I prefer Obama only that I prefer a more liberal bent than one that is going radically right on this present court.

This should send madamab over the edge:

“Sarah Palin is treated as Jews have been treated for generations: no matter what she does, she’s wrong. She’s either too religious or not religious enough; she’s a housewife who can’t function as governor, or she’s the governor who doesn’t take care of her domestic duties. All the things are thrown at her in the same way that Jews were targeted. She’s identified herself [with Israel] and has shown empathy for the things that the Jewish community cares about in a way that I think has yet to achieve the right recognition. She sent out a picture recently to supporters—not Jewish supporters, but her general supporters — and it’s a picture of her in front of the Statue of Liberty and she’s wearing a Jewish star. Maybe not since the Puritans founded America and gave biblical names to each other has there ever been such a positive identification with Jewish symbolism, so I like to joke that Sarah Palin will be the first Jewish president.”

This quote from some guy named Pollack who is employed by Andrew Breitbart.

Pat @ 13> Oh. My. God. Now I’ve seen everything. There are no words.

@13> But again – Palin as perpetual victim. She’s rich, she’s famous and she has a fanatical following. She has a cushy gig. But still – she and her worshippers just thinks he’s the most put-upon person in the world. Poor poor Sarah! Nobody understands her! Booohoooohooooo! I’ll play the world’s smallest violin for her.

She is just too stupid for words.

Rush went after Michele Obama recenty and there is the sound of silence emanating from most blogs. But let one person suggest that perhaps Quiterella is not up to the job and the nutjobs come out in full force.

Give me a break!!

Breaking news: Amanda Knox is free.

@17> Interesting. I wasn’t following the case very closely, but it seemed like nobody really knew what happened. It felt like scapegoating to me because the Italian authorities had no idea what happened.

Apparently this never aired on Fox. A protester in NYC goes after Fox News – to a Fox News reporter.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about Knox’s prosecutor. I didn’t know this guy was also the prosecutor for the earlier “Monster of Florence” case. The prosecutor blames the US novelist Douglas Preston – who wrote a book about how screwed up that investigation was and, I think, was blamed for the murders by this prosecutor – for trying to bring him down. The man is flat out crazy!

Pat quoted Pollack as saying,

“…I like to joke that Sarah Palin will be the first Jewish president.”

Yes, that is a joke, although not a funny one.

Unless White, Christian Sarah Palin is rounded up with 6 million of her friends, family and church members and summarily gassed, starved, shot and worked to death, she should shut the f*ck up about her alleged victimhood.

The problem is, she jumped the shark with that “blood libel” nonsense and everyone knows it. It was after that that Bachmann jumped in the race and nullified La Palin for 2012. Bachmann could sense that Sarah was O-Vah.

The only people who don’t get it are her cult followers. They are just like the ones who will never admit that Obama could ever be the right-wing Republican he appears to be.

Here’s a good piece by Chris Hedges on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

@22 – Oy vey, I couldn’t disagree with that more. Life is so simple for people like Chris Hedges. Dude has money and a cushy job. Does he not get that most people in America are teetering on the edge of broke, or are already there? How dare he impose a purity test on them? And some of us, many of us are holding onto our jobs with desperation and cannot afford to make waves. Does that mean we are sinking into a miasma of whatever? Is there literally only “one thing” we can do to show our disdain and revolt against Wall Street? And who the hell is this guy to define my activism for me? Talk about HUBRIS!

This article is EXACTLY why the Left never has any success with making real change any more. They are too busy pointing their fingers at ordinary, struggling Americans and screaming “BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!” What the hell good does that do except make self-satisfied, privileged jerks like Hedges feel More Virtuous Than Thou?

Sorry Fredster, I’m not mad at you and I’m glad you shared that link. It’s just that kind of BS really makes me mad. It’s so textbook Liberal Elite. And it completely proves my point from last Wednesday. In fact, I will share something else this Wednesday that proves it even more.

MB@23: Well I thought he had some good points in there:

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs.

And we do know that to be the case; They want every lifeline or safety net done away with. He is over the top with seeming to call for full-blown revolution, but we’ve somehow got to get our country back from the banksters and corporate oligarchs. I’m tired of hearing the repubs say that by having the rich pay more in taxes we’re hurting the job creators. If that was true, we’d have had job growth for the last 10 years! The only people who got screwed in the 2008 fiasco were the middle class and poor. The banksters and financial bigwigs got taken care of by our own government.

FWIW, here’s the website sort of in charge of the occupy group:

I’ve got to alert you guys: Go check out John Smart’s front page NOW!

@24 – Agreed 1000%, but why is he attacking those who don’t do what he instructs them to do? Don’t the wingnuts do that with their “you hate America” BS? Isn’t there anyone who will actually attack the oppressors instead of blaming the victims for not being pure enough in their hearts?

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

That’s a really bad way to start a rant that turns righteous later on. And he keeps going, and going.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal.

Oh please.

@26: OMG!!!

@28: tee-hee!

Hey, check this out – via Sky Dancing. Ron Paul calls for impeachment of Obama due to his assassination of an American citizen without any evidence or trial or any of them old-fashioned justice system whatnot thingies.

I wonder if the “progressives” who think Paul is so great because he is anti-imperialism, will embrace him after this?

Something tells me the answer is “no.” 😆

And here are the list of demands for Occupy Wall Street. This is what I mean. I love their spirit and I love that they are doing this. It’s their tactics I disagree with.

One message please: Get money out of politics! Simple, easy, covers everything. If we didn’t have a system totally corrupted by money, we could actually get some of those things done!

Did Ron Paul call for the impeachment of Bush for….well, a very long list of transgressions?

@32 – Probably, DYB. He claims that all presidents have committed impeachable offenses, and whether or not they get impeached depends on the political climate.

He is a nutbar, but at least he says something interesting every once in a while. 😉

@32 – Yup, he did.

Paul said that Bush should be impeached not under the umbrella of partisan vengeance but for ceaselessly breaking the laws of the land.

“I would have trouble arguing that he’s been a Constitutional President and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office.”

MB@31: Now Mad, that looks like a post by one person. I saw several different posts along the side with “our demands”.

Similarly, did you hear about the B.o.A. website going down either last night or today (Mon.)? Regions Bank is starting a $4/mo charge for a debit card also. I called one of the managers/assist-mgrs of the branch I use and asked her if my account (still under mom and me) if the main account was going to have this charge. She said yeah and I told her “well I can’t do much with the accounts right now until I get succession (probate) filed but when I do I’ll come by and close all of the accounts and move it all to my credit union.” She kinda hemmed and hawed and said “oh wait we can change the account *name/type* to **this** account and you won’t have the monthly charge. It’s just another way of getting to us little people.

Dick Durbin told people to vote with their feet and find a bank or credit union that won’t charge the monthly fee.,0,441522.story?track=rss

@35 – And? Why is their demand not solidified at this point? Why are there several different sets of demands? Who speaks for this movement anyway? Sorry to be all practical and stuff, but you know, this is the reality of the world. These people need to focus or they won’t get anything for their well-intentioned and brave efforts.

As for voting with our feet, I couldn’t agree more. That’s one action I’m going to recommend tomorrow re: BOA.

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