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John Dean Knows How to Get Rid of Clarence Thomas

Posted on Jun 28, 2011
AP / Lauren Victoria Burke

Justice Clarence Thomas, in the foreground, speaks in 2010 before the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

By John Dean

For good reason, there has been serious hand-wringing over what to do about the ethical lapses of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The fact that Supreme Court justices are exempt from the code of ethical conduct which applies to the rest of the federal judiciary; the problem of bringing a sitting justice before the Congress to question the conduct of a constitutional co-equal; the reality that justices cannot easily defend themselves against news media charges; the defiant, in-your-face posture of Thomas—the list goes on but it need not. There is clear precedent for how to deal with the justice. Thomas could be forced off the bench.

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As the associate deputy attorney general in President Richard M. Nixon’s Department of Justice, I was there when Assistant Attorney General William Rehnquist outlined how to remove a Supreme Court justice who had engaged in conduct not quite as troublesome as that of Thomas. Rehnquist, of course, would later become chief justice of the United States. His memorandum providing the process for the Department of Justice to proceed against then Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas remains solid precedent and the way to deal with Clarence Thomas. But before looking at the solution, I should explain the problem.

To begin with, there is absolutely no question in my mind that Thomas lied his way onto the Supreme Court in 1991 when he denied Anita Hill’s charges that he had sexually harassed her and some of his other subordinates. If anyone needs proof, please examine the reporting of Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, authors of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” which sets forth the case against Thomas with an abundance of clear and convincing evidence (not to mention the evidence corroborating Hill that Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, withheld).

The way Thomas reached the court is important for two reasons. First, there was once a time when those sitting on our highest bench would never do anything to tarnish the court, and this factors into both his conduct and the chances of his removal. Secondly, Thomas’ deceit during his confirmation hearing has overshadowed all of his behavior since he arrived on the court.

Thomas fooled no one when he dissembled in 1991. Those who embrace his consistently radical conservative voting record often overlook how he arrived on the high court, and a few supporters and admirers even defend him by diminishing the significance of his persistently questionable behavior. Those who are unhappy with Thomas as a justice, not to mention his aggressive polarization of the court, find that he has simply lived down to his standards as a scoundrel and fabulist. No one is particularly surprised that his behavior as a justice just keeps sinking lower and lower, constantly reaching new bottoms. (For a catalog that samples Thomas’ failings, see The Reid Report.)


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Many Supreme Court justices enjoy the company of well-off social friends. Few justices have significant wealth, and since their pay is so low relative to their stature, almost all live quite modestly. There is nothing wrong with justices having a few friends who can occasionally provide an especially pleasant social interlude while seeking nothing other than making life a bit more pleasant for these dedicated public servants. In fact, I have friends who socialize with justices. I can assure you they are all extremely sensitive to the nature of these relationships and would never exploit the friendships.

Thomas and his friends have no such compunctions. Maybe the way Thomas arrived on the court explains why he operates at the outer edges of court propriety, if not beyond. Maybe because he is held in such low esteem by so many on the bench and at the bar he simply does not care. As his book showed, he is a bitter man. The Washington Post noted that he used his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” to “settle scores,” while “scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court, and the ‘mob’ of liberal elites and activist groups that he says desecrated his life.” In short, he sees himself as a victim, so his actions may be his own private revenge. However, for those who have followed his career, as I have, it was not surprising to see the latest revelation in The New York Times, which reports again about Thomas’ “friendship” with Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and big-time benefactor of conservative causes.

This relationship is deeply conflicted because Crow’s financial and political interests are frequently before the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Crow continues to bestow endless gifts and favors on Thomas or fund matters of serious interest to the justice, such as giving Thomas a $19,000 Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, donating $175,000 to finance a library project dedicated to Thomas in Savannah, Ga., and, as was recently revealed, providing not less than $2.8 million to acquire and preserve a crab and oyster cannery near Thomas’ childhood home in Pinpoint, Ga., a project that is operating under Thomas’ supervision.

One suspects this is but the tip of the iceberg because Thomas’ wife, Virginia (known as Ginni), is a Crow-funded conflict of interest with whom the justice literally sleeps. Ginni is not merely a foot-stomping, full-throated tea party activist, but she is a highly paid lobbyist. According to congressional information, in the past few years she has earned some $700,000 for her tea party work. In addition, Crow reportedly provided Ginni Thomas some $500,000 to start her tea party group, Liberty Central, which pays her so well. Ginni Thomas openly lobbies issues that have or will come before the Supreme Court, such as health care reform.

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By Marv Ostberg, October 2, 2011 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anita Hill lied and she was basically employed by the American Left to do their dirty work.  The motive was simple.  The Left rightly feared Thomas was not a card carrying Leftist.  He was not a abortion supporter, or affirmative action supporter or a “gay rights” ideologe.  In short, he could not be in the court when he was not a reliable lacky for left-wing causes.  He needed to be destroyed to keep him out.  It did not work and most Americans saw through Ms. Hill.  But the Left has never given up and now this pathetic rant.  Will Thomas survive it?  Only if the sick efforts of the Left are seen through yet again.

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By Lexy, July 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thomas is Republican “payback” for Thurgood Marshall. The Democrats picked an intelligent honorable and fair-minded Justice for the supreme court. The republicans; as payback for Brown v Board of Education and other liberal, anti-corporate and anti-authoritarian opinions of Justice Marshall and the court, decided, when it was their turn to pick a nominee, to pick another black man; but this time a stupid, unscrupulous,self-hating “affirmative action” candidate and foister him unto the the court.  They succeeded and here we are; stuck with this “venereal character” as a US supreme court judge.

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By Azcat85, July 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Man, the progressives on here have very short memories concerning ethic
violations and not being prosecuted.  How about, Dodd, Franks, Jefferson, Waters. 
And then you had the wrist slap on Rangel’s hand.  WOW! bet that hurt, since he
got to keep all the illegally obtained perks.  Look in a mirror before you start
pointing fingers.

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By john in danvers, July 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you are in need of justice, the last place you want to be is before the SC.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

But that doesn’t seem to be the way he rolls.  He seems to care only about himself.  He just might throw Ginni “under the bus.”

Don’t you bet on it! That harpy has got to have more dirt on him than anyone else combined.  He ALWAYS votes the way HER backers want.

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By markhalfmoon, July 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

OK.  I’ll buy that.  I recently wrote: “It doesn’t matter how strong a case the DOJ
puts together, it cannot force him to resign, unless it blackmails him or threatens
to kill his dog.”

Maybe putting the screws to his wife by threatening to indict and prosecute her
for felonies that carry long prison terms may move Clarence to resign in order to
protect her.

But that doesn’t seem to be the way he rolls.  He seems to care only about
himself.  He just might throw Ginni “under the bus.”

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By Leefeller, July 1, 2011 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

ITW stated;

“Corrupt. Inept. Perverted.  Abe Fortas was hounded off the court for less than 1/100th of Thomas’s inappropriate actions.  Man even cheats on his taxes”

Corrupt and Inept just about describes the whole pack of Republicans in Congress and Republican Governors.  Do cockroaches come in packs?

Years ago I was checking out a repair and clean up job I was going to do in an old house in the city.  The electricity was turned off, it was very dark and I was checking out the inside of the house with a flash light. I kept hearing this rustling noise above me and flashed the light on the ceiling ... the ceiling was covered with a dark mass of cockroaches their little beady red eyes looking down at me and as I moved they moved in lockstep unison, which made the rustling sound like they had little boots on.

To this day,... every time I see and hear a Republican on TV, I flash back to this vision of the beady eyed lockstep cockroaches. Now I can say as fact,... cockroaches have beady red eyes and move with Republican lockstep certainty, but this is where similarities depart in the comparison of cockroach and Republican.

Researchers have found the cockroach to have a degree of intelligence and can some even be smart. It has also been observed many cockroaches show a proclivity to have integrity…. So in all fairness, one should never compare a cockroach to a Republican. My humble apologies to the cockroach!

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By prgill, July 1, 2011 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

Thanks John Dean and Truthdig for holding us to, and reminding us of “the higher standard”.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, June 30 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

The Left wanted a high tech lynching the minute Clarence Thomas was selected by Bush, and it continues to this day. The Left’s violent racist rhetoric is absolutely sickening.

Yeah, so you LIKE have Justices sell their decisions to the highest bidders?

Not once has any defender of Clarence Thomas cited his outstanding juris prudence and his landmark decisions on major cases.

Corrupt. Inept. Perverted.  Abe Fortas was hounded off the court for less than 1/100th of Thomas’s inappropriate actions.  Man even cheats on his taxes.

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By OzarkMichael, June 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

The Left wanted a high tech lynching the minute Clarence Thomas was selected by Bush, and it continues to this day. The Left’s violent racist rhetoric is absolutely sickening.

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By TDoff, June 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Secretly, privately, despite all his complex public pronouncements, John Dean’s personal preference for ridding ourselves of Thomas is identical to the vast majority of the intelligent public’s:

Jamming a white-hot flaming pitchfork up Clarence’s fat a**, and spinning it on a rotisserie.

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By OzarkMichael, June 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Martha speaking for Thomas: “Democrats should be constantly making laws to regulate wealth and how wealth can be used against the best interest of the majority common population, instead of cooperating with the Republicans in the deregulating demise of the majority common population.”

Two choices and only two choices offered. Sounds like Binary Emotional Rhetoric to me.

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By Grady Lee Howard, June 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

The World Court needs to make sealed indictments against several of our Supreme Court Justices. Then they need to be offered a free trip to Europe. Their trials could initiate actions against banksters and Bushters, even Obamanauts. Robbin Island might provide a good terminal destination. But we have to demand action before our legal rights are negated. Busting heads is a harder way to settle things.

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By MarthaA, June 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

“Does anyone who follows politics not believe that if the situations were reversed and Republicans found one of the Democrats on the Supreme Court engaging in similar behavior they would not employ the Fortas option? Of course they would.” John Dean posted Jun 28, 2011 Truthdig forum thread, “John Dean Knows How to Get Rid of Clarence Thomas”

If Republicans were in power and Clarence Thomas was a Democrat, he would have been gone yesterday.

“For the Republicans, seats on the Supreme Court are worth whatever it takes to get them. They [Republicans] play hardball. For Democrats, well, they [Democrats] play beanbag over judicial appointments. Democrats are willing to toss a few stingers, but never do they [Democrats] truly want to hurt anyone. They [Democrats] cannot help it that they are nice people, and ruthlessness does not work for them [Democrats]. This is why a minority of Republicans in the United States can control the overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents who lean left.” John Dean posted Jun 28, 2011 Truthdig forum thread, “John Dean Knows How to Get Rid of Clarence Thomas”

John Dean is correct, but Democrats are DLC Republican Lite Right cooperators under the cover of niceness and timidity, they do not choose to represent the majority common population.

Ruthessness will work for Democrats the same as Republicans, if Democrats would actually represent their constituents, the non-wealthy majority population, opposite of the Republicans, who represent their wealthy capitalist constituents by constantly deregulating laws made in the best interest of the majority common population.  Democrats should be constantly making laws to regulate wealth and how wealth can be used against the best interest of the majority common population, instead of cooperating with the Republicans in the deregulating demise of the majority common population. 

If Democrats would actually represent the 70% majority Common Population, instead of only the 20% middle class suck ups to the wealth of the Aristocracy for their own power and control of the 70% Majority Common Population, there wouldn’t be a problem with timidity and niceness keeping them from representing those they were elected to represent, the constituents of the majority common population, instead of being timid and nicely allowing the majority common population to be demolished in the name of supposed representation, which is no representation at all for the 70% Majority Common Population.

Nice, timid politicians rolls off the tongue better than cooperating suck ups, but nevertheless, most Democrats are cooperating suck ups for their own benefit, otherwise Democrats have no reason to be so nice and timid.  When any of them actually start representing the 70% Majority Common Population their timidity will diminish and nice will not be part of the political platform, because if they can’t be as ruthless as the Republicans they need not be in office representing the populace against the Republicans.

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By Beyond Truth, June 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Oh, right…it’s all the Koch Brothers, ‘cuz we all
know what a saint George Soros is, right?

Do moron liberals ever grasp the concept that no
matter what you say about conservatives, there is
more than ample evidence to rebut such asinine

Hookers at a Republican convention. Good one,

Because no Democrat has EVER been caught in a sex
scandal right? Let me check that with Spitzer and

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By Beyond Truth, June 30, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

What a surprise! A bunch of hypocritical Obama lemmings
are out to get a conservative Justice, while
conveniently ignoring Elena Kagan’s blatant conflict of

So typical of the progressive left. Paint a false, one-
sided story and then blame Bush or Sarah
Palin…pathetic liars one and all.

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By Tokin Lib, June 30, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

PS: Lest any be tempted to feel the tiniest sympathy
for Clancy, the Koch-hound, remember the
circumstances of his nomination.
When Thurgood Marshall died, the civil-rights/racial-
justice crowd called for another person-of-color to
replace him.
Poppy Bush was not amused, but soon struck upon a
plan. He’d find the skeeviest, lowest, rankest,
cheapest skank-whore Negrow in gummint and nominate
Enter Cunt-Hair Clancy, the PERFECT man for the job.
Bush nominated Thomas PRECISELY because he was the
rankest Oreo he could find to rub the noses of the
minority/civil rights folks in.

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By Tokin Lib, June 30, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

The Fortas Strategy implies a president and Atty. Gen.
willing and able to play hard-ball.
Neither St. Barry (the patron saint of spelunkers, cuz
he’s lived through so many cave-ins) nor the corrupt,
CorpoRat bagman, AG Holder, have the stones for it. And
being black, they are probably the ONLY ones at whom
Cunt-Hair Clancy COULDN’T throw the “high-tech
lynching” race card if they went after the skeevy,
lying, corrupt, vile, lazy fucker…

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By DavidByron, June 30, 2011 at 9:39 am Link to this comment


“[Democrats] cannot help it that they are nice people, and ruthlessness does not work for them.”

Being “nice” works for them very well when they are actually as big a parcel of corporate whores as the Republicans.

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By Lafayette, June 30, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment


From WikiP: Since joining the Court, Thomas has taken a textualist approach to judging, seeking to uphold what he sees as the original meaning of the United States Constitution and statutes. He is generally viewed as among the most conservative members of the Court. Thomas has often approached federalism issues in a way that limits the power of the federal government and expands power of state and local governments. At the same time, Thomas’s opinions have generally supported a strong executive branch within the federal government.

From the above, one could say that CT dislikes intensely representative government at the national level unless,or course, that representative is the Executive (PotUS). He seems to favor states’ rights over Federal Rights.

This point of view is not uncommon. In fact, the debate (of state vs: Federal rights) is as old as our nation. It first reared its head in the Federalist versus anti-Federalist debates of Hamilton and Jefferson.

There is no objective evidence that Thomas’ position is any more biased than any other of the Right sitting on the SC bench. Anyway, bias is not sufficient justification to impeach him.* There is only some superficial, for the moment, talk about misdeeds of both his wife and himself about tax declarations.

No doubt, they should be investigated by a special committee - just like the Replicants went out of their way to crucify Bill Clinton for “lying” about a sexual peccadillo.


Once again, the Dems are using kid-gloves when they should be throwing a monkey-wrench into the works of LaLaLand on the Potomac. The sad fact is this: For as long as the Dems demonstrate how namby-pamby they can be about both political defensive and offensive tactics, the more Republicans will bully them.**

All bullies are alike. They keep it up till someone smashes them in the nose. Then and only then, with the blood dripping from the nasal orifice, do they understand that hurt is a two-way street.

FOOTNOTES: Replicant bullies

* There is only one Supreme Court judge who has been impeached (Samuel Chase) and he was acquitted.
** Weiner had to go because of his on-line sexual peccadillo, but Thomas should be spared the spotlight for tax-cheating? Now, there’s civics lesson for our youth: Cheat all you want on your taxes, but NEVER, NEVER show your penis-pouch on-line! Go figure ...

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By aacme88, June 30, 2011 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

You have just laid out the reasons behind not just Thomas’, but every right-winger’s arrogant refusal to to be properly discreet about their outrageous behavior and policies. Behind the complete lack of any pretense, say in the last ten years, that they are even making any sense when they speak, that they have any but the most selfish objectives in mind, that they actually believe, when they say it, that lower taxes on the rich create jobs or lower the deficit, and on and on.
Because, for different reasons, nobody in Washington is going to call them on it.
I am less convinced than you though, that the Dems reluctance to keep the Repubs honest stems from their being nice guys, and more inclined to attribute it to the fact that the cash that is destroying our democracy isn’t strictly limited to Republican recipients..

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By Marks2Much, June 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Thomas is just the tip of the filthy iceberg. According to an article
published on Ron Paul’s website, huge secret bank accounts belonging to
several high profile government officials have been found in the Vatican
Bank. Chief Justice John Roberts is among them. Judging by the rulings
he’s handed down, it certainly looks like he’s earning his money.

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By MarthaA, June 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

It is my fond desire for Democrats to actually represent the Left, if
there are any real Liberal Left leaning politicians left and play
hardball enough to oust Clarence Thomas, instead of always
representing the Lite Right at the expense of the Left.

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By Azcat85, June 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

OCJIM comment:  Anita Hill evidence?  You need to go read the court transcripts.
The entire Anita Hill incident was a trumped up effort by the late Sen Kennedy to
“Bork” another conservative justice.

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By OzarkMichael, June 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

So much racism on this thread.

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By Sheila Bernard, June 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m with Shenonymous.  We can do this.  Yes, we are cats, but I for one can herd and be herded. 

Call it the Fortas strategy, so that anyone hearing about it will need to learn who Fortas was and immediately understand the parallel.  Steadily gather support for the effort through consistent and factual reporting, Fox be damned.  Build a broad progressive-center coalition, since sympathetic sentiment is already simmering.  Move the issue into the spotlight by making it a 2012 campaign issue.  Force every Republican member of Congress to choose between supporting Clarence Thomas or running for cover.  Use Clarence Thomas to re-elect the President and retake both houses.  What an ironic and fitting destiny for him.

Of course any effort or strategy has its obstacles. I’m not saying it’s a slam dunk.  But if Thomas could be removed in 2016 or sooner, in time for Obama to appoint his replacement, what a great solid we will have done our country!

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By RenZo, June 29, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

@ Leefeller
“... Clarence Thomas would be a good solid start in the cleansing of the festering puss oozing sore which appears to be our so called representative government”.

Indeed, let’s rename him Carb_Uncle Thomas and lance the boil (without boiling the lance ahead of time).

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By MeHere, June 29, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Excellent article.

Too bad we’re so busy trying to figure out ways to stop corruption in the Karzai
government.  There are only so many hours in a day and those Afghans don’t
seem to understand that we have other things to do.

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By LillithMc, June 29, 2011 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

At the least Thomas has a problem with the IRS.  The income from his wife that he failed to report also involved major decisions he made on the court to the benefit of the man who gave his wife the income.  What could be more clear?  This is not beanbag.  This is reality tv.  If the US can not shine light on this, is there anything with moral value left of the US?

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By caped amigo, June 29, 2011 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

We may not be able to rid our courts of CT, but keep the mud coming. I know he
hates it. Sorry the bastard gets to laugh all the way to the bank year after year.

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By Leefeller, June 29, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Are there any political watch groups out their for the huddled masses, with clout who would pursue what She has proposed? It appears the Republicans have more than enough money watch groups protecting the special interests and corporations. 

Actually Clarence Thomas would be a good solid start in the cleansing of the festering puss oozing sore which appears to be our so called representative government.

Feet to the fire Democrats, unfortunately Weaner may have been one who filled the bill, aside from his silly stupidity, ...he handed ammo for the Republicans and the beangag Democrats, ...hence why he is gone?

Are the Democrats just plain lazy or they also bought and sold like the Republicans? In Wisconson, Republicans are sponsering Democrats is this being done elsewhere in other states and at the Federal level?

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By Shenonymous, June 29, 2011 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

The next action to be taken is a regeneration of the Rehnquist
memo that resides in the files of the Office of Legal Counsel, and
which provides the precedent to initiate a federal investigation of
both Clarence and Ginni Thomas.  Who will begin such action? 
Forgetting the bean-bag playing Democrats in political office,
Liberal citizens must unite to bring it before a grand jury.  There
is always a way through the labyrinth of the courts.  And media will
be helpless but to cover the action if the action is loud enough.  The
citizens of America must learn how to use their government for their
own benefit and not wait for mushy politicians to cotillion around
that only goes to edify their puffed up perception of themselves. 
Dean’s charge that Democratic politicians are “nice” people is
completely naive, which I find ludicrous given Dean’s career! 

Why a minority of Republicans can control a Democratic majority in
Congress is not because Democrats are “nice.”  That is complete bull
shit and everyone who is conscious knows it!  The reason is twofold: 
First are the many Democratic politicians who are in the pockets of
corporate America just as Republicans are.  There are fewer Democrats
who are not. I do not have any empirical evidence, this is conjecture on
my part.  But there are those who do know which politicians are
receiving support from the corporate world.  A public list must be
started published and sustained where all politicians are exposed who
have bent to the will of the corporate world.  Feet must be held to the
fire.  This government is the people’s, not any set of politicians!  The
Democrat politicians must be targeted for replacement in every
reelection where they are candidates.  They must be replaced.  A
grooming of bonafide liberal Democrats to become congressmen/
women must be the aim of every Democratic political organization. 

The second reason Dean offers is the defense Thomas would put up. 
To cower before those reasons of twisting the facts of the Fortas
example and his demand for impeachment, which is a long drawn out
actions, much like the one about Anita Hill that put him in office, is the
test of the people’s mettle.  The people do not fathom their own power. 
We must inform them! 

This article by John Dean is enlightening, to a point.  It is also weak in
that he more or less capitulates a piss in the wind result of putting
Clarence Thomas to the test.

Not all Democrats are weak of spine, granted most Democratic
politicians appear to be and that is why they must be revealed and
their politically soft vertebrae publicly published, writ large so that
the dim of seeing are able to make out the chief derelicts.

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By Stuart Davies, June 29, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Dean’s analysis on every point except one: he is far more charitable in his assessment of the inevitable Democratic inaction that I am. I wish I was able to chalk up their lack of resolve to the fact that they prefer to play beanbag while the Republicans play hardball… due to their inherent niceness.
  There are now far too many clues, far too many incidents of them openly aiding and abetting the enemy, for there to be any reasonable doubt- to any reasonably alert and intelligent person - that the key leadership posts of the Democratic party have been infiltrated by the very same powers that pull the strings of the Republican party.
  These powerful interests went to very extreme lengths to install George W Bush in the white house for good reason. The Democrats sat in silence as not one, but TWO presidential elections were stolen in broad daylight. The whole world watched it happen the in Florida the first time. The second time the theft of Florida was well under the radar - and even the much more obvious electoral fraud that occurred in Ohio went largely unreported in the media and almost entirely unmentioned in the halls of congress.
  There were many huge payoffs for the Banking cartel and their manifold corporate subsidiaries from Dubya’s illegitimate presidency - but one of the major prizes were the two supreme court seats that are now filled with his (illegitimate)extremist right wing appointees. The Democrats enabled all of this.
  They enabled all the subsequent rampant fraud that ran wild during the (Bush) Cheney administration, as well as the litany of crimes leading up to and during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, when they had the majority and the means to investigate and prosecute the fraud, the treason, and the war crimes…. they allowed it all to be swept under the rug. Because they are simply too nice? I think not.

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By PennP, June 29, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

...(not to mention the evidence corroborating Hill that Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, withheld).

No one’s touched this little bomb. 

What evidence did Biden fail to give then, and could it be compelled now?

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By Shenonymous, June 29, 2011 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

To take just one proposed remedy as this issue is huge and
complex beyond imagination, and each suggested corrective
to justice needs to be discussed thoroughly for ramifications. 

Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Dem. House Rep. submitted
Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act of 2011
(H.R. 862) that extends to Supreme Court justices the same code
of professional conduct that applies to all other federal judges. 
This would include the conflict of interest and political actions of
Justice Clarence Thomas.

Only a slight mention in the news media is being made as if the
news media did not find the crucial proposed legislation significant.

Even though it might be a PITW, I signed the Daily Kos petition, did

From the Brookings Institute link: A New York Times editorial on
“The Court’s Recusal Problem” and a Washington Post op-ed’s call
for “An Ethics Code for the High Court” followed a March 1 House
bill, the “Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act,” which
picked up on a letter that over 100 law professors sent to the House
and Senate Judiciary Committees.

The writer of the article offers no assent or dissent opinion, so this is merely
a report of what he sees that the various related “proposals rest on basic
factual misunderstandings about federal judicial ethics regulation, could
create a “cure-worse-than-the-disease” situation, and are probably
unconstitutional in part.”

The bill directs the Judicial Conference of the United States to “establish
procedures, modeled after [procedures laid out in the Act], under which ...
complaints alleging that a justice . . . has violated the Code of Conduct may
be filed with or identified by the Conference,” which is to review them and
take “further action, where appropriate.”

However, the Code is designed only to provide guidance to judges. 
The law does not apply to Supreme Court justices because there is no peer
or higher body that could deliberate plausible (that is with possible merit)
complaints.  Lower courts cannot sit in judgment of higher ones, that is the
way the system works.  This one way adjudication applies to recusal cases as
well.  And here is where the Brookings report is informative: There is no
higher court to which litigants may appeal a justice’s decision.
Read the entire report and you will be much wiser in why SCOTUS justices are
deities.  Or are they?  Only we can determine that they are.

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By John Poole, June 29, 2011 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clarence Thomas’s nomination and confirmation for the Supreme Court was a
mendacity so ugly and bold it should have been an unavoidable signal that
America was not going to repair itself. Thomas was coddled by nuns the way
Obama was coddled by a doofus mother- Both nurturers reinforced a latent toxic
unearned high self regard. Both Thomas and Obama’s narcissism are not bogus
or faux and not signs of deep self doubt and self hatred. Narcissism can
sometimes be very “pure”.

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By Rendered Useless, June 29, 2011 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This paragraph says it all:

If anyone needs proof, please examine the reporting of Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, authors of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” which sets forth the case against Thomas with an abundance of clear and convincing evidence (not to mention the evidence corroborating Hill that Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, withheld).

Both parties are beholden to their masters, the corporations, the bankers, Wall Street, Oil industry, etc, etc,.

Wasn’t Biden also one of the movers and shakers behind the new bankruptcy laws passed in 2005 which makes it more expensive and harder for the average American to file for bankruptcy and/or start out with a clean slate while it became easier for corporations to file for bankruptcy, to wipe out the pensions of their employees?

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By kalpal, June 29, 2011 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

While I abhor Republicans for being unrepentatnt scumbags I lack any respect for the Democrats. They know how the game is played and they know that the GOP would rather sink this nation than allow their perfidy and lack of integrity be used against them.

The only reason they pushed Nixon out was that the IRS was likely to charge him with tax evasion after his trial and conviction. This would have set a precedent of two members of the same elected administration being declared felons and might have signalled the need for the GOP to dissolve itself and reform a party under a new name and different leadership.

The GOP believes in Nixon’s bogus theory that if the president does it, it is not illegal. They reserbe this notion for their own party only. No Democrat will ever be permitted to be a scofflaw like a Republican.

Just remember that under 99% of the definitions of what is an American, nearly none of the GOP qualify.

Not a single piece of legislation can be shown to exist showing the GOP standing up for the bottom 90% against the wishes, desires and arm twisting of highly paid lobbyists who also compose the bulk of legislation offered under the GOP moniker.

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By HC, June 29, 2011 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It should be kept in mind that Thomas was named to the Supreme Court by Bush I, and Palin unleashed on the American public by McCain (need one mention Bush II?), which should give some indication of the Republicans’ regard not only for ability in government, but for government as well, purposely starved for money (except for the military) and stacked with the corrupt and the stupid. Happy 4th of July.

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By oktomoro, June 29, 2011 at 5:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Planes of genius, including in law, can be understood
as frustrated for reasons of original jurisdiction. 
Who will venture beyond “cannot” in Outer Space
Justice? Would the selection not be a part of the
plan to block the way and continue the twisted state of invasion?  Don’t print this.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 29, 2011 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

When Fortas was forced out, the Democrats held significant majorities in both houses, majorities that held until Reagan’s election in 1980 when the Senate went Republican. 

Numbers mean nothing. Will, or lack of will means everything.

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By Lafayette, June 29, 2011 at 1:00 am Link to this comment


Dean: Democrats are willing to toss a few stingers, but never do they truly want to hurt anyone. They cannot help it that they are nice people, and ruthlessness does not work for them. This is why a minority of Republicans in the United States can control the overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents who lean left.

Yes, very well put - that remark sums it up in a nutshell.

We have presently gridlock in LaLaLand on the Potomac. So, what have the Dems to lose by not playing hardball? What have they to gain by playing hardball? The election next year.

Therein lies the dilemma for the Democrats today.

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By Lafayette, June 29, 2011 at 12:43 am Link to this comment


mtn: Our Republican friends in the Congress will never ever let Clarence Thomas be removed ...

So change “our Republican friends” in Congress ...

Please, enough of this pathetic “victimization”. It is defeatist. We, the sheeple, put our-Republican-friends there. We, the sheeple - believe it or not - can vote them out of office.

Where there’s the will, there’s a way.

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By Lafayette, June 29, 2011 at 12:35 am Link to this comment


For some time, decades in fact, various complaints have been uttered asserting that the Court was “litigating from the bench”.  The bizarre and absurd decision to find that corporations have the “right of free speech” and therefore the unlimited possibility to make electoral donations is just the latest and most injurious.

The Rabid Right has understood how easy money corrupts both the integrity and objectiveness of our judiciary but, most importantly, how it manipulates political thinking. Yes, Thomas should be sent out to pasture. The former charge is absolutely indefensible as conduct on the part of a Supreme Court justice.

But the latter charge is more insidious. Hitler knew a thing or two about propaganda and human nature. An appropriate quotation of his: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”. Which is how he swerved to his devious ends Public Opinion against German jewry in the 1930s setting the scene for the Halocaust.

Which is also the sort of manipulation that Replicants have managed to do ever since they began to manipulate our minds with such turgid Voodoonomics as the “Trickle-down Theory of Economics” - whereby tax cuts for the rich inevitably trickle-down to the poor. Mention that to anyone poor and watch them have a catatonic fit of astonishment.


The sad fact of the matter is that far too many Americans are convinced by the dogmatic BS that the Right parades through the media. Or, as another saying goes, “Stupid is as stupid does”.

So it is evident, I submit, that we have a Very Large Obligation to enhance the understanding of both economics (how the pie is generated) and politics (how the pie is shared by the American people). As I never tire of saying: Income Fairness is the most predominant moral challenge of America today.

Forums such as this one are a great advance in the matter of bringing a critical point-of-view to politics. And some mainstream news-sites do contrarian reporting that countervails political dogma wherever it rears its ugly head. But, finally, it is up to each citizen to understand, first, the nature and complexity of governance (of the nation) and, secondly, the necessity for quality political leadership.

And since our leadership is merely a reflection of ourselves,  it is up to us to change the complexion in LaLaLand on the Potomac.  Don’t expect that leopard to change its spots unilaterally.

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By mtnclimberut, June 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Our Republican friends in the Congress will never ever
let Clarence Thomas be removed from the Bench; they
have a majority of corporatist conservative cronies on
at the Supreme Court; that is worth more than retaking
the White House would be for their social objectives.

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EJH's avatar

By EJH, June 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

entropy2 has nailed it!

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By Leefeller, June 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

I see the beanbag theory, but I suspect some Democrats may be Republicans in drag! It would be nice if Obama grew a pair and used the bully pulpit, I also suspect it is not in the cards.

The Koch Brothers are buying governors like hookers at a Republican convention. The Republicans are ruthless and not nice people, but what is to keep the money baggers like the Koch Brothers from buying Democrats?

Hell, I have more respect for Bernie Sanders the independent who seems to have more principal and smarts than 90 percent of the Democrats. There may be a few others out there who support the people of this nation, I feel Dean is one more, but we need more than two politicians on the peoples side.

Clarance Thomas is a prime example of this nations direction, which I feel is a new Fascism!

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By litlpeep, June 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

And 80-85% of the registered hand wringers continue voting for the yellow dog and blue dog and reactionary hand wringers.

Thanks for spelling out the obvious, Mr. Dean.

God forbid the elected Democrats actually embrace and use the power they get elected to embrace and use for the public interest.  After all, they almost all have some core reason in common with Thomas: their personal interests.

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By SteveL, June 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Anthony Weiner forced to resign over some twitter pictures.  Why is C.T. still on the

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By Inherit The Wind, June 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

I have said here on TD many times that Abe Fortas was forced out for far, FAR less egregious actions than Thomas (or for that matter, Scalia) have taken and that the Fortas standard should be applied to Thomas.

But here comes John Dean, who was THERE when Fortas was bullied off the court (I was maybe 13 at the time), saying the same thing, but in far greater detail!

And Dean sees the problem.  Republicans are ruthless, Democrats play “bean bag”.


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By entropy2, June 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

What makes you think that the corporate Dems who occupy Congress would want to get rid of Thomas? He’s a great lightning rod for the left’s ire while he supports the very plutocracy that greases the Dems’ palms. Everybody wins (except us, of course).

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By Egomet Bonmot, June 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Wow, love that O. Henry ending…

I know Dean means well when he exhorts the left time after time to grow a pair, but when he cites examples like this one where he helped engineer the removal of Fortas, he sounds like a reformed Roy Cohn.

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By gerard, June 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

It’s not just the Democrats.  One third of the country doesn’t know what is going on, one third knows but doesn’t care, and the third third (considering the odds against them established by the “surveillance” machine) is waiting for somebody else to blow the whistle. Like John Dean, for instance, especially if he could round up one Republican with “clout” to stand with him and deliver.

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By clearwaters, June 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Nothing like getting their hopes up, then dropping them on their faces.

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By ocjim, June 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Dean, you are right on all counts. Clarence Thomas has shown that he is a cad and a liar, indeed a bitter, vindictive cad as evidenced by his recent book. The Anita Hill evidence had most certainly shown it before he put his corrupt imprint on the current court.

Much of the reason we are here today, regarding all three branches of government can be attributed to the relentless partisanship of Republicans and the cowardice and lack of real conviction among Democrats.

President Obama is turning out to be one of the worst pliant leaders that we have had for a long time. You almost wish for the relentless partisan corruption of George W. Bush to be borrowed to curtail Obama’s spinelessness.

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