February 17, 2011- Article Two of the United States Constitution says that Supreme Court justices, once appointed by the President and confirmed by “advice and consent” of the Senate, shall serve for life as long as they serve “during good behavior.” A justice’s tenure can be abbreviated by resignation, retirement, or death, and most Justices either retire or die during their service on the nation’s highest court. There is however, a provision in the Constitution for a Supreme Court justice who does not serve “during good behavior” that involves indicting and trying the offender. It is time for Congress to act and proceed with impeachment proceedings against Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia for serving “during criminal behavior” and for subverting the Constitution.
Both Thomas and Scalia have stepped over the demarcation line between judicial malfeasance and blind justice when hearing cases before the high court. The likelihood of either man being impeached by the Republican controlled House is slim, but in the interest of salvaging the Court’s reputation and demonstrating to the American people that no public servant is above the law, Republicans should set aside their Conservative bent and protect the integrity of the Court and the Constitution.
Republicans though, are not big on integrity or the Constitution as the nation has observed for the past two years. The House Tea Party caucus is certainly not going to be involved in any impeachment proceedings because Justice Antonin Scalia has conducted closed-door meetings to discuss the constitutionality of legislative action before Congress. There are myriad problems associated with a Supreme Court Justice discussing the constitutionality of upcoming legislation, especially when the justice’s political inclination is the same as the Representatives he is instructing. It is also questionable that the justice would give advice and recommendations for a vote on a measure that could eventually wind up being heard before the court. Even if there were no questions of ethical malpractice, the fact that Scalia is meeting in secret with Tea Party members brings into question the nature of the meetings and whether or not Scalia gave directions on how the representatives should cast their votes.
Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia when the men attended secret meetings with conservative business leaders at an event sponsored and hosted by the Koch Brothers who fund the Tea Party as well as a variety of conservative think tanks and PACs. The secret meetings were for the purpose of plotting political strategy, and both justices subsequently voted to give corporations the same free speech rights as an individual in the Citizen’s United case that allows unrestricted donations to political campaigns; including donations from foreign sources.
The Citizen’s United decision was an outrage in itself, but a new revelation that Citizen’s United paid $100,000 for an ad supporting Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991 by then President George H.W. Bush pushes the limit of judicial malfeasance. It is not the fact that an individual or corporation paid to promote Thomas’ nomination to the high court, but that he ruled in favor of Citizen’s United. If Thomas had any integrity to the court or to the Constitution he would have recused himself from hearing the case. The $100,000 spent on the ad amounts to in-kind contribution and it should have been reported. Thomas has a history of not reporting, not remembering, or not knowing about incidents involving income reporting on Federal Income Tax forms and his wife’s work with the Heritage Foundation and a Tea Party lobbying organization.