Paper ignores calls for criminal investigations of Supreme Court Justice, growing record of judicial lawlessness…
-by Ernest A. Canning
September 4, 2011- However historically inaccurate the phrase may have been, the idea that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned seems apropos the appearance of a David G. Savage fawning Clarence Thomas puff piece on the front page of the Sunday, July 3 edition of Los Angeles Times.
On March 7, as part of our coverage of a Daily Beast article, in which Univ. of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos called for Thomas to be thrown off the bench, we noted:
The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage…
In a March 6 Los Angeles Times op-ed, George Washington Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley found allegations that Virginia Thomas received monies from the groups that had a direct interest in the outcome of Citizens United to be "particularly alarming." He went on to compare Thomas' cynical effort to equate criticism of his ethical lapses with an attack on the integrity of the Court to Louis XIV's infamous view that there was no distinction between himself and the state.
Yet, on July 3, Los Angeles Times gave page-one coverage to Savage's uncritical piece that begins with a self-serving description in which Thomas seeks to portray his radical and, at times, outright bizarre legal positions, such as his stand-alone position that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by their guards, as simply a reflection of a rugged individualist who is not afraid to be a minority of one when he thinks he is right.
During Thomas' contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings in 1991, the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) took a very different view as he likened the Thomas nomination to a game of "Russian roulette":
If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.
The firestorm of controversy surrounding questions about Thomas' conflicts of interest, severe ethical lapses, and possible crimes has momentarily slowed a bit over the past month of Congressional (almost) recess and the usual D.C. media "summer vacation." But the list of reputable individuals and organizations calling for the embattled Associate Supreme Court Justice to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, removed from office, and possibly prosecuted is likely to grow again once politics as usual resumes following the Labor Day holiday, according to The BRAD BLOG's discussions with a number of those individuals and organizations.
In the meantime, the question remains as to why Los Angeles Times saw fit not only to publish a ridiculous puff piece on Thomas as the firestorm was still cresting in July, failing to so much as reference these serious issues, but why they even found it necessary to elevate such a softball article to their front page.
Before reaching that, however, let's again examine the real issues…
1991 Confirmation Hearings and the U.S. Senate's blind-eye to perjury
In Prof. Campos' call to "Throw Clarence Thomas Off the Bench" in March, he expressed the belief that it "is very unlikely [that Thomas would] be prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned for the simple reason that, in the United States in 2011, we have a two-tiered system of laws" where, for the vast majority of citizens, "an unusually harsh criminal code" has given rise to "by far the biggest prison population in the world." Nonetheless, he added, "our political and financial elites operate with something approaching complete impunity."
That reality makes a mockery of the words that appear above the portico of the United States Supreme Court: "Equal Justice Under Law." It is a reality which was occasioned in no small measure in 1991 when 52 members of the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Thomas despite the farce that his Confirmation Hearings had become. That vote was, in part, the product of a right-wing media blitz. A then nascent Citizens United organization, among other right-wing groups, chipped in $100,000 for attack ads (aka paid political propaganda) in order to pressure Senators who might otherwise have opposed confirmation.