What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 14, 2010

Scaife's Brain Trust Must Think Its Readers Are Idiots

They really do.

How else can you explain how they easily publish such easily debunked drivel - if only by expecting, I guess, their readers not to check their sources.

Case in point today:
What "conflict"?: So, let's get this straight: The New York Times insinuates that Ginni Thomas somehow has a conflict because, as wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, she advocates for such things as freedom, liberty and stopping government tyranny. Egads, if that's a "conflict," there's little hope for America.
Now if you actually go to the Times article (and see that? I linked to it so you can check my work), you'd see that whatever conflict is "insinuated", it's because of money and who her husband is - not, as Scaife's braintrust insinuates, because she advocates for freedom.

Take a look:
But to some people who study judicial ethics, Mrs. Thomas’s activism is raising knotty questions, in particular about her acceptance of large, unidentified contributions for Liberty Central. She began the group in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, and because it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, named for the applicable section of the federal tax code, she does not have to publicly disclose any contributors.
The Times points out that she gets paid from Liberty Central and that a spokesperson for the group said there are internal checks to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. No details, you'll just have to trust them on this. Of course we will.

More from the Times:
A federal law requires justices to recuse themselves in a number of circumstances where real or perceived conflicts of interest could arise, including in cases where their spouses could have a financial interest. But the decision to step aside is up to each justice; there is no appeal from the nation’s highest court.

“It’s shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife’s organization,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor and director of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession.

“The fact that we can’t find that out is the first problem,” she said, adding, “And how can the public form a judgment about propriety if it doesn’t have the basic underlying facts?”
And then:
Steven Lubet, who teaches legal ethics at Northwestern Law School, said Mrs. Thomas’s solicitation of big contributions raised potential recusal issues for her husband. But he added, “There’s no reason to think that Justice Thomas would be anything other than extremely careful about it.”

“I think this is the world we live in, where two-career families are the norm and there are no constraints on the political activities of judicial spouses,” Mr. Lubet said.

Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University, said: “There’s nothing to stop Ginni Thomas from being politically active. She’s a private citizen and she has all of her constitutional rights.”

But as for the big donors, Mr. Gillers, citing a 1988 Supreme Court decision, said, “She has to tell him because the public is going to assume he knows,” and, Mr. Gillers said, fair-minded citizens could question Justice Thomas’s objectivity as a result.
Whether those issues are solid is a separate question. But look back at what Scaife's braintrust was insinuating - that the Times said that Mrs Thomas had a conflict of interest because she was advocating for freedom.

Turns out that it's the flow of money that may constitute the conflict of interest for her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Do they think their readers won't check up on them? I guess so. They must be counting on it.

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