Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:01 PM PDT
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has somewhat of a conflict just being a justice, concerning the very right-wing and very prominent political activities of his wife, Ginni. But that conflict is particularly a problem since the Supreme Court will almost undoubtedly be hearing a case against the Affordable Care Act, the law that his wife has been paid handsomely to fight. A Friday afternoon news dump consisting of his financial disclosure form highlights this little problem he has.
His new financial disclosure form indicates that his wife, Virginia, who served as Liberty Central’s president and CEO, received $150,000 in salary from the group and less than $15,000 in payments from an anti-health care lobbying firm she started.The disclosure was apparently prompted in part by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had been needling Thomas (including on Twitter) for months to disclose how much money his wife earned from Liberty Central. That’s because challenges to Obama’s health care reform law are likely to end up before the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, and if Thomas and his wife benefited from her income working against the bill, the justice has an enormous conflict of interest in hearing any legal challenge. Thomas had failed to disclose Virginia’s income on his financial disclosure forms for 20 years; under pressure from Weiner and others, he had recently amended old disclosures to reflect hundreds of thousands of dollars she had earned working for the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that also opposed Obama’s health care plan.
(Gee, I wonder why Rep. Anthony Weiner would be the target of right-wing hackers in a smear campaign over the weekend?)