Justice Clarence Thomas has been breaking the rules of the court for 13 years by not reporting his wife’s income. That income shows a direct conflict of interest with cases Thomas has ruled on, including Citizens United. As Jonathon Turley points out:
For many, the incident will be cited as evidence of how toothless these rules have become. There is little deterrent for a justice who fails to disclose required information for 13 years — including information that would have likely been used as a possible basis for a recusal motion. It takes Common Cause to launch a major campaign to get compliance with the requirements.
What will be fascinating is the next case to come before Thomas of a criminal appeal in a failure to disclose case or tax case. There was nothing particularly complex about this reporting form. While criminal defense attorneys often argue that such omissions do not warrant prosecution, Thomas is viewed as fairly hostile toward such defendants coming before the Court. I was just counsel in the case of a judge who was removed from the bench by the United States Senate on articles of impeachment that included his failure to report income in a bankruptcy filing.
Of course Thomas won’t disclose in the future. We have created a Supreme Court that is above the law and that is why it’s time to change the Constitution so that we have a way to rid ourselves of ignorant minds like this: