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Supreme Thieves Disguised in Robes of 'Justice'

Jim Hightower on

Barry Goldwater, considered a right-wing extremist and fringe candidate in 1964, won the 1964 Republican presidential nomination by declaring that "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!" But the GOP is now way beyond the fringe, declaring that nuttiness in defense of extremism is no vice.

Consider Ginni Thomas. Her recent far-out political role in the effort to overthrow the people's 2020 presidential vote shows that her husband Clarence Thomas -- the surly, reactionary dogmatist who has sat on the Supreme Court for 31 years -- is not the nuttiest member of the Thomas household! He's the best known of the duo, but wife Ginni has quietly been moving into the top circle of unhinged political conspiracy activists.

Biden's defeat of Trump in 2020 set off this supremely connected partisan like an explosion in a fireworks factory. She spewed out a weeklong barrage of text messages to Trump's chief of staff demanding that Republicans use the Court to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory. Ginni instructed her White House co-conspirators to "Release the Kraken." Huh? "Kraken," the name of a mythological sea monster, was used by manic right-wingers as a code name for a series of kooky lawsuits they hoped judges would use to put Trump back in power.

Ginni Thomas was not merely someone babbling free-speech opinions; she was an implementer, a powerful political plotter actively strategizing and organizing to have unelected judges -- like Clarence -- usurp the people's democratic authority. This was too crazy even for the right-wing Republicans now running the high court, but her effort did inadvertently expose an astonishing flaw in the Court's ethical structure. In a flagrant example of judicial conflict of interest, Justice Thomas used his position to try to advance election cases in which his spouse, partisan-activist Thomas, had a personal stake.

Was he punished for violating the ethics code? No, because -- get this -- the U.S. Supreme Court has no ethics code! None whatsoever. Trust us, say the mighty justices -- each of us will be the judge of our own ethics.

As we've learned from painful experience, "governmental ethics" can be a slippery concept.

That's why We the People have insisted that every public official -- from Congress critters to dogcatchers -- swear to abide by some minimum standard of proper behavior. Not that all will honor it, but a code of ethics provides society with a measure of legal action against those who are grabbers and grifters.

 

How bizarre, then, that the nine members of our august Supreme Court, America's highest legal authority, have discretely refused to accept ethical rules. They claim they are the one group of public officials that don't need no stinkin' code because ... well, they are supreme! Chief Justice John Roberts assures us that he has "complete confidence" that each justice will always make the right ethical call on their own because "(t)hey are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience."

Does he think we have sucker wrappers around our heads? Some of these black-robed "honorables" regularly engage in the petty thievery of accepting all-expense-paid corporate trips to luxury resorts, membership in exclusive golf clubs and assorted "gifts" from special interests. Clarence Thomas is the current king of handouts, taking thousands of dollars in freebies, including such pedestrian gimmes as car tires and cigars. Thomas, a 31-year lifer on the court, draws $230,000 a year from taxpayers. Can't he buy his own cigars? No one would buy stuff for him -- except to influence his decisions!

Most damning, though, is the grand larceny of the Court's six right-wing extremists, who've turned what's meant to be a citadel of democracy into a Republican rubber stamp for plutocracy. They've stolen the integrity of the Court itself, rigging their procedures and rulings to profit moneyed interests, suppress voting rights, hogtie workers and generally run roughshod over the needs and democratic ideals of America's majority.

To help stop this disgraceful corruption of justice by so-called justices, go to FixTheCourt.com.

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To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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