Trump, Clarence Thomas, the Jan. 6 committee and a Supreme Court crisis

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Such as ru decision Bouncing across America, further eroding the idea that we live under the rule of law rather than crude politics, we must also ask a more fundamental question: Can the US Supreme Court do anything to step back from the brink of complete slide into pure partisanship? Already reeling from draft Opinion Earlier this spring, public confidence in the court waned, with the issuance of the final decision All-time lowestand undermining the legitimacy of the fundamental institutional pillar of American democracy – now itself under siege.

Public confidence in the court, with the final decision handed down, has plummeted to an all-time low, having already been plagued by Roe’s draft opinion leaked earlier this spring.

That this siege was led by lawyers who swore to uphold the rule of law – John EastmanAnd the Rudy GiulianiAnd the Sydney Powell And Cita Mitchell, among other things – is an amazing development. Many of these lawyers are currently under investigation by bar associations, which have the power to grant and revoke professional licenses in cases where they find ground rules of lawyer ethics – which would prohibit making false statements, and aiding in crime. Or fraud and failure to exercise independent judgments – it was violated. Based on the facts in the public record, the case for Punishment of Trump’s lawyer strong.

But what about Supreme Court justices? Remarkably, judges are not bound by these same legal codes of ethics. In fact, they are not bound by any ethical code – a fact that puts them at odds not only with practicing attorneys but with nearly all other judges in the United States, including other federal judges, who govern them Code of Conduct for US Judges.

Then cipher exclude Supreme Court justices covered it. The rationale is that judges in lower federal courts are constituted by Congress. In contrast, US Supreme Court justices derive their power directly from Article III of the Constitution, which states that they may serve as long as they “demonstrate good conduct” and may be removed only by impeachment.

However, this legitimate constitutional argument raises a more practical question: why do judges not simply agree among themselves to formally subscribe to the law? The answer the judges give for not doing so is that they voluntarily follow it as a matter of conscience, and we must trust them to do so. As Chief Justice John Roberts said in his book: Judicial report 2011: “I have complete confidence in my colleagues’ ability to determine when stepping down is justified.”

However, this trust is no longer in good standing (if it is). In recent months, there has been an outpouring of evidence, thanks in large part to the January 6 commission’s national action, of conduct violating the spirit, and even letter, of the Code that the judges claim to follow. This further underscores why this Code must now be an urgent national priority.

many (but not all) Of the recent problems of the court on Jenny Thomas, wife of Judge Clarence Thomas. Before the 2020 elections, Ginni Thomas has been granted extraordinary access to the Trump White House, where she presented extreme religious and anti-LGBT policies while working with activists seeking Roe’s heart. (And the We are learning now that anti-Roe activists engaged in a coordinated effort to serve wine and dinner to the judges, including Thomas).

After Trump’s lawyers filed bizarre Kraken lawsuits alleging Antifa conspiracies and fraudulent voting systems, Jenny Thomas wrote a text message to Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff: “Free the Kraken and save us from the left that is destroying America.” She urged Meadows to continue the fictitious lawsuits, which he was in a position to sway. A few weeks later, former law clerk Thomas John Eastman urged Trump’s campaign attorney to file an appeal in the Wisconsin election fraud case to the Supreme Court, where Eastman claimed “There is a raging battle going on” over the intervention.

With the collapse of the election cases in the courts, another strategy led by . has emerged CNP Action, the group that sat on the board of directors of Jenny Thomas. CNP Action, the political advocacy arm of the Council on National Policy, has launched a campaign to pressure lawmakers in five glamorous states that voted for Biden to assign a fake list of pro-Trump voters. Notorious legal memorandum from Eastman to the President He argued that Vice President Mike Pence might refuse to certify Biden’s legitimate January 6 voters based on the fake lists.

To pressure Pence to implement this plan, Meadows coordinated with leaders of various far-right conspiracy groups to plan a January 6 show of force to “Stop the Robbery.” Jenny Thomas participated in mediating between the groups to activate the gathering that was officially coordinated by USA turning point.

The basic principles of the Federal Code of Conduct state that judges must protect the “integrity and independence” of the judiciary, “avoid wrongdoing and the appearance of wrongdoing”, and avoid non-judicial activities that “reflect negatively on a judge’s impartiality.”

It is very difficult to see how Thomas’ involvement in any issue related to his wife’s pressure or Trump’s efforts to topple the election would not violate every one of these principles. His wife’s public campaigning on cases brought for Supreme Court review, not to mention her direct involvement in democratic subversion, cast a huge shadow on Thomas’ independence from political influence and the integrity of the judiciary. His role requires that he keep political influence out of his work in court as much as possible. This, in turn, should require his wife to give up active lobbying efforts and, at the very least, require him not to associate himself openly with her issues. Yet he did he did So on frequent occasions.

Furthermore, the revelation that the wife of a Supreme Court judge is campaigning vigorously to sabotage the presidential election is a severe blow to the court’s legitimacy. It is unreasonable that Thomas would not have known about her actions. You may discover the January 6 commission Just how much does her husband know. But this fact-finding mission does not even affect the final moral analysis appearance Of unfitness should be disqualified. And if that doesn’t seem inappropriate to a rational observer, I’m not sure what might happen.

If that doesn’t seem inappropriate to a reasonable observer, I’m not sure what might happen.

Thomas seems to have already disregarded his moral duty to step aside in cases where his wife’s interest is “significantly” affected by his participation in issue Trump brought him in to prevent the January 6 committee from obtaining White House records — records that include his wife. For now, there’s nothing stopping him from doing it again.

Despite this serious threat to the independence of the judiciary, there is no consensus on a path forward. The Twenty-first century court law Proposed in the House of Representatives Requires The Supreme Court to adopt its own code of conduct.

While some raise constitutional questions about whether Congress can regulate the work of the Court, a more practical concern is whether the Supreme Court’s Code of Ethics will make a practical difference. Judges would still be the ultimate arbiters of their compliance, and their desire for independence would provide little incentive to adjust internal morals with consistency and rigor. However, while judges will still judge and jury about their conduct, the Code of Ethics will still make a powerful symbolic statement: No lawyer is above professional values ​​or can define what those values ​​are.

A code of ethics would create more public accountability. The ability to invoke violations of the established rule would bring more pressure for ethical compliance. During hearings, senators can obtain commitments by candidates to follow a letter of code once it is confirmed, much as they currently do by asking judges if they will honor a precedent. (Although we know that Promises to do so are broken regularly.)

This leads to a second objection to the code: how judges can arm it to gain an advantage in pending cases. As the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said in 2011 Report, having to review and enforce ethical breaches “would create an undesirable situation in which the Court could influence the outcome of a case by choosing who could participate from among its members.” Although this reasoning may be correct in theory, it presents a terribly disappointing picture of the state of our country’s highest court. If the judges entrusted with the most important legal authority in our country cannot set aside partisanship to make impartial decisions about when individual relinquishment is appropriate, our democracy is in a very dangerous place.

There is a moral crisis roiling the American legal profession, led by lawyers who continue to defend their untenable efforts to help Trump wrest the wheel of American democracy off the cliff. It would be wrong to view these efforts as separate from the Supreme Court’s resistance to holding itself accountable for its moral duties. Supreme Court justices are empowered by the Constitution itself. If these lawyers cannot be tasked with upholding core professional values ​​- integrity and respect for the rule of law – how can we expect other lawyers to follow suit?

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