Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia isn’t a supporter of legalizing drugs. But he does believe that passing federal laws against them has done harm to the U.S. government. “It was a great mistake to put routine drug offenses into the federal courts,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal went on to report Scalia’s belief that the laws forced Congress to enlarge the federal court system, and diminished “the elite quality of the federal judiciary.”
This isn’t a new problem. Chief Justice William Rehnquist complained as far back as 1989 that the war on drugs was overwhelming the federal judiciary. In 1995, Kathleen F. Brickley, an academic, found that “the Federal system is strained to capacity due, in large part, to the government’s war on drugs.”
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) told Current TV’s Keith Olbermann Tuesday that a “retroactive recusal” of Justice Clarence Thomas could result in overturning the Citizens United case.
Earlier this year, the liberal group Common Cause argued that both Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from the Citizens United case because they attended events organized billionaire Charles Koch.
In addition, Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, may have received financial benefit from the Citizens United ruling, something that was never disclosed by the justice.
Twenty House Democrats Thursday called on the U.S. Judicial Conference to formally request that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate Justice Clarence Thomas’s non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
Justice Thomas indicated on his annual financial disclosure forms that his wife had received no income since he joined the bench in 1991, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007.
She added: “There is such a thing as a retroactive recusal. We’re looking into that. That case, if you remember, was decided 5-4. If we could take away his vote, we could wipe that out. It would lose. How ’bout that?”
There have been alarming reports of justices – most notably Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – attending political events and using their position to fundraise for organizations. These activities would be prohibited if the justices were required to abide by the Judicial Conference Code of Conduct, which currently applies to all other federal judges. […]
Recent revelations about Justice Thomas accepting tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from individuals and organizations who often have an interest in matters before the courts calls into question the Court’s impartiality. Canon 4D of the Code of Conduct incorporates regulations providing that “[a] judicial officer or employee shall not accept a gift from anyone who is seeking official action from or doing business with the court.” Yet Justice Thomas received a gift valued at $15,000 from an organization that had a brief pending before his Court at the very moment they gave him the gift. Incidents such as these undermine the integrity of the entire judiciary, and they should not be allowed to continue.