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.
“What I’m very interested here is the votes that he has cast that may be in conflict,” Slaughter explained to Olbermann. “Of course, his wife can work. But the fact is there are only nine justice on that Supreme Court and it certainly should be a given that a family member of any of those people lucky enough to be a Supreme Court justice should not in any way involve themselves in matters that will go before that court. Now, we all know that she worked very hard for the Citizens United case, which I think is one of the most egregious things that have ever happened in the United States Supreme Court.”
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?”
“That’s only the future of the democracy there, isn’t it?” Olbermann asked.
“Yes, indeed. And we are — you know, the judiciary is the last place for all of us to go. We’re only as good — all of us — as the courts are, only as safe as the courts are good. Their interpretations are really what give us the freedoms when you come down to it. They have enormous power.”
Watch this video from Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, broadcast Oct. 4, 2011.