Democrats Pushing for Ethics Probe of Supreme Court Justice Thomas
On Thursday, a group of House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States requesting an ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for allegedly failing to disclose his wife's income from opponents of the federal health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/29).
The 20 Democrats -- led by Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) -- said that Justice Thomas did not report about $700,000 in income from when his wife, Virginia, worked at the Heritage Foundation -- a group that opposes the health reform law -- from 2003 to 2007 (Brady, Roll Call, 9/29).
According to "Healthwatch," a press release from Slaughter's office indicates that the 20 Democrats are concerned with Justice Thomas' wife's connection to opponents of the overhaul.
The release states, "Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas checked a box titled 'none' on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income," adding, "The Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the [health reform law], an issue that is expected to be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/29).
Virginia Thomas has been a vocal opponent of the overhaul. She called the overhaul "unconstitutional" in a position paper posted last year on the website of Liberty Central, a conservative group she founded.
The paper stated, "With the U.S. Constitution on our side and the hearts and minds of the American people with us, freedom will prevail." She later retracted her comments (California Healthline, 10/27/10).
Supreme Court To Return for New Session
The Democrats' request comes just days before the high court returns for a new session, during which it is expected to consider a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health reform law (Roll Call, 9/29).
On Wednesday, the Obama administration filed a formal request asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the individual mandate in the federal health reform law unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs in the case -- 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business -- on Wednesday also requested that the high court review the case and said the entire law should be struck down (California Healthline, 9/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.