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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Supreme Court is Back in Session.....
some, if not all of them

It will be exciting to see what new cases, including 'Obamacare'.  The Obama Administration seems confident of winning.........

To get our readers 'in the mood', here are two clips from the Colbert Report on Monday October 4, 2011.

From Comedy Central:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Supreme Courting Season
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
I am disappointed that once again, it is a Minnesota Representative to Congress who is making an ass of herself with misinformation. But Colbert is both funny and informative, so make yourself some popcorn, or........a nine layer dip with veggies and chips......and cuddle up with someone you love in front of the computer. Enjoy!
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Supreme Courting Season - Jeffrey Toobin
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
What I find really fascinating is whether or not Kagan and Thomas will recuse themselves from participating in the decision.

Recusal will be a hot topic for a variety of reasons this session, as evidenced by this letter from Congresswoman Slaughter, D-NY and 19 of her colleagues:
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Slaughter, 19 Colleagues, Call for Investigation into Justice Thomas's Non-Disclosure
Under Law, Judicial Conference Must Refer Issue to US Attorney General
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, together with 19 Members of Congress, today sent a letter to the Judicial Conference, requesting that the Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas's non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice. Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas has checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone.
Slaughter said, "To believe that Justice Thomas didn't know how to fill out a basic disclosure form is absurd. It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income. To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas's explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible."
Section 104(b) of the Ethics in Government Act requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General of the United States any judge who the Conference "has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported."
If the Judicial Conference finds reasonable cause to believe that Justice Thomas has "willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information to be reported," it must, pursuant to §104, refer the case to the Attorney General for further determination of possible criminal or civil legal sanctions.
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, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone. The Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue that is expected to be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future.
Slaughter said, "The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today. I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other Members of Congress, as suspicious."
The full text of the letter is below.
September 29, 2011
James C. Duff
Secretary to the Judicial Conference of the United States
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Suite 2-301
One Columbus Circle, N.E.
Washington, DC 20544
Dear Mr. Duff:
Widespread reporting, including a recent report in The New York Times titled "Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics," raise grave concerns about the failure of Justice Clarence Thomas to meet various disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Based upon the multiple public reports, Justice Thomas's actions may constitute a willful failure to disclose, which would warrant a referral by the Judicial Conference to the Department of Justice, so that appropriate civil or criminal actions can be taken.
Due to the simplicity of the disclosure requirements, along with Justice Thomas's high level of legal training and experience, it is reasonable to infer that his failure to disclose his wife's income for two decades was willful, and the Judicial Conference has a non-discretionary duty to refer this case to the Department of Justice.
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, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone.
Furthermore, an investigation conducted by The New York Times has revealed that Justice Thomas may have, on several occasions, benefited from use of a private yacht and airplane owned by Harlan Crow, and again failed to disclose this travel as a gift or travel reimbursement on his federal disclosure forms as required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
Justice Thomas's failure to disclose his wife's income for his entire tenure on the federal bench and indications that he may have failed to file additional disclosure regarding his travels require the Judicial Conference to refer this matter to the Department of Justice.
Section 104(b) of the Ethics Act requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General of the United States any judge who the Conference "has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported." If the Judicial Conference finds reasonable cause to believe that Justice Thomas has "willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information to be reported," it must, pursuant to §104, refer the case to the Attorney General for further determination of possible criminal or civil legal sanctions.
Particularly as questions surrounding the integrity and fairness of the Supreme Court continue to grow, it is vital that the Judicial Conference actively pursue any suspicious actions by Supreme Court Justices. While we continue to advocate for the creation of binding ethical standards for the Supreme Court, it is important the Judicial Conference exercise its current powers to ensure that Supreme Court Justices are held accountable to the current law.
As a result, we respectfully request that the Judicial Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Thomas's non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act to the Department of Justice. We eagerly await your reply.
Sincerely,
Rep. Louise Slaughter
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. Mike Honda
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Christopher Murphy
Rep. John Garamendi
Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Raul Grijalva
Rep. John Olver
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Jackie Speier
Rep. Paul Tonko
Rep. Bob Filner
Rep. Peter Welch
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Anna Eshoo
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Congresswoman Slaughter, who unlike Bachmann has been an effective legislator who actually shows up in Congress regularly,  was also interviewed about this letter on Countdown with Keith Olbermann:



and





So the next SCOTUS session as well as the hearing holding the Supreme Court Justices accountable to the law promise to be very exciting, and certainly different from previous years. 

See why you need that popcorn?  This promises to last longer than an epic movie, and will no doubt involve going round and round more than the chariot scene in Ben Hur.

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