Justice Clarence Thomas was one of the four members of the U.S. Supreme Court who went against the majority ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
But Thomas should not have been involved in the decision – he had a conflict of interest in the outcome of the case.
Justice Thomas’ wife, Virginia, is a lobbyist. Between 2003 and 2007, she received $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the organization’s IRS records. Thomas initially failed to mention that income on his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms, but later amended them when it came to light. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has been a prominent opponent of healthcare reform.
In 2010, Virginia Thomas made $150,000 as the president and CEO of Liberty Central, a Tea Party group that fought against President Obama’s healthcare reform law, according to political news site Mother Jones.
According to Clarence Thomas’ 2011 financial disclosure report form, the couple invested up to $15,000 in Liberty Consulting, where Virginia is still employed. That group also opposed the health care law.
Last year, 74 House Democrats sent a letter to Justice Thomas asking him to recuse himself from any case involving the health care law because his wife’s work as a lobbyist creates “the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Because of these ethical concerns, Garrett Troy started a petition at Change.org to call on Congress to impeach Justice Thomas. It has received more than 36,000 signatures. A similar petition at Credo Action calling for Thomas’ resignation has more than 224,000 signatures.
We agree – it’s time for Justice Thomas to go.