Common Cause keeps the heat on Clarence Thomas

John Wellington Ennis
Filmmaker, “PAY 2 PLAY”
Common Cause Keeps The Heat On Clarence Thomas
Posted: 7/10/11 07:27 PM ET

While the Supreme Court started its summer recess last week, watchdog group Common Cause is keeping the heat on Justice Clarence Thomas. In two separate actions on Thursday, July 7, Common Cause has drawn further scrutiny to an already embattled judge. Sitting in a lifetime appointment on the highest court of the land, the controversial behavior of Clarence Thomas is drawing increased calls for the Supreme Court to be held to the same code of conduct as all federal judges.

In the wake of a New York Times article chronicling Justice Thomas’s relationship with billionaire Harlan Crow, Common Cause filed a Freedom Of Information Act request to the U.S. Marshals Service for details of jet and yacht travel that Harlan Crow has provided Justice Thomas, as well as other gifts.

Americans are concerned, and rightfully so, over mounting evidence that our highest court is operating outside the ethical standards that apply to other federal judges,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “We are seeking records from the Marshals Service, which typically provides security for justices traveling outside Washington, to clarify whether Justice Thomas has violated federal ethics laws. We hope to engage the legal community in a larger effort to bring ethical accountability to the full court.

In another attention-getting move, Common Cause took the need for the judicial code of conduct to the professionals that abide by it — the American Bar Association. In a letter to ABA President Stephen Zack, Common Cause president Bob Edgar urged the largest association of lawyers to take a position on Justice Thomas’s potential conflicts of interest, and to help persuade the highest court to embrace the code of conduct adhered to by all other federal justices.

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