SCOTUS Spouses Are Activists Too
In most cases — notice how I say not all — the Supreme Court plays well with everyone. They interpret the law, regardless of which party's foaming at the mouth more severely. They're America's referees. Now imagine if the wife of a ref speculated that a team was cheating or, worse, scarring our nation's children by doing steroids. It does emit a curious whiff.
That's where Clarence Thomas's wife comes in. Virginia Thomas is a conservative activist who heads up the tea party-ish nonprofit group Liberty Central, as profiled by the Los Angeles Times. She's also an admitted Glenn Beck admirer. (And she loves 24, so she's not opposed to the idea that the president could be a murderer.)
Right down ideological lines, people are DIVIDED on the issue of whether or not a SCOTUS wife can also play the role of Political Activist Wife. The extreme sides are:
Okay, let's try this again, but with less combative phraseology. AMERICAblog points out that Thomas was part of the 5-4 ruling on Citizens United v. FEC that allowed corporations to donate willy-nilly to candidates, and this has enabled Mrs. Thomas and Liberty Central to financially back those politicians. It does really look like an indirect backrub. But again — is that really why he ruled the way he did?
LA Times reporter Kathleen Hennessey, who is getting railed by blogs like Hot Air, did point out in her story that Liberty Central's does not mention Virginia's marriage. So that counts for something.
In the end, are spouses off limits while their loved ones are on the bench? What about Clarence's brother? Niece? Childhood best friend? Third grade teacher? The guy who refilled his Coca-Cola vending machine? What if the couple were like a Carville-Matalin political enigma?
Although the tether isn't officially bound by any law (other than the gossipy name "Clareginia"), Virginia Thomas should be careful not to spew political invective, because that would reflect badly on her husband.