Can Justice Thomas Rule Fairly On Health Care Law Before Supreme Court?

How does a Supreme Court Justice over-look $700,000? 

Maybe Justice Thomas was  too involved with his obsession with pornographyto pay attention to the money that needed to be reported.  Regardless of the reason for the ethical lapse Thomas now finds himself, there is plenty of concern raised over his ability to fairly judge the health care law that will soon be before the court.

Led by New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the legislators yesterday sent a letter to Administrative Office of U.S. Court, claiming that Justice Thomas improperly failed to disclose nearly $700,000 that his wife, Virginia Thomas, allegedly earned from the conservative Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007. (Click here to see the letter.)

“To believe that Justice Thomas didn’t know how to fill out a basic disclosure form is absurd,” Slaughter said in a press release accompanying the letter, which called for a Department of Justice investigation into the matter. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation.”

Slaughter further noted in the press release: “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.”

Questions have come up before about whether Ginni Thomas’s work for conservative causes could raise conflicts of interest for her husband. (Click here for an earlier LB post on the topic.)

The Law Blog has sought comment from the Supreme Court and from the Heritage Foundation.

Here’s a CBS News report about yesterday’s request for an investigation into Thomas.

CBS notes that Justice Elena Kagan also has faced questions about whether she could impartially rule on challenges to the Affordable Care Act. Last summer, during her confirmation hearings, Republican senators raised concerns that she would be biased in reviewing the law given that she served as President Obama’s Solicitor General when the overhaul was crafted, CBS reports.

Madison Mayor Soglin’s Police Department Admits Impotency Over Law Enforcement Issue

I am appalled at the complete admission of impotency from the Madison Police Department regarding a law enforcement issue.

Mayor Soglin must step up and address the actions of his police department.

The following is not the message that I want to see coming from the Madison Police Department.  I am sure taxpayers across the city will feel the same as I do when reading the following from their police department.

At the intersection of Williamson Street and Jennifer Street there is very clear signage that states no vehicles are to enter onto Jennifer.  In spite of the signage one can stand and watch vehicle after vehicle make the illegal entrance into the isthmus neighborhood.  It is not uncommon to see 5-6 vehicles enter in a two-minute period.

The Madison Police have been alerted to the problem, and they rightly set up sting operations to curtail the problem.   Still, the careless drivers continued to operate against the laws of the road.

So more citizen pressure was applied on Madison Police, which resulted in the following message today to members of the Marquette Neighborhood.

Emphasis below is mine.

My Officers (TEST Team) have been out there this morning as well. The usual scenario develops with too many violators to deal with and we have them driving by as we are issuing citations to others. Not very fun for them or us as they complain why they are getting caught while others are driving by.

Short of closing off this intersection, I am now convinced that we will never gain compliance. We will continue to work it when we have time, but we also have other construction areas in the city to enforce as well.


Sgt. Eric S. Tripke
Traffic Enforcement Safety Team
City of Madison Police

What other laws can be circumvented in the city if just enough people desire to do so?

Maybe Not…

Spotted on Madison Isthmus.

Another National Column Over Gov. Christie’s Weight Problem

This time from Eugene Robinson.

On average, health-care costs for obese persons are 42 percent higher than costs for individuals whose weight falls into the “normal” range. It costs Medicare $1,723 more a year for an obese beneficiary than a non-obese one. For Medicaid the differential is $1,021, and for private insurers it’s $1,140. In other words, obesity is helping propel the rise in health-care costs, which are fueling the long-term rise in the national debt.

My intention is not to blame Christie for the federal government’s deficit spending — or, in fact, to blame him for his own obesity. Blame is not the point. Christie is just 49 and has four young children; politics aside, I’m sure he wants to be around to share the milestones in their lives. He prides himself on bullheaded determination and speaks often about the need for officials to display leadership. Well, Gov. Christie, lead thyself.

Republicans Will Have Early-Nominating Contests In January

Things are moving very quickly.

Florida, as was expected, threw a monkey wrench into the GOP nominating process today

Florida’s presidential preference commission has set the state’s primary for Jan. 31.  Today’s 7-2 vote came after 25 minutes of discussion regarding Jan. 3, Jan. 31 and March 6 as possible dates.

As a result every other contest slated prior to Florida’s primary will be forced to move forward.  It is reported that South Carolina will try to schedule their primary as close to Florida’s as possible, perhaps holding it the Saturday before the Florida vote, on Jan. 28. That scenario could push the Iowa GOP caucuses to Jan. 9, followed by the New Hampshire primary Jan. 17 and the Nevada causes Jan. 21.

Governor Christie had better decide what to do….yesterday.

Michael Kinsley Tackles Gov. Chris Christie Over Obesity

There is truth here from Michael Kinsley in his debut article for Bloomberg News.

Controlling what you eat and how much is not easy, and it’s harder for some people than for others. But it’s not as difficult as curing a chemical addiction. With a determined, disciplined effort, Christie could thin down, and he should –because the obesity epidemic is real and dangerous. And the president inevitably sets an example.

Unfortunately, the symbolism of Christie’s weight problem goes way past the issue of obesity itself. It is just a too-perfect symbol of our country at the moment, with appetites out of control and discipline near zilch. And it’s not just symbolism. We don’t yet know much about Chris Christie. He certainly makes all the right noises about fiscal discipline and seems to have done well so far as governor of New Jersey. Perhaps Christie is the one to help us get our national appetites under control. But it would help if he got his own under control first.

Military Chaplains May Perform Same-Sex Unions

Take this news Michele Bachamnn!

Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn’t required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs.

The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it’s not prohibited by state or local laws.

Thanks To Obama Administration For Eliminating Anwar al-Awlaki, A Radical American Muslim Cleric

The statement that can never be said of the Obama administration is that they pussy-foot around when it comes to dealing with terrorists.

The  track record is mighty impressive when it comes to eliminating those who have designs on creating havoc and bringing their bloody ideas to the shores of America.

This morning another reminder from President Obama  was sent to the world.  The message was plain. 

If you have plans to kill and injure our citizens we will hunt you down and kill you.

Thank you, Mr President.

US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a key al-Qaeda leader, has been killed in Yemen, the country’s defence ministry said.

US President Barack Obama said his death was a major blow to al-Qaeda.

Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007.

The US said that as a key figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he had played a “significant role” in plots to blow up US airliners and had sought use poison to kill US citizens.

Mr Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing last year.