Another mark against Clarence Thomas, from the L.A. Times:
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts since joining the high court, including $1,200 worth of tires, valuable historical items and a $5,000 personal check to help pay a relative's education expenses.
The gifts also included a Bible once owned by the 19th century author and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, which Thomas valued at $19,000, and a bust of President Lincoln valued at $15,000.
He also took a free trip aboard a private jet to the exclusive Bohemian Grove club in Northern California — arranged by a wealthy Texas real estate investor who helped run an advocacy group that filed briefs with the Supreme Court.
Those and other gifts were disclosed by Thomas under a 1978 federal ethics law that requires high-ranking government officials, including the nine Supreme Court justices, to file a report each year that lists gifts, money and other items they have received.
Thomas has reported accepting much more valuable gifts than his Supreme Court colleagues over the last six years, according to their disclosure forms on file at the court.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1989 prohibits all federal employees, including the justices, from accepting "anything of value" from a person with official business before them. However, under the rules that the federal judicial system adopted to implement that law, judges are free to accept gifts of unlimited value from people without official business before the court.
The Times reviewed the disclosures of all nine justices for the years 1998 through 2003, the only period of time for which disclosure forms were still on file at the court. They reported receiving cash, which they usually gave to charity, but kept or used various valuable items, mementos and club memberships.
In that six-year period, Thomas accepted $42,200 in gifts, making him the top recipient.
Next in that period was Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who accepted $5,825 in gifts, mostly small crystal figurines and other items. She also reported an $18,000 award in 2003 from the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, but listed it as income. The money was for the society's Benjamin Franklin Award for Distinguished Public Service. She gave other cash awards to charity.
Third was Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who accepted a $5,000-award from Fordham University — the only gift he reported for the six-year period.
In addition, The Times obtained a full set of disclosure forms for Thomas' 13-year tenure on the court, as well as forms dating to 1992 from Justice Antonin Scalia, 1993 for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 1996 for O'Connor. (The official disclosure forms are removed from the public file after six years.)
Since joining the court, Thomas reported accepting gifts valued at $47,745. He also reported other gifts without citing a dollar value, ranging from "small gifts and flowers" to free plane trips and accommodations from friends.
Ginsburg has received a number of large monetary awards since joining the court in 1993, which she reported giving to charity. In 1996 she received $100,000 from the philanthropic Kaul Foundation and distributed the money among 26 charities and nonprofit organizations, including law schools, women's organizations and theatrical companies.
Justices earned $194,300 this year and will get $199,200 in 2005, modest compared with some private-sector lawyers. They are permitted to earn as much as $23,000 more through outside activities, such as teaching.
But membership on the court offers perks in addition to the prestige and power unique to the role of the high court.
[Thanks to Shirley]
I'm at a loss to understand why Justice of the Supreme Court are allowed to accept any gifts from anybody, since every American is potentially someone who might have business before the Supreme Court.
It's not as if we don't pay these guys decent salaries. They're not sky-high by today's standards, but there're not chicken feed either, and if they can't live on what they're paid, perhaps they ought to take the advice often thrown out at the poor and give up their hobbies and pleasures in order to afford to put food on the table.
(One of the little noted drawbacks of over the top CEO compensation is that it puts subtle pressure on high government officials, like the President and members of the Senate, to push to have their salaries increased. These people think of themselves as being among the movers and shakers of the world, just like those business leaders, and want to be compensated in a similar manner. As CEO salaries and perks go up, HGO salaries get pushed up as well.)
Once again, by accepting gifts with a monetary value 8 times that of any other Justice, Thomas has confirmed that he is, indeed, an embarrassment to this nation.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
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Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
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Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
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The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
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"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
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"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
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Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.