Justice's wife heads political group

Oct. 9, 2010 at 12:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Political scholars say they have some concerns about a new conservative fundraising push by the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Virginia Thomas was a speaker at a recent Tea Party rally in Virginia and this year founded a new conservative political action group called Liberty Central that has been harshly critical of President Obama.

The New York Times said Saturday that while Liberty Central has not yet stepped into the media blitz surrounding the November elections, some analysts say the group could wind up accepting contributions from special interests that could eventually be involved in cases before the high court.

"It is shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife's organization," said Stanford law professor Deborah Rhode.

Others said there was no law limiting Mrs. Thomas' political activities, nor would anything suggest Justice Thomas might be a prejudiced in cases involving contributors to Liberty Central.

Supreme Court justices are not required to recuse themselves from cases in which they may have a conflict of interest, although they may do so voluntarily.

The Times said Mrs. Thomas declined to be interviewed about her husband of 23 years. Liberty Central's initial $550,000 in funding came from two donors whose names were not disclosed.

Justice Thomas sided with the majority in a ruling allowing corporations to anonymously donate unlimited sums to political candidates and causes.

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