Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke his silence and appeared angry at a banquet last night sponsored by the conservative legal group the Federalist Society. The speech occurred in Charlottesville, Va. He accused critics of undermining the Supreme Court and warned them of trying to destroy the American way of life.
was presented a partial recording of Thomas' speech by someone who was in attendance. The following quote from Thomas emphasized his concern to the young audience about the dangers of losing liberty and faith in the justice system:
all are going to be, unfortunately, the recipients of the fallout from that-that there's going to be a day when you need these institutions to be credible and to be fully functioning to protect your liberties.''
The speech was closed to the press. Common Cause
wrote a letter to the Justice Department in January saying that Justice Thomas should have recused himself from the Supreme Court's decision last year in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission giving corporations the right to spend money on political ads.
Initially, Justice Thomas said that he only gave a brief talk at the Federalist Society function in January 2008 in Palm Springs, California. However, in his financial disclosure statement for that year, Justice Thomas said that the Federalist Society reimbursed him for four days of transportation, meals and lodging at the retreat. Charles and David Koch organized the event . They are multi-millionaires from an energy conglomerate that they run in Wichita, Kansas.
Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni, founded Liberty Central
which is a non-profit group that is trying to bond the conservative establishment with the Tea Party movement. Thomas had to amend 13 years' worth of financial disclosure forms concerning the sources of his wife's income after Common Cause raised questions about that as well.
Ginni Thomas has started a lobbying group called Liberty Consulting Inc
which advertises that the experience and connections of Ginny Thomas will propel conservatives to have a greater impact upon governmental decisions.
Earlier this month, 74 House Democrats signed a letter asking Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any cases involving the overhauling of the healthcare bill because of his supposed partiality and his wife's involvement in lobbying.
Last night, Thomas defended his wife during his speech who was in attendance at the event. saying that there is a price to pay for defending the Constitution. He urged the young conservative law school students not to be silent about threats to the Constitution. He implored them to have an originalist interpretation of the document.