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Reply #10: Note Scalia and Thomas went to Koch's political meetings, while on the Supreme Court [View All]

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-05-11 01:00 PM
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10. Note Scalia and Thomas went to Koch's political meetings, while on the Supreme Court
The NYT editorial notes this - here's the story:

Earlier today, ThinkProgress Lee Fang revealed several documents outlining the details of one of right-wing billionaire Charles Kochs secret convenings of corporate political donors. As Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal in 2006, the purpose of these meetings is to recruit captains of industry to fund the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks and media outlets. Buried in this document, however, is a surprising revelation about the role two supposedly impartial jurists have played in these extended fundraising solicitations: Past meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

A Supreme Court justice lending a hand to a political fundraising event would be a clear violation of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, if it wasnt for the fact that the nine justices have exempted themselves from much of the ethical rules governing all other federal judges. Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court tells ThinkProgress that he Justices look to the Code of Conduct for guidance in determining when they may participate in fundraising activities. Under that Code:

Fund Raising. A judge may assist nonprofit law-related, civic, charitable, educational, religious, or social organizations in planning fund-raising activities and may be listed as an officer, director, or trustee. A judge may solicit funds for such an organization from judges over whom the judge does not exercise supervisory or appellate authority and from members of the judges family. Otherwise, a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. A judge should not personally participate in membership solicitation if the solicitation might reasonably be perceived as coercive or is essentially a fund-raising mechanism.

Scalia and Thomas participation in these fundraising gatherings also call into question whether they can be impartial in any number of cases brought by Koch-aligned groups seeking immunity to the law. Most significantly, the Koch brothers have contributed significantly to efforts to stop the Affordable Care Act from going into effect, and a number of attendees at the Kochs secret meetings include health industry moguls with a direct financial stake in the litigation challenging health reform (Justice Thomas wife, of course, actively lobbied against the Affordable Care Act).

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/20/scalia-thomas-koch/
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