Democrats call for ethics probe into Justice Thomas

Twenty lawmakers concerned with Thomas' wife's overhaul connections

Topics: Health Policy, Market Trends, Strategy

October 3, 2011

A group of House Democrats have requested an ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for allegedly failing to disclose his wife's income from federal health reform law opponents.

The 20 Democrats said Justice Thomas did not report about $700,000 in income from when his wife, Virginia, worked at the Heritage Foundation—a group that has opposes the health reform law—from 2003 to 2007.

Virginia Thomas herself has been a vocal opponent of the overhaul. Thomas called the overhaul "unconstitutional" in a position paper posted last year on the website of Liberty Central, a conservative group she founded. The paper stated, "With the U.S. Constitution on our side and the hearts and minds of the American people with us, freedom will prevail." She later retracted her comments.

The request comes just days before the high court returns for a new session, during which it is expected to consider a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health reform law.

According to The Hill's "Healthwatch," a press release from Rep. Louise Slaughter's (N.Y.) office indicates that the 20 Democrats are concerned with Justice Thomas' wife's connection to opponents of the overhaul. The release states, "Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas checked a box titled 'none' on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income," adding, "The Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the [health reform law], an issue that is expected to be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future" (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/29; Brady, Roll Call, 9/29).

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