For Immediate Release
Contacts: HCAN - Avram Goldstein 202-587-1634 firstname.lastname@example.org
Other 98% - John Sellers (Other 98%) 510-390-6416 email@example.com
Numerous Conflicts Make It Impossible for Thomas to Render Fair, Impartial Decision on Affordable Care Act, Signers Say
Washington, DC – More than 100,000 people have signed a petition demanding that U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the upcoming health care reform law case, and two progressive organizations will submit the signatures to the court tomorrow. The petition was organized by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the nation's leading grassroots health care advocacy organization, and The Other 98%, a grassroots network of activists fighting Big Money in politics. Signatures continue to roll in at a steady clip, the groups said.
Activists from the two organizations will deliver the petition to the high court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Feb. 17, at 9:30 a.m. The delivery will feature powerful visuals that demonstrate the public outrage at Thomas’s lack of ethics.
Justice Thomas has significant conflicts of interest related to his wife’s employment as an agitator on behalf of conservative groups hostile to the law as well as his own involvement with groups opposed to the law, and it is impossible for him to render a fair, impartial decision, the petition said. The Supreme Court will hear extensive oral arguments on the landmark case from March 26 to 28 and will decide the case by June.
“Justice Thomas has a hugely important choice to make today,” said Other 98% co-founder John Sellers. “Is he going to step down from a case where he has a direct financial interest, or is he going to rule on it and set an extremely dangerous precedent for future rulings? Let's be clear: we're talking about a Supreme Court Justice who has received half a million dollars in unreported household income from lobbying against the bill. Thomas has been wined, dined and paid by the law firm arguing the case, and he's taken part in far-right strategy sessions organized by the key front group leading this fight.”
“If Justice Thomas fails to recuse himself, it will threaten the integrity of the entire Supreme Court,” said HCAN Executive Director Ethan Rome. “Justice Thomas personally has aligned himself with conservative zealots and extremist organizations dedicated to throwing out the law. Unbelievably, on the same day the high court took this case, he and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia were honored at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court. Justice Thomas spoke at a secret conclave run by the billionaire Koch Brothers to raise funds for extremist front groups like Americans for Prosperity.
“Justice Thomas has so many conflicts of interest that he should recuse himself now, before the case goes any farther. Political groups determined to repeal or overturn the Affordable Care Act have been filling his family bank account for years. His wife Virginia has been a crusader in the campaign to defeat the law, and that has provided the Thomases with a healthy income. There is simply no way that Justice Thomas can render a fair decision in this important case.”
Justice Thomas failed to disclose until January 2011 that his wife received income of nearly $690,000 between 2003 and 2006 from the Heritage Foundation, a leading proponent of overturning the Affordable Care Act.
Last year 74 members of the House of Representatives took the highly unusual step of requesting that Justice Thomas remove himself from participation in deliberations on the Affordable Care Act.
“Americans want to believe we have a genuinely independent judiciary, one that doesn't bend the rules for the express benefit of huge multinational corporations, or a lobbying paycheck,” said Andrew Boyd, co-founder of The Other 98%. “That belief took a fatal blow with the Citizens United ruling. Let's hope that Justice Thomas doesn't bury that belief outright by ruling on a case where he has a clear conflict of interest.”
Health Care for America Now is the nation’s leading grassroots health care advocacy organization. HCAN led the fight to win passage of health reform and to keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.
The Other 98% is a grassroots network of concerned Americans fed up with the status quo in Washington. We've been fighting, since Tax Day 2010, against the bankers, CEOs and lobbyists who have hijacked our democracy to serve themselves at the expense of everyone else. We are everywhere. And we are hopeful. Other98.com