NeuwirthLawFor Lawyers, In the News

Clarence and Ginny Thomas, on the town

Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 6:15. I am not much for biblical quotations. But, this quote was on the wall of a church in South Africa and extolled the benefit of whistleblowers. I was shocked at how great a quote this was and went to look it up. Sadly, it seems to reflect a lot of our politics these days and especially republican refusal to face up to problems like guns and social change.

On a semi-related tangent, once upon a time when I was in law school in the 1990’s, there was a newly forming area of legal studies that took the unconscionable position, at the time, that judges were deciding cases based upon their own personal political or religious views or personal financial interests and not based upon the law. The fancy term was that some opinions were outcome determinative, which meant that ye olde judge decided what outcome they wanted and that drove the reasoning in the opinion.

We have now come full circle on this. Justice Clarence Thomas is being pilloried for being what he is. A grifter and culture warrior. He was never a leading light of the legal establishment and yet has been a rock solid pillar of the Court for the hard right. He is married to another culture warrior and they seem like peas in a pod.

Committing what would be ethical violations for all jurists by sitting on cases involving your spouse or failing to file required financial disclosures is embarrassing to him and offensive to me as a lawyer.  It requires a fair bit of chutzpah to not be embarrassed by this. However, it is not shocking when the reputation of the Court takes a nosedive. Amusingly, Justice Alito and Thomas will get their way on a lot of culture war issues, but are so naïve and protected in their realm that they are going to make things very very hard for the republican party for the future.

Here in Pennsylvania, we actually have judicial elections for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court coming up. I was reading the Legal Intelligencer, which is the PA lawyer’s daily newspaper, and was fairly surprised to see that a sitting PA Commonwealth Court Justice was found to be NOT RECOMMENDED by the PA Bar Association. Imagine that. Usually, it takes a lot of work to be found Not Recommended.  You have to be either way way too young, inexperienced or simply have done something nutty. So, having looked at Judge Patricia McCullough, you will find the “nutty” box checked. Her husband stole money from an elderly client’s trust fund, she enabled election denial lawsuits and tried to stop certification of election results, and generally was on the wrong side of the whole Trump/Mastriano election denial attempts.

Clearly the Judge thinks that she has done nothing wrong and is running for re-election, but to a different court, which is curious. So, when you go to the ballot box, remember McCullough. Clarence Thomas would support her cuz Ginny Thomas told him to.