Prof. Monroe Freedman: Wife’s New Lobby Shop Should Mean Recusals for Justice Thomas

Monroe H. Freedman, Professor of Law

With Virginia Thomas’ announcement last week that she is opening a lobbying group called Liberty Consulting that will serve conservative clients, renowned legal ethicists like Hofstra Law’s own Monroe Freedman foresee conflicts that should prompt recusals.

Freedman told the New York Times that Justice Thomas “should not be sitting on a case or reviewing a statute that his wife has lobbied for…if the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that creates a perception problem.”

According to its website, Liberty Consulting is dedicated to “effective advocacy and assistance on behalf of those liberty-loving citizens and organizations who wish to preserve limited government, free enterprise, national security, individual liberty and personal responsibility.”

The announcement, coupled with an email she wrote to senior staffers on Capitol Hill declaring that she is “an ambassador to the tea party movement,” according to Politico, have watchdogs on edge. The publication quoted Arn Pearson, a lawyer for Common Cause, as saying that Ms. Thomas’ activities “show a new level of arrogance of just not caring that the court is being politicized and how that undermines the historic image of the Supreme Court as being above the political fray.”

Her website continues that Ms. Thomas “plans to leverage her 30 years of experience as a Washington ‘insider’ to assist non-establishment ‘outsiders’ who share her belief in our core founding principles and values.”

Read the full article at nytimes.com.