At first glance the Pin Point Heritage Museum, scheduled to open this fall, would seem an unlikely catalyst for an ethical quandary. That Pin Point’s history is worthy of preservation is not in dispute.Imagine a liberal justice raised under such circumstances. Imagine this historical preservation project without any connection to conservative politics. What article would appear in the New York Times?
Part of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor designated by Congress, it is representative of tight-knit Southern coastal settlements that trace their roots to freed slaves and were often based around fishing. In Pin Point, the Varn crab and oyster cannery, founded in the 1920s, was a primary source of jobs until it closed in 1985....
Justice Thomas, 62, was born and raised near the cannery overlooking the Moon River, where it was not uncommon for babies to rock in bassinets made of crab baskets while their mothers shucked oysters.
But Clarence Thomas is the man that liberals would love to discredit. Here, the idea is that although the judicial code of conduct does not apply to Supreme Court justices, the justices do purport to follow it, and:
The code says judges “should not personally participate” in raising money for charitable endeavors, out of concern that donors might feel pressured to give or entitled to favorable treatment from the judge.Here's the actual text of the code:
A judge should not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the judicial office for that purpose, but the judge may be listed as an officer, director, or trustee of such an organization. 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.Note how the "personally participate" language relates to "membership solicitation" and there's nothing in the article about that. At most, the article has Thomas saying "I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with" to the owner of the cannery. So "a judge should not solicit funds..." — let's use the actual text. How is that soliciting funds? You can see the interest in sliding over to the "personally participate" language that relates to "membership solicitation." Pretty sleazy.
And all in the context of preserving a site in the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor designated by Congress!
The Times notes: "The justices are not bound by the federal judiciary’s conduct code, because it is enforced by a committee of judges who rank below the justices." Right. Of course, that's the way it has to be. Imagine a committee of judges unleashed to have at Clarence Thomas!
The constitutional check on a Supreme Court Justice is impeachment. Picture Congress going after Thomas for playing some background role in preserving a valuable black history site.
ADDED: Instapundit says:
But of course, the New York Times piece isn’t really about ethics. It’s battlespace preparation for the Supreme Court’s healthcare vote. The problem for the Times is that Thomas doesn’t care what the New York Times thinks. Which means this is more about preparing a narrative of failure for ObamaCare — It was struck down by evil corrupt conservative judges. I think they’re going to be kept quite busy constructing failure narratives over the next couple of years.