The Motown Supremes, Chicken Supreme… But the Supreme Court?

The six-person majority of far-right “Supremes” is utterly corrupt. If the Court refuses to fix itself, the people must.

The six-person majority of far-right “Supremes” who presently dominate America’s judicial system seems intent on demonstrating that having a seat on our Supreme Court does not mean there is anything supreme about them.

Consider one bottom-line measure of character that is central to the Court’s integrity: financial ethics. This simply requires the judges to file annual reports to reveal any sources of outside income and gifts, thus providing some minimal assurance to regular folks that the eminences are not taking personal payments from moneyed interests seeking favorable court rulings.

But unlike all other top government officials, Supreme Court justices have a loosey-goosey system for reporting financial conflicts of interest. It’s called: “Trust us.”

Thus, for years, Clarence Thomas has been taking millions of dollars’ worth of gimmes from a right-wing corporate billionaire while voting to impose this benefactor’s plutocratic agenda as the law of the land. Yet, in two decades of financial “reports to the people,” there is not a whisper from His Supremeness that he has regularly pocketed a wealth of gratuities from this special “friend.”

Or take John Roberts, the chief justice, who poses as a paragon of judicial independence while aggressively pressing an agenda of corporate supremacy over the common good. While he’s not known to take payments from corporate interests… his wife does.

She’s been paid millions of dollars in commissions to recruit lawyers for firms that have business before Justice Roberts. Yet, until this special-interest enrichment of his family was recently uncovered, Roberts never mentioned it in his annual reports.

Meanwhile, every federal official must agree to abide by a code of ethical behavior — with the exception of nine officials who have exempted themselves, saying “Trust us.” Yes — the Supremes.

Since the Court refuses to fix itself, the people must. To help, go to

Do You Suspect the System is Rigged? Here’s Proof

Years ago, a Texas lawmaker got caught using his official position to enrich himself by taking money from special interests, in exchange for voting their way. The culprit did not deem this as corrupt, but just the normal ethic of an enterprising business transaction: “I seen my chances,” he explained, “and I took ’em.”

This is the Clarence Thomas code of ethics. As has been widely reported, this Supreme Court judge (who reliably rules for corporate supremacy over the people’s interests) has secretly been on the take for years from a billionaire corporate right-winger. Real estate tycoon Harlan Crow, an extremist activist for plutocratic government, has been lavishing millions of dollars’ worth of luxury vacations, private jet travel, family housing and educational payments and other gratuities on Thomas.

Yet, this supposedly supreme lawyer says he detected no whiff of bribery, nor did he see any need to inform us commoners of it. He simply seen his chances and took ’em.

But Thomas knew damn well that it was improper, corrupting and disgusting. After all, during the last three decades, he has consistently voted for court rulings to make such obvious graft legal. For example, he has voted again and again to drain common sense from our anti-corruption laws, declaring that it is legal for a corporation to keep a public official on private retainer, that it’s OK for political officials to sell access to their offices, that the “appearance of corruption” is not corrupt — and, directly relevant to Harlan Crow, Thomas voted that it is technically not bribery to try influencing public officials by bestowing a series of gifts to them over time.

If it seems to you like the system is rigged to favor the powerful, there you have it. Thomas is both the rigger and the beneficiary of the system.

Jim Hightower
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