Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Where is the American Bar Association?
Several years ago, when national Republicans were in power, the American Bar Association fulminated about the decline in judicial independence; blaming Republicans for making comments and taking actions that threatened judicial independence. There were many discussions, articles, academic symposiums across the country about judicial independence, and much wringing of hands about its decline. Indeed, there is a Standing Committee on Judicial Independence at the ABA. Now Common Cause, the New York Times and other liberal organizations have started a campaign against Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia. At a Common Cause rally two weeks ago, protestors called for Justice Thomas, the only black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and his wife, Ginni Thomas to be lynched. And the the New York Times and Common Cause are spreading a false story about Justice Scalia attending a legislative meeting. They say that Scalia met "behind closed doors" with Tea party legislators--when that was patently false. There are calls from Common Cause for the Justice Department to investigate Justices Scalia and Thomas for "possible" conflicts of interest because they spoke at a conference--like all the Justices from time to time do, and because Justice Thomas' wife Ginni has the temerity to be CEO of a political organization called Liberty Central. As every lawyer knows, ethical or legal accusations against a lawyer or a judge, no matter how frivolous or politically motivated, are intimidating because the accused will have to spend enormous amounts of money, and time away from work, defending himself. Yet the ABA which loudly lamented about the decline in judicial independence a few years ago, are silent at this politically motivated campaign against two sitting justices of the Supreme Court. Indeed, the ABA's only comment on Justice Thomas is an article noting that it has been five years since Justice Thomas asked a question at oral argument. Where is the outrage from the ABA? Talking about lynching an African American Supreme Court Justice should garner at least a comment from our national professional organization. This is an example of supposedly professional organizations which have become politicized. They use their professional status to censure their political opponents while failing to condemn similar or worse conduct by political allies. In an era where there is little trust in our institutions, the fact that "professional" organizations like the ABA are no longer professional just adds to the public's cynicism.
Posted by Deb Bucknam at 6:59 AM