The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will inevitably be decided by the Supreme Court. Democrats are being proactive in ensuring that the court makes a fair and reasoned decision but asking Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the case.
Seventy-four House Democrats are asking Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any health care reform cases, citing reports that his wife financially benefited from efforts to repeal the legislation.
The members, led by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), ask that he “maintain the integrity of this court.”
“The appearance of a conflict of interest merits recusal under federal law. From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife’s financial stake in the overturn of healthcare reform is blurred,” the members wrote.
They cite Thomas’s wife, Virginia, advertising herself as a lobbyist who has “experience and connections” and appeals to clients who want to overturn health reform.
They also say Thomas did not disclose his wife’s receipt of $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2006.
* Author’s edit: It is probably worth noting that many Republicans have called for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself as well, due to her time as Solicitor General with the Obama Administration. This is probably a fair request (I haven’t delved into the legal grounds for recusal around it yet), and coupled with a Thomas recusal would create a 7 person court for the decision.