With Anthony Weiner driven out of Congress in a Twitter scandal, Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy now heads to the front lines in the ongoing Clarence Thomas scandal. That means Thomas’ online defenders could soon have a new target.
ThinkProgres interviewed Murphy this week, and reports the following:
… Murphy (D-CT) — the lead sponsor of a bill which would strip Supreme Court justices of their immunity from a code of ethical conduct that applies to other federal judges — suggests that an investigation may be necessary to determine whether Justice Clarence Thomas’ many ethics scandals rise to the level where Thomas is no longer fit to serve on the nation’s highest Court. [Emphasis added]
Specifically, Murphy told ThinkProgress:
I think our problem is we don’t know the full extent of Justice Thomas’ connections to [leading GOP donor] Harlan Crow, or, frankly, to a further network of right-wing funders. What he’s done is incredibly serious. I think, at the very least, his actions should disqualify him from sitting on any cases in which Crow-affiliated organizations are parties to or have attempted to influence [the Court]. But this is starting to rise to the level where there should start to be some real investigations as to whether Clarence Thomas can continue to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.
Murphy and ThinkProgress were referring to a New York Times story last week about Thomas’ close ties to the multimillionaire Crow, and his ties to funding a museum in Pinpoint, Georgia, which will inevitably honor Thomas, who was born in the small town. Thomas has already ruled on nearly a dozen cases in which Crow-affiliated groups filed briefs. And Thomas and his wife have further dubious affiliations, to Citizens United, the group whose landmark case opened the floodgates to corporate “investment” in American political candidates, to the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and Liberty Central (founded by Ginny Thomas), all of which could have an interest in the outcome of a potential Supreme Court case regarding healthcare reform, and more. ThinkProgress has compiled the Thomas scandals as a headline on its Justice page, and TRR has compiled related links here.
Anthony Weiner had been at the forefront of calling for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases in which his family could have a financial interest, and his carelessness on Twitter and in choosing to flirt online with random, unknown women with a potential financial incentive to save anything and everything he emailed or texted them, gave his enemies (and his perennially skittish party) the opening to drive him out of Congress.
Now Murphy is in the spotlight, and he should understand that the pro-Thomas forces, who monitored (some might say stalked) Weiner’s Twitter account (@ChrisMurphyCT) for months, and then coordinated his downfall via media provocateur Andrew Breitbart (more on the players from The Smoking Gun), will be watching him. Breitbart’s “news” operation has already monitored Murphy’s Twitter feed, posting this story about the Congressman’s supposed, brief Justin Bieber fandom. So the Congressman would be wise to mind his online manners, and operate as if he’s being watched by the pro-Thomas faction, which is aggressive, motivated, and ruthless. Any flaw in his character, any mistake, will surely be exploited by those who, like Andrew Breitbart himself, have taken Thomas on board as their hero.
Because as Murphy’s profile on the Thomas affair grows, he will become an increasingly attractive target for the right.
But he won’t be able to say he wasn’t warned.