Friday, December 9, 2011

Clarence Thomas' Wife Embraces The Nuttiest Climate Science Denier

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, does weekly video conversations with some of the most extreme voices in conservative politics for the website The Daily Caller. I wouldn't even describe her guests as Republicans - most are from the extreme conservative fringe, well outside the party mainstream. And they're not interviews - the website describes them as "sit downs" and Thomas doesn't hide her full political support ("What can people do who believe in what you are saying?").

Lord Monckton confronted by youth climate change activists
One of Thomas' most recent fawning videos was with infamous science denier Lord Christopher Monckton. Revealingly, Monckton doesn't just deny climate science - he denies President Obama was born in the United States. Monckton has also called American climate activists "Hitler Youth." He had to be admonished to stop falsely claiming to be a member of Britain's House of Lords. And if all that wasn't enough, Monckton believes people with HIV should be quarantined.

It's telling how Thomas introduces the session. "The left despises Lord Christopher Monckton," she writes. No need to start with scientific credentials or the public good - right to bare-knuckled politics. While Thomas is clearly trying to ingratiate Monckton with her audience that despises the left, the statement simply isn't true. I love Lord Monckton! He's my favorite climate science denier! What better face of the movement of wealthy polluters trying to protect their reign over our land, air & water than this upper-class twit?

But Thomas's ridiculous source for climate propaganda comes into more serious question when you consider that Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito are the final two holdouts on the Supreme Court still refusing to accept climate science or carbon regulations under the Clean Air Act. This puts Justice Thomas to the far right, beyond even Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia. If Lord Monckton's considered a credible climate voice, it's no wonder the Thomases are so misinformed.

Here you might be asking, but shouldn't a Supreme Court justice's spouse be allowed his or her own career? Unfortunately, Ginni and Clarence have repeatedly proven an inability to separate their personal & professional lives:
  • Justice Thomas refused to recuse himself from Bush v. Gore in 2000 even though Ginni was working at the conservative Heritage Foundation gathering resumes for appointments in a possible Bush administration
  • Common Cause revealed Justice Thomas failed to disclose nearly $700,000 of Ginni's Heritage Foundation income on Supreme Court reporting forms, prompting House Democrats to call for an investigation
  • After quitting Heritage, Ginni formed her own consulting firm, "So you can hire Ginni Thomas to help determine whether a bill will pass constitutional muster if it comes before, you know, her husband," as Slate's Dave Weigel put it
Can you imagine what Glenn Beck would've done to the Thomases if they were liberal? He'd have needed a second chalkboard to diagram all that.

Above and beyond climate change, I was blown away Thomas asking Lord Monckton, "How are today’s politicians transferring real legislative power away from the consent of the governed as laid out by our founders?" If the Founding Fathers heard someone asking a hereditarily-titled British aristocrat for advice on how to run America's government, they'd urge that person to take the next loyalist boat back to George III's kingdom.
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