Thomas came under fire last month after failing to disclose that his wife, Virginia Thomas, received a total of nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent opponent of healthcare reform. Yesterday, Weiner led a group of 74 Congressional Democrats in sending Justice Thomas a letter urging him to recuse himself from all cases pertaining to health care reform laws, citing his wife’s activities as a conflict of interest.
“Your spouse is advertising herself as a lobbyist who has ‘experience and connections’ and appeals to clients who want a particular decision – they want to overturn health care reform,” the letter reads. “We urge you to recuse yourself from this case.”
Weiner slightly amended his professed concerns on the show last night, allowing that Thomas might be able to act with unbiased integrity in healthcare reform proceedings. However, his group still believes that the judge should recuse himself to reinforce the appearance of an unbiased Supreme Court.
“The recusal laws are all about the appearance that the Court is on the level,” Weiner said. “And you know, I can disagree with Clarence Thomas…. But this is the case of what the appearance is.”
Thomas isn’t the only one facing pressure to step down from proceedings: Utah Senator Orrin Hatch recently stated that Judge Elena Kagan, having formerly worked on the issue during her time as Solicitor General, should recuse herself from the case. Weiner disagreed.