The Plot Against Clarence Thomas

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 3 2011 3:37 PM

The Plot Against Clarence Thomas

If you were wondering whether Republicans had seen those videos of angry liberals in Palm Springs saying what they wanted to do to Clarence Thomas, the answer is "yes." Louie Gohmert is leading a team of Republicans who will ask the Department of Justice to investigate Common Cause because it sponsored that rally outside the Kochs' biennial meeting, where filmmaker Christian Hartsock filmed liberals talking violently and in racial tones about Thomas.

The congressmen, in a draft letter to Holder that has not yet been sent, allege that rallies held by the organization appear to "incite violence and encourage racial slurs," with Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia being the targets... Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and other lawmakers sending the letter to Holder said Common Cause was opening the door for violent rhetoric and any threats against a sitting judge "must be taken seriously" and investigated.   

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Asked whether one woman in the videos who said she wanted to hang Thomas really posed a threat, Gohmert told Fox News he couldn't dismiss it.  "Did you think the guy who shot Gabby posed a threat to her?" Gohmert asked, referring to the gunman who killed six and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., during an outdoor town hall meeting in Tucson in January. 

In the draft letter, Gohmert, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and others say Common Cause "is sponsoring programs and public protests that incite violence and encourage racial slurs against several Justices of the Supreme Court and their families.

I missed the presser that announced this (it was competing with a far-less-dramatic press conference on the piddly topic of fundamental tax reform) but can tell what's going on. Some Democrats, led by Anthony Weiner, have called for Thomas to recuse himself from any health care case that goes before the court, because of his wife's political activism. Now the story has two sides, sort of. Accusing a group of inciting hatred because of some people at a rally it sponsored -- not speakers, people in the crowd -- is an odd way of doing that.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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