Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Government's Clarence Thomas Hypocrisy

Big Government recently published a post by Media Trackers titled "Liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Would Have to Recuse Herself From Collective Bargaining Cases," in which the author of the piece argued that JoAnne Kloppenburg’s husband's political donations would be a conflict of interest.
JoAnne Kloppenburg’s husband, Jack, a UW-Madison professor, has publicly opposed Gov. Walker’s attempts to restrict collective bargaining for public workers and donated money during the past years to two of the formerly AWOL Democratic state senators – including Sen. Mark Miller, the Minority Leader who gave the opposition speech to Gov. Walker’s budget address.

According to, Kloppenburg said during a debate with incumbent David Prosser this week that “she also wouldn’t need to recuse herself from any cases on the collective bargaining bill because she has remained independent during the protests in Madison.”

But her husband hasn’t remained neutral.

Along with other professors from UW, Jack Kloppenburg signed an open letter this February that said in part, “We are concerned, therefore, about the governor’s proposal to deprive public employees of the right to bargain collectively in Wisconsin.” The letter ran in a campus newspaper and was disseminated as a press release by a group called Defend Wisconsin (its website contains the subhead “against Scott Walker’s attacks”). The press release bears the headline, “260 UW Madison Faculty Support Collective Bargaining Rights For all Workers.”

This revelation, on top of the news of Kloppenburg’s acceptance of a donation from the husband of Judge Maryann Sumi, raises serious questions about whether Kloppenburg, if she were to win a seat on the Supreme Court, would have to recuse herself from all matters relating to Scott Walker’s budget.
The donations referenced in the post were for Democratic Senators Mark Miller in 2007 and 2004 and Fred Risser in 1999 and 1995.  They also indicate Kloppenburg's husband had donated to Russ Feingold and that she had given money to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee five years ago.

There are two things that are interesting with this piece.  One issue is the remarkable similarities between the argument against Kloppenburg made by Big Government and the argument against Clarance Thomas regarding his wife's political actions as a tea party activist.  The second issue is that using the same logic, Kloppenburg's opponent, incumbent David Prosser, would also have to recuse himself from any collective bargaining issues because of his past involvement with tea parties and because of statements he made, in which he stated "his personal ideology more closely mirrors" that of Governor Scott Walker - the man behind the current assault on labor unions.

In Big Government's defense, we can't really expect Big Government to be fair - Andrew Breitbart has appeared at tea party events along side Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginny Thomas, to talk about all things conservative, and Breitbart's propaganda sites have consistently defended the justice and his wife from accusations and claims.


  1. But we're supposed to believe that anyone appointed or elected to a Supreme Court will be fair about every issue, and have no biases, or be honest enough to refuse themselves from conflicts of interest. Right. And the sky is purple. It is interesting that Bachmann's "Lessons in How to Read the Constitution in the Right Way" for new congress members have either ended after questions about a justice attending a closed door "class," or she is using people other than justices to deliver her desired propaganda. Or, perhaps, these legislators are so quick that one lesson was plenty?

  2. They really have no shame. I have been going on this site repeatedly over the past several days. There best comment is "well it is different, but I do not have the time to explain it to you". OK.

  3. In Thomas' situation, I think he should recuse himself from any case he has a personal interest in. I believe the same goes for this candidate but the idiots at Big Government are correct - there are differences. There is a world of difference between donating to a candidate a few years ago and speaking at closed door meetings with legislators, lobbyists, and political activists. The latter is far worse...


Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.