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Chump Change For Chumps

Clarence Thomas apparently can't say no to gifts offered to him. He has accepted expensive gifts totaling over $40,000 during the past 6 years including an historical bible valued at $19,000 and an $800 NASCAR jacket. You can read more about it in the latimes.com in an article by LA Times staff writers Richard A. Serrano and David G. Savage.

Of course, this is chump change in comparison to what the Clinton's accepted on their way out of the White House in 2000. Hillary Clinton apparently fell in love with a store in Omaha, NE, owned by Warren Buffet called Borsheim's. Brian Hartman, in an article written for ABC News headlined Clintons' Gift Take Raises Ethics Questions, wrote: "Financial disclosure reports show President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted $190,027 in gifts last year — more than any previous first couple.", and he went on to say: "In the final days of their administration, Clinton supporters even took the extraordinary step of setting up an account akin to a gift registry with Borsheim's, a high-end jewelry and china dealership owned by billionaire financier Warren Buffett." (As far as I can tell, valuations were placed on the items by the recipients. A portrait of Clinton's dog was valued at $300. I must not know the right people because I can't even get a painting framed for $300 much less an original painting and frame together.)

Even Ronald Reagan was not immune from criticism when he left office. Apparently a group of his friends ponied up the money to buy a $2.5 million home for the outgoing President. The criticism was tempered somewhat because the President paid $15,000 rent per month on the property.

Dorian Benkoil, in another article for ABC News, wrote: "In describing the Clinton's acceptance of gifts given to them during their last year in office "It may not be criminal," said Daniel Schorr, a political analyst. "It may not be, even if you study it, entirely unethical. But it is their sense of terminal tackiness.""

OK, we know the Clinton’s are tacky. The point here is that the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land should be inhabited by justices, appointed to their positions for life, whose conduct is above reproach. After the tacky behavior Clarence Thomas was accused of by Anita Hill during his confirmation hearings, you would hope that he would not want to do anything that might discredit him further, but this seems not to be the case. Justice Thomas while not having done anything illegal or entirely unethical is guilty of "terminal tackiness” by accepting the gifts. Therefore, when Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist steps down, I believe that Justice Thomas should not replace him.

Posted by Rick | January 2, 2005 11:52 PM

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