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Did Clarence Thomas Flout Ethics Rules?

Publication Date: 
November 14, 2013
MSNBC - All In with Chris Hayes
Ned Resnikoff

Professor Deborah L. Rhode spoke with MSNBC on the potential consequences of a formal reprimand of Justice Clarence Thomas for participating in a fundraiser. 

A top House Democrat is going after one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices and trying to enlist the Chief Justice in her cause.

On Wednesday, New York Rep. Louise Slaughter wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts asking that he formally reprimand his colleague Justice Clarence Thomas for participating in the conservative Federalist Society’s annual fundraiser. Thomas’ appearance at the event, writes Slaughter, is a “clear violation of the ethical standards embodied in the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.”


A formal reprimand for Thomas could be unprecedented, says Stanford Law Professor Deborah L. Rhode, the founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics. But that doesn’t mean it would be unjustified.

“Without knowing the underlying facts, it’s hard for me to comment on that, but I do think the conduct, if true, raises a serious issue that needs to be addressed in some official way,” Rhode told msnbc.