virginia ginni and clarence thomas.jpgWhen we’ve heard in the past about Virginia Lamp Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, it was usually as his fellow RV road warrior. But Ginni Thomas is now much more high-profile. The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that she has launched Liberty Central Inc., a conservative non-profit inspired by the Tea Party movement.

From the organization’s website:

LibertyCentral.org will serve the big tent of the conservative movement and assist all viable individuals and organizations with education and engagement. The site’s primary focus will be on emerging and new citizen activists – helping them discover a viable path to effective and efficient activism, along with an understanding of why their participation matters in accordance with founding principles and limited Constitutional governance.

Experts tell the L.A. Times that Thomas’ work doesn’t violate ethical rules for judges, but that it could give rise to conflicts of interest for her husband.

People are already pointing out that the 5-4 decision in Citizens United cleared the way for Liberty Central to fill its coffers with corporate cash.

So what exactly does Virginia Thomas plan to do with Liberty Central? From the L.A. Times:

The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.

“I adore all the new citizen patriots who are rising up across this country,” Thomas, who goes by Ginni, said on the panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I have felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great.”

As Adam Liptak wrote this weekend, the Tea Party movement is all about ordinary citizens engaging the Constitution.

Liberty Central has some strong endorsements, including one from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:

Ginni Thomas has been a good friend for years. I followed her work at the Heritage Foundation and more recently at Hillsdale College. Like so many others, I am impressed by the energy and enthusiasm Ginni Thomas brings to the cause of freedom and individual rights. Ginni can help channel the frustration felt by millions across America at the current course of our country. Leaders committed to smaller government, fiscal prudence, and a strong national defense will be returning to Washington D.C., and I am confident that Ginni Thomas will be part of the reason it will happen.

Her bio on the site does not include mention of her Supreme husband, though it does recount her love of RVs and her dabbling with Glenn Beck:

Virginia Ginni Thomas bio.jpg

That would be the Mark Levin who wrote Men In Black: How The Supreme Court is Destroying America.

UPDATE: Interesting perspective from Eugene Volokh. Gavel bang: commenter 12.

Justice’s wife launches ‘tea party’ group [Los Angeles Times]
Tea-ing Up the Constitution [New York Times]
Why Virginia Thomas is creating a conflict of interest for Justice Clarence Thomas [True/Slant]


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