On Thursday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, co-host Mika Brzezinski, Politico White House editor Sam Stein, and former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) desperately peddled crazed claims about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. They claimed a new ProPublica report on Justice Thomas’s gifts received while in office was evidence he was being bribed in order to rule in favor of certain individuals, despite the fact that report noted the donors did not have cases before the Court.
In order to justify this conspiracy theory, they were forced to invent the existence of some shadow entity working behind the scenes to organize Thomas’s vacations and benefitting from his rulings on the Court.
I don't know how you can't be compromised when you're being given lavish gifts. I mean, I'm going to put that in quotes, because it feels like it's in exchange for something. I mean personal hospitality might be dinner, banana bread, not tuition, jet flights, vacations, yacht cruises costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. How is this man not compromised in his ability to make an objective decision? Are we all joking ourselves here? This is not just a joke.
She then took it a step further and actually accused Thomas of being “compromised” – meaning his decisions on the Court were controlled by the people gifting him with vacations. Her outrage over Thomas, part of a continuing effort by MSNBC to delegitimize the Supreme Court due to its conservative majority, was completely hypocritical.
Left-wing Justice Sonia Sotomayor refused to recuse herself from cases involving her publisher who paid her over $3 million, even though fellow left-wing Justice Stephen Breyer, who also received money from the publisher, recused himself.
But that wasn’t even the biggest hole in Brzezinski’s story. Stein was brought in to comment on the supposed scandal, and he had to admit that the ProPublica piece said none of the three donors had cases before the Supreme Court at the time they sponsored Thomas’s vacations. That then begs the question, how could they have been bribing him to rule in their favor on the Supreme Court when they weren’t even legally involved with the Court?
To fill this massive plot hole, Stein had to make up a conspiracy theory. He asked “You know, someone clearly, or at least I would think, is organizing these types of outings and maybe even matching a donor with the event … who is doing the organization around this? And are they the ones who actually have a stake before the Justice?”
So they want people to believe that since the actual donors weren’t receiving favors from Thomas, there had to have been some secret organizer plotting in the shadows who conveniently no one knows the identity of who get favorable rulings from Thomas. Time for liberals to put on their tin foil thinking caps and try to figure that one out.
To answer Brzezinski’s question, yes, MSNBC was just joking themselves here. Their wild accusations that Thomas was bribed and the accompanying made-up conspiracy theory were jokes. What wasn’t a joke was the fact that the left has been trying relentlessly to harass, threaten, and pack the Supreme Court all because conservatives have power there and liberals want that power.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
MSNBC’s Morning Joe
9:27 AM ET
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: Yeah, and first, everybody needs to understand that this would be a gross violation of the rules for anyone in the public sector with the exception of the United States Supreme Court. Federal judges, elected officials, all of these would- any one of these trips not being disclosed would be a serious problem.
So, they have a crisis here. And the Roberts Court--
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.
MCCASKILL: -- is going to have to make a decision. Either the legacy of the Roberts Court is going to be that they looked the other way from serious ethical transgressions. And this idea that they don't have any accountability to Congress, Congress funds them, Congress has to confirm them. That is in the Constitution. So the idea that somehow once they get the job, they never have to pay attention to Congress again or follow any rules other than ones they make for themselves is just wrong.
And what Clarence Thomas doesn't get here is that he is absolutely permanently damaging the institution he purports to care about, because he has looked past a very important tenet. If you're in public office and particularly if you're a judge, the appearance of impropriety -- he can say all he wants to about, “oh, these are my friends and of course I didn't do anything because of these trips or these tickets to sky boxes at big sporting – I didn’t do”
And who knows? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but the appearance of impropriety is so crystal clear here and that is what a reasonable person sees. So even under the rules they sent over to the Senate, he is violating those rules consistently and constantly during his time on the bench. And if nothing is done about it, it's just going to further erode the legitimacy of this court.
BRZEZINSKI: So, Sam Stein, I mean just to back me up here unless I’m wrong, I don't know how you can't be compromised when you're being given lavish gifts. I mean, I'm going to put that in quotes, because it feels like it's in exchange for something. I mean personal hospitality might be dinner, banana bread, not tuition, jet flights, vacations, yacht cruises costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. How is this man not compromised in his ability to make an objective decision? Are we all joking ourselves here? This is not just a joke.
It's an assault on our system and on the Supreme Court and what it is supposed to be and the credibility in it. I mean, these are valuing millions of dollars ultimately. This is over decades. How is this man not completely compromised?
SAM STEIN: First of all, I can be bought off with a good banana bread, so don't underestimate that. Secondarily, I want to credit ProPublica for incredible—
STEIN: --journalism here. And I would also say you know, just putting my editor's hat on for a second, you know I don't think this is the final iteration of the story. We’ve already gone through different chapters, it started with Harlan Crow and one trip and it’s gone to this.
And what I would think is the next chapter, this is just me speculating here, but you know 38 paid-for vacations by four individual mega donors, to me, that sounds like someone is coordinating a vacation system for Clarence Thomas. You know, you and I plan family vacations, you don't just you know, randomly call some donors, say “hey, I've got the slot open, can you pay for my, you know, trip out west on your jet? You know, someone clearly, or at least I would think, is organizing these types of outings and maybe even matching a donor with the event. And that, to me, is where the issue goes next is who is doing the organization around this? And are they the ones who actually have a stake before the Justice?
Now, ProPublica in their piece today noted that none of these four businessmen, or, sorry, none of the three putting aside Harlan Crow, had overt cases before the Court at the time they were sponsoring these vacations, which on the surface suggests, okay, maybe there's nothing wrong here because they didn't have intersecting business. My question as an editor here would be, okay well who is helping organize these events? And does that entity have business before the Court?