Dems: Thomas Should Sit Out Healthcare Case

Thursday, 10 Feb 2011 01:43 PM

By Dan Weil

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Many experts agree that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the new healthcare law is constitutional. And Democrats want Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself if that’s the case, ABC News reports.

A group of 74 Democratic House members sent a letter Wednesday clarence,thomas,health,care,recuseto Thomas urging him to decline participation because his wife Virginia Thomas founded Liberty Central, a conservative group that issued a memo under name calling Obamacare “unconstitutional.” She quit the group after the memo stirred controversy.

The group ultimately removed the memo from its website, saying it stemmed from a staff error and that it "assiduously avoids" taking stances on whether laws are constitutional.

Federal law mandates that judges recuse themselves from cases where they think a conflict of interest may exist or where their spouse has a financial stake. But each judge ultimately decides for him/herself.

While Democrats are urging Thomas to recuse himself, Republicans say Justice Elena Kagan is the one who should be stepping aside in an Obamacare case.

She worked on healthcare as solicitor general in the Obama administration before moving to the court. "I personally believe she should recuse herself,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on Fox News last week.

“I'm sure she participated in discussions at the White House, participated in discussions in the solicitor general's office. These issues were brought up throughout the process.”

Doug Mataconis of belowthebeltway.com sees the Democrats playing politics in their effort.
“Democrats are raising this issue to undercut the suggestion that Elena Kagan might have to recuse herself from any consideration of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act,” he writes.

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