A group of congressional Democrats are calling for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any case that considers the constitutionality of healthcare reform.
In a Feb. 9 letter, 74 House Democrats wrote to Thomas, citing an alleged conflict of interest caused by the work of the justice’s wife to overturn the healthcare overhaul.
The Democrats said the conflict stems from the Thomas household’s financial gain through Virginia "Ginni" Thomas’s work as a lobbyist who has contracts for groups that oppose the law.
“As members of Congress, we were surprised by recent revelations of your financial ties to leading organizations dedicated to lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” they wrote.
“We write today to respectfully ask that you maintain the integrity of this court and recuse yourself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of this act."
Pols on the other side of the aisle have also sought to undercut the judicial credibility of Justice Elena Kagan.
Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has called for Kagan to recuse herself in similar cases citing her ties to the Obama administration. Kagan was the President’s solicitor general to taking her spot on the high court.
The day before the Democrats sent the recusal request to Justice Thomas, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati granted an accelerated review to a court challenge to the healthcare law by the Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center. The conservative Christian group is appealing the first court victory of the Obama administration over the health law’s constitutionality.
The new timetable catches the case up to two appeals in Virginia.
It was the latest development this week of a multi-pronged GOP attack on the healthcare overhaul. On Feb. 7, a group of Republican governors who are opposed to the healthcare reform law asked Dept. of Health & Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to give them more control over the health insurance exchanges the law requires.