Category Archives: Sacco and Vanzetti

1000 Words: Recuse Yourself

[No video today, because…, well, I’m lazy. You’re gonna have to read; I hope you can bear it.]

Ginni Thomas

Ginni Thomas, previously known as a run-of-the-mill right wing ideologue, has recently revealed herself to be, in truth, a brainsick conspiracy theory trafficker and a danger to the republic. A lot of people are calling for her husband, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — himself a rather nightmarish I’ve got mine and to hell with everybody else-ist — to recuse himself from any future potential cases regarding ex-President Donald Trump’s risible if it weren’t so petrifying January 6th insurrection. Ginni, you see, has bought into the Big Lie — that the 2020 national election was stolen by perpetrators unnamed using methods unspecified to jigger the vote counts in locales undisclosed.

The Justice’s bride sent a series of frenzied texts to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging the outgoing administration to overturn the vote results by means neither legal, constitutional, or for that matter honorable.

Ginni has a long history of political activism. She was active in her college Republican club and immediately after graduation went to work as a legislative assistant for a newly-elected Republican member of the US House of Representatives. Neither of those activities is — or should be — a deal killer but they reveal where her heart always has been. Later, as an attorney for the US Chamber of Commerce, she fought hard against the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Family and medical leave being perks enjoyed by the residents of more than 120 nations on this goddamned planet. In 2009, she founded a conservative advocacy nonprofit aligned with the Tea Party and in 2010 started Liberty Consulting, dedicated to helping utility companies deny climate change. She also worked hard to defeat equal pay legislation in Congress.

In the wake of the Capitol riot with the “Stop the Steal” canard spreading like malignant cells through the nation’s lymph system, she dreamed of this remedy:

[That the] Biden crime family & ballot co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over the coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.

Phew! And I though I had a propensity for run-on sentences.

Anyway, she’s been a board member of the Council for National Policy, a group that pressured Republican legislators to appoint alternative members to the Electoral College, who, presumably, would put Trump back in office come Inauguration Day, 2021. And on the social medium that she’s so contemptuous of, she has consistently spread baseless “Stop the Steal” charges and even encouraged the Trumpists gathering in Washington, DC on the morning of the 6th.

Clearly, Ginni Thomas has an agenda. Traditionally, spouses of US Supreme Court justices have kept their noses clean when it comes to politics or any other issues that may or may not come before their wives’ and husbands’ Highest Court in the Land docket.

Married People.

The idea being, we want our Supremes not to be swayed by their bedmates’ pillow talk. And, as anybody who’s married knows, keeping one’s better half happy includes listening to them and, if even for appearance’s sake, indulging them.

Still, the Justice and his fellow Republicans recoil in horror at the notion of recusal. They’re trying to position the call as just more political gamesmanship. But it ain’t.

The Thomases swear they don’t talk about their respective businesses when in bed or over the dinner table. Their chitchat in the TV room, though, remains uncommented upon.

I dug up a precedent for Justice Thomas to declare himself out of any cases having to do with the election or the insurrection. Back in 1920, a couple of Italian-American anarchists named Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were accused of murdering two people during a payroll heist at a Massachusetts shoe factory. At the time, both anarchists and Italians were generally viewed as worse scourges than the recent worldwide flu epidemic or cancer or even the possibility of Prohibition. Many, many, many people back then were more than eager to believe that a couple of immigrant radicals were, in reality, bloodthirsty killers. Sacco and Vanzetti were swiftly found guilty and sentenced to death.

Protesters in New York City.

Roars of protest arose among American progressives and many observers around the world. Celebrities voiced support for the two men. Songs were written and impassioned opinion pieces dashed off. Protesters gathered by the thousands in cities around the world. Strong evidence existed both for and against the two men, but the touch point was the mob mentality that swept the nation, the desire to bring the terrible sword of justice down on them. The fact that both men were avowed atheists also helped make them America’s favorite villains at the time. Some commentators even admitted that Sacco and Vanzetti might not have been the actual killers but nevertheless ought to be electrocuted because surely they’d done something rotten in their lives.

One of the people enraged by the whole affair was a woman named Alice Brandeis. She’d donated a large amount of money to the men’s defense fund and publicly called for justice for them. 

Sacco and Vanzetti’s defense attorneys had hoped to gain a stay of execution for them through an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Their hopes rested upon reaching either of the Court’s two progressive jurists, Oliver Wendell Holmes or Louis Brandeis.

The latter being Alice Brandeis’s husband. Justice Brandeis promptly recused himself from considering the defense attorneys’ appeal. To him, it was a simple decision; his wife was a participating party in the contretemps, therefore, he’d been tainted, merely by marital association.

Alice and Louis Brandeis and Family.

Sacco and Vanzetti were executed at midnight, August 22nd/23rd, 1927. Violent demonstrations broke out in several international cities and, subsequently, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts institution drastic court reforms to ensure wrongly convicted defendants could get retrials.

If you can’t see the parallels between the Brandeis and Thomas situations, then you just can’t see. Or don’t want to.

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