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Can a man feed his family on $285,000 a year?


Steven Calabresi has a darkly hilarious blog defending the utter incorruptibility of Clarence “No Checks, Please” Thomas. It’s starts with boilerplate lies:

Justice Clarence Thomas has served for 32 years on the U.S. Supreme Court where he has been a consistent originalist who has led the Court to move in his direction on issues as varied as the Confrontation Clause; federalism; executive power; and the reining in of the administrative state.  He has written hundreds, if not thousands, of opinions, and one thing is apparent from all of them that I have read.  They all reflect Justice Thomas’s authorial voice, and they do not reflect the authorial voice of his law clerks.  Justice Thomas’s brilliance, and commitment to originalism shine through in all of his opinions.  He is more consistent, steady, and reliable than any other justice on the Supreme Court.  He almost never follows precedent, but he always follows the original public meaning of the text of the Constitution.  He is the very best justice out of 116 to have ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court better even than my old boss Justice Antonin Scalia.  Justice Thomas not only talks about the importance of being an originalist; he practices originalism in every majority opinion, concurrence, or dissent that he writes.  I do not always agree with Justice Thomas, but I always know where he stands and why.

I could get into any of Thomas’s many departures from any conceivable version of “originalism,” but I think I’ll just point out that he joined Bush v. Gore and drop the mic. (As Thaddeus Stevens once observed, the core purpose of the equal protection clause is that “different countries using different standards to count ballots is unconstitutional if this might result in the Democratic candidate getting more votes in the Florida presidential election of 2000 and in no other case before or after.”)

But then we get to what it truly means to be an elite Republican:

The attacks in the news media on Justice Thomas are sickening and unfair.  To begin with, Justice Thomas’s salary is $285,400 per year.  If Congress had adjusted for inflation the salary that Supreme Court justices made in 1969 at the end of the Warren Court, Justice Thomas would be being paid $500,000 a year, and he would not need to rely as much as he has on gifts from wealthy friends.

“Need.” Amazing, but it comes naturally when you belong to a political movement whose core ideological commitment is that if democracy might get in the way of upper-class tax cuts then democracy has to go. And he just keeps saying the quiet parts loud:

There are good reasons why judicial and executive and legislative branch salaries ought to be much higher than they now are.  We do not want to live in a world where only the wealthy can afford to hold high public office. 

“Afford.” Truly amazing content. The Republicans are a true working-class party now!

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