True Friends Stab You In The Front*

From Holden:

Appearing before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas beg for more protection from one of Thomas’ pals.

Kennedy made a more impassioned defense of the American judicial system as “the envy of the world.” A key element of the system, he added, was the neutrality and independence of the judiciary. Without mentioning the recent criticism, Kennedy said that disparaging the judiciary’s neutrality while the rest of the world yearns for it “would be a tragedy.”

For his part, Thomas also suggested that criticism came with the job of being a federal judge.”We have lifetime appointments because we are supposed to be criticized.” A longtime sports fan, Thomas added that, in his experience, when a game is over, “the referees get out of there fast. They don’t stand around high-fiving people.”

Much of the hearing was spent discussing the Court’s request for 11 more police officers, including one whose sole job would be “threat assessment.” Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., asked if a sharp increase in threats against justices had triggered the request.

Thomas did not want to get into specifics, but said that with the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, “passions get pretty high.” Pastor agreed, mentioning talk radio as an example.

Thomas balked at the suggestion. “It’s not that either,” he said. Thomas and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh are old friends, and Thomas hosted and presided over Limbaugh’s 1994 wedding.

*Oscar Wilde