When we last reported on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia in April 2009, she had left her job at the conservative Heritage Foundation to direct Washington operations for Hillsdale College, a Michigan college that was opening a D.C. center for constitutional studies. At the time she told the Washington Times that the new job was "the safest place to be when it comes to conflicts" with her husband's job.
Since then, it appears that that Thomas has re-entered the world of conservative advocacy. She was at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, promoting a new Web site called Liberty Central, described as an online community for those seeking to "preserve freedom and reaffirm the core founding principles."
Ed Morrissey, a conservative commentator who won CPAC's conservative blogger of the year award at the convention, interviewed Thomas in a video on the Hot Air web site during the meeting. Morrissey described her site as providing education in constitutional principles and history for Tea Party members and activists. Thomas said her target is broader than that. "It's new citizen activists who are hungry and thirsty and waking up to what Washington might be doing to threaten our core principles and what made our country great." She added, "It's like maybe our team has woken up and smelled the coffee, and they're getting politically active. But it's time. We need to save our country." Apparently referring to President Barack Obama, she said, "This guy has turned hard left, and we need to stand up and realize what's at stake here."
Thomas told Morrissey that the mainstream media and the left have put out misinformation in a desperate move to discredit the new conservative movement and to salvage liberal policies. "We would have health care and cap and trade being implemented right now if these people hadn't stood up so far," she asserted.
She said it wasn't just Democrats and Republicans who are responsible for the "over-extended government" that threatens the Constitution. "It was the American people who decided that they were okay with dependency, that they were okay with subsidies, that they were okay with handouts and bailouts. We have to somehow shake up the system enough to say, 'I'm willing to take something off my plate, are you willing to take something off the plate?' Because we've got to get the Constitution back to a place where it means something , and guides us. Otherwise, if it means nothing, we're headed for tyranny."
The Web site is just starting up and will be in "fully glory" in April or May, Thomas said, with the goal of being a central hub for education, activism, and civic engagement for conservatives.
What about her job with Hillsdale? Last October, the Hillsdale Collegian newspaper reported that Thomas had decided to lessen her role with the college to pursue entreprenurial projects. Instead of running the college's Washington operations, she is now counselor to the college's president Larry Arnn.
"I was coming up on a one year anniversary with the college and I love the mission and I love the people, but I feel a great threat is happening to our liberty in Washington," Thomas told the college paper. "I got a taste of entrepreneurship and I want to come up with some creative ideas."
Interestingly, after the article appeared in the college paper, Virginia Thomas took issue with its headline: "Virginia Thomas Switches Roles: Wife of Supreme Court justice steps in as counselor to the president." In an online comment, she wrote that she had no problem with the article, but "I do want young journalists ... especially young women ... to consider why the story or headline added my husband to this mix. I certainly am proud of him, but I have never, at any of my jobs in Washington, had as much automatic linkage as I tend to get in this small community. Just want you all to reflect and consider, as people often work separately from their spouses and function independently."