IS IT SWEET revenge for Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? Four years ago, liberal nonprofit groups savaged her husband's court nomination. Now, she's a top aide to House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.). One of her jobs: helping win passage of a bill by Representative Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) to restrict lobbying by many of those same nonprofits. The proposal would affect any group receiving federal funds, such as Planned Parenthood or the American Civil Liberties Union (which criticized Clarence Thomas).
Armey's office insists Thomas is simply keeping GOP Hill leaders up to date on the bill and is not lobbying against the lobbyists who lobbied against her husband. The Alliance for Justice, a liberal coalition that strongly opposed Clarence Thomas (but doesn't itself get federal bucks), notes she was an activist for conservative causes even before she met him. In the 1980s, she worked as a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, making a mark as a foe of government regulation.