Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Dare This Man Talk Back?

The photo accompanying this article is one of the nicer depictions liberals have done when discussing the Justice they love to hate--Clarence Thomas. They have publicly prayed for his death, called him a race-traitor and Uncle Thomas, and far, far worse. He happens to be my favorite Justice as the only Justice on the Supreme Court who subscribes to the natural law interpretation of the Constitution (the same theory the Founders used when they wrote the Declaration and the Constitution).

So when Justice Thomas takes a few slaps at his hate-filled critics, I find it delicious. Recently, the loudest wailing has been about Justice Thomas's usual silence during oral arguments, and more particularly his vote with the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which decided that prohibitions on corporate contributions to political campaigns were unconstitutional. But quite simply, liberals start frothing at mouth at the mere mention of his name, regardless of the issue being discussed. The latest liberal trope is that because of his non-judicial activities at conservative fundraisers, he should have recused himself in Citizens United.

This past Saturday, Justice Thomas hit back during a speech before a Charlottesville, Virginia audience. He was particularly irked by the criticism from liberals about his attendance at a meeting of conservative donors sponsored by the Koch brothers. He also struck back at their criticism of his wife's activities in the Tea Party movement. Suddenly, liberals expect Supreme Court Justices and their spouses to become hermits and withdraw from all public discourse. Oddly, they never have these criticisms of leftist Justices such as Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

Justice Thomas has been taking the vilification rather quietly since his confirmation hearings, which he termed a Democratic "high tech lynching." First he publicly pointed out that his expenses for the Saturday symposium at which he hit back at his critics were paid by the Federalist Society, as an invited guest speaker. [Full disclosure: I am a member of the Federalist Society] The Federalist Society does indeed receive donations from the billionaire Koch brothers, but the vast majority of contributions come from sole practitioners and small law firms. The symposium was not a fundraising event. Inviting Justice Thomas to a symposium by a group that tends to agree with his legal theories does not a conflict make. He could have made exactly the same speech in the rotunda of the Wisconsin capitol, but he probably would have been beaten to death by union thugs.

The liberal POLITICO demanded that Justice Thomas recuse himself in the upcoming legal battles over Obamacare. Definitely a pre-emptive attack. And not on the Justice, but on his wife. "Ginni" Thomas was recently highlighted in a POLITICO article where it was "revealed" that she had formed a lobbying group that uses her experience and connections to help clients with governmental affairs and efforts and political donation strategies. Well, la dee dah. So what? As long as she isn't lobbying the Justices, she is completely free to do so. But POLITICO got breathless pointing out that the Justice "had to amend thirteen years' worth of financial disclosure reports to indicate the sources of his wife's income after Common Cause raised questions about her activities." Well, the fact is that Justice Thomas willingly filled in the blanks for Common Cause even though he was not required to do so by law. More "gotcha" journalism.

But Common Cause was not satisfied with full, if not legally-required, answers. So they sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (yes, that great defender of law and the Constitution) demanding that the Department of Justice investigate Justice Thomas for conflict of interest (or incompatibility of office, I don't think they know the difference). And earlier in the year, seventy-four Democrats in the House signed a letter asking Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any cases related to Obamacare because of his wife's lobbying.

A great many scholars have come down reluctantly on Justice Thomas's side in the controversy. University of California, Irvine law professor Richard L. Hansen looked into the Koch issue (which also included similar accusations against Justice Antonin Scalia), and concluded that Common Cause's letter was "an unwarranted attack on the ethics of the Justices." Now you would expect to hear that from me. But professor Hansen is an avowed liberal/living Constitutionalist and sharply criticized both Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia in the Citizens United case.

Justice Thomas named no names in attacking his critics, but was clearly angry about the attacks on his wife, and the ridiculous connection they have made from her activities to his decisions. He told the young conservative lawyers at the symposium to "redouble your efforts to learn about our country so that you're in a position to defend it." POLITICO found that very sensible statement to be "ominous." And Justice Thomas then proceeded to have the nerve to introduce his wife to the audience: "My bride is with me--Virginia Thomas. And some of you may know her. But the reason I bring that up is there is a price to pay today for standing in defense of your Constitution. And I think the Constitution is so important it's worth defending." Gee, how radical. How ominous.

He then said ". . . There's going to come a day when you're going to look around and you're going to look at your kids and your grandkids and they're going to ask you a question: What happened to the great country that was here when you grew up, and why isn't it there now, and what did you do?" Amen, Justice Thomas. The completely race-neutral POLITICO wrote out that portion of his speech, mocking his accent by writing "gonna" instead of "going to." Funny how they never do that with the Obamassiah.

His final words at the symposium came from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." He told the audience that he has that sign hanging in his Supreme Court chambers. How subversive!

For those of you who would like a bit more information about Justice Thomas, here is the article I did as part of a series on all the sitting Supreme Court Justices: Justice Clarence Thomas.

12 comments:

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, I dread the day when this man leaves the Court, whether through death or retirement. In the long run, the need to select allies/replacements on the bench for him may be an even more important reason for electing a Republican President in '12 than repealing ObamaCare is.

Annoyingly, Justice Thomas was supposed to speak here at the university, at the opening of our new law school. But then some people on campus protested--I'm not sure why--and the chancellor either indefinitely postponed his appearance or had it canceled outright. It would be more infuriating if I hadn't come to expect this sort of thing.

StanH said...

Watching the confirmation hearings of Judge Bork (imminently qualified) & Thomas confirmed that the liberals were in a take no prisoners mode when it comes too Supreme Court appointees. Ted Kennedy’s and Joe B-B-B-Biden’s seething attacks on these great men only confirmed my disdain of all things liberal.

AndrewPrice said...

Thomas is easily my favorite Justice. I know a lot of conservatives prefer Scalia, but he's too theoretical for me. Thomas beings a real common sense conservatism to the bench.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I did get to hear Justice Scalia speak a few years ago at my undergrad school. I enjoyed listening to him, and I still do; however, I know what you mean about the being too theoretical. I've heard of a lot of his decisions that were criticized for being too vague and leaving the back door open for a leftist interpretation. But I still like him, if only to spite all the idiots who treat him like Thomas' puppet. (Although in light of LawHawk's post, I guess that's better than the other way around.)

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: There are many good strict constructionists out there, but those with the natural law philosophy are fewer and farther between. I pray every day for Justice Thomas's good health.

I'm not surprised about the cancellation. It's happened at more than one university. The truth of the matter is, most of the students protesting don't know why either. They take their marching orders from their leftist professors, and none of them have a clue what the Constitution is all about. He must be the white man's Uncle Tom because he votes to end the programs that keep blacks in perpetual servitude to the government (and the Democrats). He can't be very smart because he doesn't perpetually re-live the halcyon days of Brown v Board of Education as if the world and race relations hadn't moved on. And he doesn't hold hands with the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Calypso Louis Farrakhan and the other race-baiters who think the Constitution still allows for slavery and oppression of blacks.

Any student group that can embrace a Van Jones or a William Ayers is not going to tolerate a Clarence Thomas.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: The Bork hearing was a watershed in legal history, breaking all prior precedent and Senate procedure. For the first time, the Democrats politicized the entire confirmation process. For the entire history of the process prior to Bork, the Senators took their jabs, but if the nominee was qualified and there were no legal skeletons in his closet, that was the end of the debate, and he was confirmed. It took the likes of underwater motorist Ted Kennedy to destroy that very civil and very practical method of confirming Supreme Court nominees.

As I've said before, the President is entitled to his appointments, and absent damning testimony that would disqualify them (legal/constitutional/ethical, not political testimony), they should be confirmed, even if we don't like their politics prior to their ascension to the bench.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Isn't it amazing how the common sense that propelled the Founders is now vilified by the Democrats? Justice Thomas writes clear, concise and pithy decisions, so he must be stupid since he didn't take fifty pages and high-falutin' phrases to do it. He believes it's "natural" for individuals to have freedom to succeed, so he must be against the portion of the Constitution that says "some people and many groups are more equal than others." And he violates his oath to favor the poor, downtrodden and racial/ethnic minorities. No wonder they hate him.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, it's only natural. Everyone of intelligence knows that whites are innately racist against blacks, who therefore must be given special preference by the legal system, and if Thomas can't see that, then he is to be pitied and educated, but not taken seriously until he sees the error of his ways. Thus, he has no business being anywhere near a center of higher learning.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: you know, it's funny that the left for years called Thomas Scalia's puppet. I think highly of Justice Scalia, and he has occasionally taken a position that favored political actions I didn't like, but were perfectly constitutional, bringing the ire of conservatives who didn't understand his reasoning. But that comes from his overly-academic writing. Thomas doesn't suffer from logorrhea, and it's difficult not to understand his exact meaning, like it or not.

Scalia reminds me of a brilliant law instructor who is working to get his students to "think like a lawyer," thus leaving the academic debate open. Thomas reminds me more of a judge who knows that the debate is over, and it's time to come down on one side or the other. And when he does, there's no question which side he came down on.

If the population were made up entirely of lawyers (God forbid), Scalia's method would be just fine. But since it isn't, I prefer Thomas's clear opinions which are designed to let politicians and non-lawyers feel confident that they actually know what the law on a particular issue is. Thomas's decisions leave fewer openings for government to travel down the legal primrose path by using esoteric reasoning to flout the law by appearing to enforce it.

Hypothetical example: Brown v Board of Education has caused almost as many problems as it solved, because instead of making a simple decision that school segregation was wrong, it went into airy-fairy flights of fantasy which concluded that "separate is inherently unequal." That left the door open for all kinds of unrelated and downright silly litigation and bad legislation.

Justice Thomas would simply (and correctly) have said: "Racial segregation in public schools and public accommodations is unconstitutional because the clear words of the Constitution say so. Race, color or prior condition of servitude may no longer be considered as a legitimate ground for determining the rights of citizens of the United States or the several States. Integrate, now." Written that way, there would be no Title IX requiring public schools to provide the same football benefits to girls as to boys, and perhaps the same locker rooms. because, after all, "separate is inherently unequal."

joel_farnham said...

I read his book. What amazed me, is how much we have changed since his boyhood. His grandfather ran a business which couldn't happen today. With all of today's regulations, it wouldn't have been viable.

His grandfather also built a house. I am not talking about getting an architect, getting a general contractor, and getting various permits to build a house. I am talking about actually using a hammer, a saw and his brain to build a house.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I hate to admit it, but I'm old enough to remember when almost all towns had an "ice house." They were on their way out, but they still existed. Justice Thomas's life story is the perfect example of how cream will rise to the top despite adversity and tragedy. And he had the added burden of getting past institutional racism. But succeed he did, and magnificently.

Instead of glorifying the accomplishments of a pampered child who succeeded because of well-placed rich people, self-loathing millionaire socialists, and race-baiters, and rose from wealth to the White House through devious maneuvering and mysterious academic credentials, black people should be trumpeting the man who rose to the Supreme Court through hard work and academic brilliance and nothing more than his own dogged determination to succeed.

Joel Farnham said...

Here is another thought on your last comment LawHawk. You can understand why he votes theway he does. He doesn't have to hide his reasoning in obscure words. He doesn't create new rights out of whole cloth.

I am sure he was just as disgusted with the Westboro Baptist Church as anyone.

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