Justice Clarence Thomas: In His Own Words

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According to this New York Times article, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to a group of winners of a high school essay contest.  He talked about his job and more about himself, than I have ever heard before.  What follows is Justice Thomas in his own words.

“I tend to be morose sometimes.”

“I am rounding the last turn for my 18th term on the court, this endeavor, or, for some, an ordeal.”

“That’s one thing about this job, you get a little tired.”

“Sometimes, when I get a little down. [he goes online] “I look up wonderful speeches, like speeches by Douglas MacArthur, to hear him give without a note that speech at West Point — ‘duty, honor, country.’ How can you not hear those words and not feel strongly about what we have?”

“Today there is much focus on our rights, indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights.”

“I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances, shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”

“It seems that many have come to think that each of us is owed prosperity and a certain standard of living. They’re owed air-conditioning, cars, telephones, televisions.”

“This job is easy for people who’ve never done it.  What I have found in this job is they know more about it than I do, especially if they have the title ‘law professor.’ ”

Anyone else think Clarence might be a secret blogger on that place-that- shall-not-be-named?

This is MoJo’s take on Thomas’s words:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/04/clarence-thomas

Iggy Donnelly…

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Justice Clarence Thomas: In His Own Words

  1. Thomas and Scalia have to be a couple of the weirdest, most narrow minded justices we’ve ever had. Maybe somebody else knows of some that were stranger than these two?

  2. It was funny (to me) when Iggy was working on this post last night, I was here working on a post — about this same subject! What is it they say about minds? Are they great or small? 😉

    I found an interesting article The New Yorker did back in November of 2007, titled, “UNFORGIVEN, Why is Clarence Thomas so angry” They used some more of ‘his own words,’ and when he opens his mouth he adds to the evidence he is a nutcase. No wonder he has not asked a question from the Supreme Court bench since Feb. 22, 2006!

    I remember so well the warnings Anita Hill gave us during his confirmation hearings! I don’t think he could be confirmed today. I hope we’ve progressed far enough to avoid putting another one like him on our country’s highest court bench!

    The article at The New Yorker is full of insight as to why this man is angry, it’s just sad our country is subject to his anger! Here’s a snipet from the aticle:

    “On this night, in other words, Thomas, while celebrating the courage to speak unpopular truths, was telling some of the most powerful people in the worlds of government, business, and finance precisely what they wanted to hear—that affirmative action was bad, that black people didn’t want or need their help, that government did more harm than good. Be not afraid. Indeed, throughout his judicial career Thomas has, in the name of anti-élitism, shown a distinct solicitude for certain kinds of élites—say, for employers over employees, for government over individuals, for corporations over regulators, and for executioners over the condemned. Thomas’s tender concern for the problems of the powerful reveals itself, in the end, as a form of self-pity.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2007/11/12/071112crbo_books_toobin

  3. Justice Thomas is unable to shake the irony that is inherent in his being on SCOTUS. He is virulently opposed to affirmative action; but without it, he would likely not have attended the law school he did (Yale, IIRC), and without the Ivy League degree, his chance of ever being appointed to SCOTUS was, politely, nonexistent. Thus, he could have matriculated at a “lesser” law school, from which I’m sure he would have graduated with honors (he does have some intellectual ability, it seems), and now be either practicing or a professor at some school of law, where he could be inculcating his students with his views on many topics. Perhaps he would have been happier had this been his lot in life; somehow, I think that no matter what had occurred, he would not.

  4. jammer5

    One of the things that helped Thomas during the confirmation hearings was the degree of hate associated with the Bork hearings. Without Bork, Thomas would have never been confirmed. The Bork hearings were nasty on even a basic level, and I think that affected congress to the extent they rolled over for Thomas. The fact he had a bobble-head white wife may have played a part. Remember her front row seat during the first few days, and her absence during the latter?

    I’ve watched a lot of SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and that one was straight out of the twilight zone.

  5. iggydonnelly

    I remember Thomas accusing the congressional members questioning him of committing a “high tech lynching”. I remember Anita Hill testifying about Thomas making comments about black pornography actors. It was quite the zoo as Jammer indicates above.

    He did receive affirmative action consideration in getting into the Ivy League law school he graduated from. As a result he has put a sticker on his diploma for 25 cents if I am recalling the amount correctly.

    He is a very unhappy man. It seems to me to be a black man and an extreme social conservative requires a significant degree of self-loathing. I am fairly sure, Thomas passes that test.

  6. lilacluvr

    iggy – I have to wonder about alot of those social conservatives. They all seem to be suffering from the same ailment. I have yet to see one of them have a smile that was not perceived as a ‘smirk’.

    But if I had to keep up all that hate inside me, constantly, I would probably be angry too.

    Hate is a cancer to a person’s life. The more one throws it out, the more comes back to the source.

  7. sekan, one difference between Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia. Justice Thomas is clearly an angry man, but his opinions seem to lack a certain something (I can’t really define it, but I know it when I see it) when he writes one that cause many scholars to ignore them. Justice Scalia seems angry, too; but he’s freaking brilliant, and while I am seldom in agreement with his stated positions, his opinions are the type and kind that could rise to precedential status in the future.

    While I shudder at the thought of making this comaprison, Justice Douglas was an angry man in his earlier years on the Court. There were many of his early opinions, delivered in dissent, that were used decades later as a basis for the Court’s shift in its interpretation of various Constitutional provisions. Scalia’s dissents offer the same potential for such a shift, as they are robust, tightly reasoned, and display an inner consistency.