The Truth About Thomas

Despite his reticence, Clarence Thomas is undoubtedly the Supreme Court justice who is best-known to the public. This is partly because of the Anita Hill hearings, but also because his remarkable life story - told in his best-selling memoirs - and also because of his impressive personal qualities, which come across in his speeches, Supreme Court opinions, and interviews. The NY Times pretty much HAS to cover him. But, that doesn't mean they have to cover him well. Reticent Justice Opens Up to a Group of Students

Justice Clarence Thomas has not asked a question from the Supreme Court bench since Feb. 22, 2006. He speaks only to announce his majority opinions, reading summaries in a gruff monotone. Glimpses of Justice Thomas in less formal settings are rare.

But he turned up in a Washington ballroom the other night to respond to questions from the winners of a high school essay contest. His answers and the remarks that preceded them provided a revealing look at his worldview these days.

The Times serves up the scare quote early:
Justice Thomas talked about his own school days, reminiscing fondly about seeing “a flag and a crucifix in each classroom.” He talked about his burdens and his dark moods and about seeking inspiration in speeches and movies. And though the dinner was sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, he admitted to an uneasy relationship with the whole idea of rights.

Watch out, kids! Clarence "Bigger" Thomas came for your women! Now, he's come for your rights! That should be enough to scare the sort of people who read the first 4 paragraphs of a news story. Farther down, we learn what Thomas really meant by "rights"

“Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “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,” he said. “Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”

He gave examples: “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.”

Those are luxuries, Justice Thomas said.

Now, that is not an "uneasy relationship with rights." That is a man who has heard a lot of special pleaders come before him demanding an ever-expanding list of rights above and beyond the rights found in the Bill of Rights. As Thomas notes, many of these so-called new rights are economic ones. But, the ones enshrined in the Bill of Rights are largely political and related to ones freedom and personal autonomy, not about guaranteeing a standard of living. That seems like a distinction worthy of discussion, Instead, the Times would like you to believe that Justice Thomas simply doesn't like "rights" at all. Pretty dishonest, if you ask me, and indicative of the state of intellectual life in contemporary America, where a man reminiscing about classrooms with flags and crucifixes is the radical alternative to the mainstream of an ever-expanding, economically unsustainable list of economic "rights."

Best Retirement Invesments Auto Search