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Fear of a Left Planet
October 4, 2007 8:12 AM   Subscribe

It's the first Monday in October and time for Supreme Court Justices to compare liberals, unfavorably, to the Ku Klux Klan. In his new memoir, released on the first day of the Supreme Court's 2007 term, Justice Clarence Thomas writes that he grew up fearing the KKK, but now knows he had "been afraid of the wrong white people all along. My worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony. " No small man, he also comments on Anita Hill's bad breath. Slate's spectacular legal columnist, Dahlia Lithwick, notes that "in the few hundred pages of his new book, Thomas has managed to undo years of effort by his colleagues to depoliticize the judicial branch." As usual, only Jon Stewart can make us laugh through the tears.
posted by The Bellman (110 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by dead_ at 8:18 AM on October 4, 2007


Man, that guy is such a Dick.
posted by delmoi at 8:20 AM on October 4, 2007


He has drunk deeply from the lake of Kool-Aid.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:22 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yuck.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:25 AM on October 4, 2007


A correlate to your post: The Smear This Time, by Anita Hill.
posted by cog_nate at 8:27 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:28 AM on October 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


Since Thomas now openly admits that he hates all leftys and Democrats, and has since at least 1991, why didn't he recuse himself from Bush v Gore in 2000? Is there a more obvious conflict of interest?

This should be an impeachable offense. Supreme Court justices are not immune from impeachment, lifetime appointments or not.

If that doesn't work, he should be posioned.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:28 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Besides the 1964 Civil Rights Act, school integration, separation of church and state, and affirmative action, what have the liberals ever done for us? Nothing!
posted by anthill at 8:33 AM on October 4, 2007 [9 favorites]


If lefties were like the KKK, wouldn't they have sided WITH Thomas (who is black) AGAINST Anita Hill (who is both black AND a woman)?
posted by DU at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2007


Get that M-Fer some more iced tea.
posted by Poolio at 8:40 AM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Since Thomas now openly admits that he hates all leftys and Democrats, and has since at least 1991, why didn't he recuse himself from Bush v Gore in 2000? Is there a more obvious conflict of interest?

No. He must have a personal money interest for such a conflict to arise.

He was stone busted by Anita Hill. It is a shame that he's on that bench.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2007


4/9 Pubic hairs on the bench.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:43 AM on October 4, 2007


He was stone busted by Anita Hill. It is a shame that he's on that bench.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on October 4, 2007


I take it he was never lynched growing up. Perhaps that would've changed his feelings on who's worse.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 8:47 AM on October 4, 2007 [10 favorites]


I dunno, call me stupid, but if I were a black man I would much prefer a high-tech virtual lynching (known in other circles as a legal and political disagreement) to an actual lynching. Hyperbole much?

This is self-hatred in it's highest form.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:47 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I believed Anita Hill then, I believe her now.

Between the Supreme Court, the White House and Congress nutcases like Thomas run everything.
posted by tommasz at 8:50 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man, that guy is such a Dick.

No, Cheney is a Dick. Clarence is an Uncle Thomas.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:58 AM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]



Clarence Thomas is SPOT-ON that people like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and the late Paul Simon are FAR WORSE than the KKK. I mean, COME ON, people. Use your THINKING-BRAINS.

Also check out this weird interview with the man from Reason, back in 1987.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:02 AM on October 4, 2007


Yeah, because if there's one group of scary, dangerous motherfuckers in this country, it's the Congressional Democrats. Especially back in 1991. I'd rather spit on a Hell's Angel than screw with Paul Tsongas.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Clarence Thomas was the second youngest justice since 1853 and, adjusting for life expectancy, the youngest ever. John Roberts when he started his term was the youngest Chief Justice in over 200 years, beating second place by five years.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:17 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet Paul Tsongas would have recognized irony when he saw it.
posted by absalom at 9:18 AM on October 4, 2007


On the plus side, he's starting to look kinda old. Maybe he won't be a part of SCOTUS for all that much longer. On the other hand, these Supreme Court judges tend to hang onto their jobs until Death himself starts whispering in their ears.
posted by jamstigator at 9:19 AM on October 4, 2007


"Thomas has managed to undo years of effort by his colleagues to depoliticize the judicial branch."

I have not noticed any such effort.
posted by The World Famous at 9:20 AM on October 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


seems to me that after 16 years as one of the country's top justices, he's be so fucking over this

if he was innocent, that is

the man doth protest too much
posted by pyramid termite at 9:32 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


You, sir, are no Clarence Darrow.
posted by Curry at 9:34 AM on October 4, 2007


Right-wing scumfuck hates the left far more than any real instigator of social problems, thinks he should be allowed to treat women as objects.

Now sports.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are so many vectors of conflicting irony to this guy it's impossible to know where to start.

The fact is Thomas was cynically chosen by Reagan BECAUSE of skin color.

The Right had finally realized they could beat the liberals at their own affirmative action game. "Hey... he's black! Isn't that what you liberals wanted!" They said.

And sadly it stopped a sizable portion of the liberal establishment away from attacking the REAL problem (and it wasn't Anita Hill) with Thomas... HE WAS NEVER QUALIFIED. And clearly the man was an imbecile.

So what did we spend moths talking about? Pubic hair on coke can.

For the Republicans it was a win-win.. They got to use a form of misguided Affirmative Action philosophy to get some retarded stooge on the court and then they get to see the liberal wing tear each other apart over he-said she said "sexual harassment." With feminists on one side and black people on the other.

The fact is the guy should have never been up there at all. As his cretinous memoirs demonstrate.
posted by tkchrist at 9:45 AM on October 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


Man, he is going to fucking love whoever Hillary appoints as Souter's replacement. I bet they'll car pool and everything.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:45 AM on October 4, 2007


Poor, maligned, battered, misunderstood Clarence Thomas, probably one of the most rage-filled (and thinly-disguised rage at that) political figures -- especially considering the power that he wields -- in modern US history. Here's what he said about Anita Hill to a friend a few years ago:

"That's over. You ain't going to hear nothing about her. That's it."

Yet, here he is bringing her up again -- he just can't seem to resist it.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: so many vectors of conflicting irony it's impossible to know where to start.
posted by umop-apisdn at 9:49 AM on October 4, 2007


What balls, to try and paint himself as the downtrodden negro that Big Daddy White Boss couldn't tolerate. Really, what unmitigated gall. Clarence Thomas is whiter than Colin Powell.

Do people with martyr complexes really belong on the Supreme Court bench?
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:51 AM on October 4, 2007


Clarence Thomas is whiter than Colin Powell.

That sentence really doesn't make sense at all.
posted by The World Famous at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2007


Thomas argues that the Hill hearings were nothing more than the last in a long series of efforts to destroy him and torpedo his nomination to the court

You know, because there are more important things going on in the world, I had actually totally forgotten about the whole Anita Hill thing. It was completely gone from my memory. But you know what? Because he is (almost two decades later) making a big stink about it, it's now up front and fresh in my mind.

I can't speak to what efforts were being expended against him back then, but I can assure everyone that if he is being torpedoed today by this, it because he, himself is bringing this up.

Which is to say; Christ, what an asshole.
posted by quin at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The man isn't stupid. However, a sufficiently-twisted mind can be indistinguishable from stupid.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:10 AM on October 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: a high-tech virtual lynching.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:11 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And how. And the title of this post is awesome.
posted by cavalier at 10:12 AM on October 4, 2007


I dunno, call me stupid, but if I were a black man I would much prefer a high-tech virtual lynching (known in other circles as a legal and political disagreement) to an actual lynching. Hyperbole much?

I think I'll take the word of a black man that actually grew up in the deep south over yours.


Clarence Thomas is whiter than Colin Powell.


What a racist thing to say. You also managed to prove Thomas' point about white liberals expecting all blacks to think a certain way.

The fact is Thomas was cynically chosen by Reagan BECAUSE of skin color.

Bush was the one that nominated Thomas for the Supreme Court.

HE WAS NEVER QUALIFIED. And clearly the man was an imbecile.

Based on his carreer, he was no less qualified as, say, Earl Warren when he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Reading Thomas' opinions, he's clearly not an imbecile.
posted by gyc at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder if some people on the hard right might not perceive Thomas to be the most vulnerable conservative on the court, looking forward to an almost inevitable Democratic administration; Thomas clearly perjured himself in his confirmation hearings (a fact even most conservative commentators can no longer bring themselves to try to deny), and could be impeached because of it.

As much of a puppet as he has been, I don't believe he would resign if asked to at this point in order to give Bush a chance to solidify his seat for conservatives, however. Therefore he would have to be induced by flattery and deliberately bad advice to embarrass himself sufficiently while Bush is in still in office that he would face pressure to resign.

Hence, this book!
posted by jamjam at 10:24 AM on October 4, 2007


You heard it here first, folks! Clarence Thomas == Earl Warren
posted by DU at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2007


You heard it here first, folks! Clarence Thomas == Earl Warren

Where?
posted by The World Famous at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2007


"Reading Thomas' opinions, he's clearly not an imbecile."

You mean what rare opinions he does issue, likely penned by clerks. The man's a moron.
posted by klangklangston at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2007


Bellman, it's not Monday.
posted by item at 10:32 AM on October 4, 2007


Reading Thomas' opinions, he's clearly not an imbecile.

While I stand corrected on saying Reagan nominated Thomas (though one can argue Thomas was on the "short list" during the Reagan administration and then Bush, of course, being Reagan's VP and successor it's really not that significant of a detail to get wrong) I must strongly disagree with:

"Reading Thomas' opinions, he's clearly not an imbecile"

While I have not read all of Thomas's opinions, and I am not SCOTUS fanatic or lawyer, what I have read in extracted form is poorly thought out, specious, and frankly slightly retarded. Thank you very much.
posted by tkchrist at 10:33 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


...if I were a black man I would much prefer a high-tech virtual lynching (known in other circles as a legal and political disagreement) to an actual lynching...

I think I'll take the word of a black man that actually grew up in the deep south over yours.


gyc, you're saying that this is a matter of opinion? Being challenged by a Senate committee could, conceivably, be worse than getting hanged from a tree?

Huh. I guess I really have led a sheltered life.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:42 AM on October 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


cavalier: Thanks! I liked that title and wondered if anyone noticed it.

gyc: I'm sorry, but that's just not so. The few opinions Thomas has written have revealed him to be an exceptionally poor jurist. He is ill informed, inconsistent, obviously biased, intellectually dishonest and, perhaps worst of all, lazy. When the Court makes the mistake of letting him write a majority opinion on something important it's often a genuine disaster for those of us who practice in the field (previously). You can complain all you want about Scalia, for example, who has also has recent bouts of batshitinsane public lashing-out against the Left, but with the possible exception of bias, you can't begin to level any of those other charges against him. He's an intelligent, informed, consistent, hardworking jurist -- totally wrong about almost everything in my opinion, but at least more or less intellectually honest. He can even be funny as long as you aren't the target. Thomas has none of those qualities.

For better or for worse it doesn't much matter, because Thomas' usual MO (other than in porn cases) is simply to sign on to whatever Scalia writes.
posted by The Bellman at 10:42 AM on October 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


tkchrist, c'mon, serve it up! I'm not about to go reading through SCOTUS opinions, but I want to see some out-of-context quotes here.
posted by anthill at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


You heard it here first, folks! Clarence Thomas == Earl Warren

That's not what I said at all, but at least Clarence Thomas had experience on the bench before being nominated to the Supreme Court.

gyc, you're saying that this is a matter of opinion? Being challenged by a Senate committee could, conceivably, be worse than getting hanged from a tree?

I haven't read Thomas' book yet, but it's not inconceivable for him to prefer a physical beating over the smearing of his reputation and intellect.
posted by gyc at 10:45 AM on October 4, 2007


gyc: I'm sorry, but that's just not so. The few opinions Thomas has written have revealed him to be an exceptionally poor jurist. He is ill informed, inconsistent, obviously biased, intellectually dishonest and, perhaps worst of all, lazy.

Having read plenty of Thomas' opinions, I strongly disagree.


When the Court makes the mistake of letting him write a majority opinion on something important it's often a genuine disaster for those of us who practice in the field (previously).

As opposed to the lucid opinions with clear holdings written by, say, Kennedy?


You can complain all you want about Scalia, for example, who has also has recent bouts of batshitinsane public lashing-out against the Left, but with the possible exception of bias, you can't begin to level any of those other charges against him. He's an intelligent, informed, consistent, hardworking jurist -- totally wrong about almost everything in my opinion, but at least more or less intellectually honest. He can even be funny as long as you aren't the target. Thomas has none of those qualities.


I find Scalia less consistent than Thomas in applying his theory of originalism.


For better or for worse it doesn't much matter, because Thomas' usual MO (other than in porn cases) is simply to sign on to whatever Scalia writes.


That is clearly a false accusation. Thomas agrees with Scalia no more than some other Justices agree with each other.
posted by gyc at 10:49 AM on October 4, 2007


Just to add to the horror, I noticed a topic called Justice Clarence Thomas: Victim, Liar, Crybaby over at Group News Blog (people picking up from the late Steve Gilliard's The News Blog), and there's a quote there that scares me, from Jeff Toobin talking in an interview about his book on the Supreme Court, with Antonin Scalia being asked...
...someone asked him, `What's the difference between your judicial philosophy and Justice Thomas?' I thought a very good question. And Scalia talked for a while and he said, `Look, I'm a conservative. I'm a texturalist. I'm an originalist. But I'm not a nut.'
The implication there being that ANTONIN FREAKING SCALIA, a man so right-wing that he has to go around the block rather than turn left, thinks that Clarence Thomas is, in fact, a 'nut'.

Ponder this for a moment, what it means from a liberal perspective.

Then shudder.
posted by mephron at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]



"Reading Thomas' opinions, he's clearly not an imbecile."

You must mean the one where he argued that taking a prison inmate out of his cell, putting him in in handcuffs and shackles, and dragging him to a hallway where they beat him so badly that he suffered a cracked dental plate was not "cruel and unusual punishment." (Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992) Um, yeah.

In his screed-cum-memoir, he portrays Hill as stupid and incompetent, trotting out the same tired cliche that defendants in sexual harassment cases always make about female plaintiffs (see also Isiah Wilson).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:59 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


... it's not inconceivable for him to prefer a physical beating over the smearing of his reputation and intellect.

Beating? You think a lynching is a beating?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:00 AM on October 4, 2007


tkchrist, c'mon, serve it up! I'm not about to go reading through SCOTUS opinions, but I want to see some out-of-context quotes here.

Okay.

From 2002 Hungadunga v. Hungadunga

Thomas:
It's clear to me that Defendant Hungadunga's claim to the ownership of the Donkey is predicated on Defendant Hungadunga's spurning of Plaintiff Hungadunga's sexual advances. Now. if Plaintiff H and Defendant H would have just done the nasty like Plaintiff H wanted to in the first place, and plainly that is right thing to do, they would not be here wasting this courts precious time...

Kennedy:
A-hem. Huh? What donkey? Wha...

Thomas:
Are you deaf! Natural LAW! I got natural law on my side! Shit. Sounds like somebody needs to see some Long Dong Silver! WHERE IS THE M-F ICE TEA!!! [redacted]
posted by tkchrist at 11:04 AM on October 4, 2007


put up, or shut up -- both sides. As foxy_hedgehog did, let's seem some actual text where he's being an idiot, or where he's being logically consistent, or whatever.
posted by garlic at 11:05 AM on October 4, 2007


From the August 2007 Harper's Index:

Number of words spoken by Clarence Thomas during Supreme Court oral arguments since February 2006: 132

Number spoken by Samuel Alito, the Justice who spoke the second-fewest words: 14, 404
posted by Flashman at 11:07 AM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


My mom used to go to church with some people who knew Anita Hill from OU. They thought very highly of her. Naturally they didn't think very highly of Thomas.
posted by lodurr at 11:10 AM on October 4, 2007


put up, or shut up -- both sides. As foxy_hedgehog did, let's seem some actual text where he's being an idiot, or where he's being logically consistent, or whatever.

Or. You could look it up yourself.
posted by tkchrist at 11:11 AM on October 4, 2007


Good job, nice post.
posted by gsb at 11:21 AM on October 4, 2007


garlic: In the post I linked to I wrote 1,500 words on why Thomas' incredibly lazy and (precedentially/legally) dishonsest opinion in MercExchange had completely screwed up a perfectly functional system of patent enforcement because of his willful failure to understand the practical issues attendant to the (laudable) goal of addressing "patent trolls". As it happens this is an area in which I practice and write, so I was particularly angry about it. Thomas' "majority" opinion was so bad, in fact, that he couldn't get a single Justice to concur in it in its entirety (though all concurred in the result, so it would appear unanimous). I won't repeat the entire screed here as I don't think it serves the thread, but it's a good example of what I'm talking about. The Court takes one important patent case every twenty years or so (with the last two terms being exceptional in that there were two). It's okay to get off your ass and write an opinion that's more than two pages long and has some guidance for the lower courts in it. As it is, my practice is bearing out what I said in the post: we have no idea what to do in the trenches anymore.
posted by The Bellman at 11:22 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Charlie: They said you was hung.
Bart: And they was right.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:29 AM on October 4, 2007


Lest we forget, the Real Anita Hill by David Brock was commissioned to help out Clarence Thomas, and now even the guy who wrote it denounces it as a pack of lies.
posted by jonp72 at 11:30 AM on October 4, 2007


How about look up "Newdow vs. U.S. Congress."

Where Thomas declares that the First Amendment's ban on the establishment of religion should not apply to state governments.

Yes. you heard right. State governments can if they want implement state religion.

Yay.

Oregon and Texas can force you to go to Church and attend adult breast feeding sessions if they want.

Originalism my ass. This dude is full of inconsistent bullshit like that.
posted by tkchrist at 11:47 AM on October 4, 2007


taking a prison inmate out of his cell, putting him in in handcuffs and shackles, and dragging him to a hallway where they beat him so badly that he suffered a cracked dental plate

Hey, it could have been worse. He could have been questioned by a Senate committee!
posted by PlusDistance at 11:51 AM on October 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


tkchrist writes "Yes. you heard right. State governments can if they want implement state religion."

Well, while I don't agree with that argument on moral grounds, some of the original states did used to have official religions.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2007


More skeletons in Thomas's closet.
posted by COBRA! at 12:04 PM on October 4, 2007


krinklyfig: Yeah, but it's been a while. I'm sure even Justice Thomas is aware of the Fourteenth Amendment. (See Incorporation Doctrine)
posted by The Bellman at 12:07 PM on October 4, 2007


The Bellman writes "krinklyfig: Yeah, but it's been a while. I'm sure even Justice Thomas is aware of the Fourteenth Amendment. (See Incorporation Doctrine)"

Oh, I know. Some originalists don't like the 14th, but I would imagine he'd have to abide by it.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:19 PM on October 4, 2007


Y’know, I own a nice house in a lily white suburb. I grill out, like country music, 4 wheeling, hunting and I put mayo on hamburgers.
And I’M blacker than this motherfucker.

“You also managed to prove Thomas' point about white liberals expecting all blacks to think a certain way.”

I think it was meant in a Chuck D sorta way.

“Got tha nerve as hell
To yell brother man
He aint black man
Known to murder his own
Traitor on the phone
Ridin the train
Self-hater trained
To sell pain
The masters toy
Little boy
Hard to avoid he look wit it but he null n void
cause he ridin the train you think he down for the cause
cause his face looks just like yours...
You musnt just put your
Trust in every brother yo
Some dont give a damn
cause they the other man
Worse than a bomb
Posin as uncle toms
Disgracin the race
Blowin up
The whole crew
‘cos some of them lookin
Just like you”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:24 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find Scalia less consistent than Thomas in applying his theory of originalism.


Ahem, I think we found the problem.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2007


Well, while I don't agree with that argument on moral grounds, some of the original states did used to have official religions.

And here in Washington it was The Order of Our Lady of Passive Aggressive Drivers. But they got in a sectarian war with The Church of Talking About Yoga All the Goddamned Time and lost power.
posted by tkchrist at 12:29 PM on October 4, 2007


tkchrist, I appreciate your point about Newdow v. US Congress. But stuff lie this

Thomas:
Are you deaf! Natural LAW! I got natural law on my side! Shit. Sounds like somebody needs to see some Long Dong Silver! WHERE IS THE M-F ICE TEA!!! [redacted]
posted by tkchrist at 11:04 AM on October 4 [+] [!]


is just racial caricature.


Some might say racist caricature.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:21 PM on October 4, 2007


I mean, "stuff like this."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:22 PM on October 4, 2007


The term you're looking for is racialist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2007


There are so many vectors of conflicting irony to this guy it's impossible to know where to start.

I'm surprised no one has said it yet:

That person is sitting on Thurgood Marshall's seat.

how's that for irony.
posted by matteo at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2007


(this is a bit like the Celtics replacing Larry Bird with me, by the way)
posted by matteo at 2:07 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth wrote "No. He must have a personal money interest for such a conflict to arise." re: Thomas and Bush v Gore.

He did have a personal money interest there.

Virginia Lamp Thomas, the only woman in America with enough self lothing to be married to Justice Thomas, was working for a company that stood to profit enormously if Bush became president. And, in fact, following the 2000 appointment of Bush, her company did make a large profit, and quite a bit of that profit eventually filtered back to the Thomases.

In short, he was a critical vote in a judicial decision that, ultimately, netted him a not inconsiderable amount of money. I'd argue that alone is sufficient reason to impeach him.
posted by sotonohito at 2:30 PM on October 4, 2007


He did have a personal money interest there.

Virginia Lamp Thomas, the only woman in America with enough self lothing to be married to Justice Thomas, was working for a company that stood to profit enormously if Bush became president. And, in fact, following the 2000 appointment of Bush, her company did make a large profit, and quite a bit of that profit eventually filtered back to the Thomases.

In short, he was a critical vote in a judicial decision that, ultimately, netted him a not inconsiderable amount of money. I'd argue that alone is sufficient reason to impeach him.


IIRC, Thomas' wife worked for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and solicited resumes for the Presidential transition team. I fail to see how the Heritage Foundation, which relies on private donors, would really be effected financially regardless of the outcome in 2000, let alone "profit enormously" from a Bush presidency.
posted by gyc at 3:31 PM on October 4, 2007


IIRC, Thomas' wife worked for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and solicited resumes for the Presidential transition team. I fail to see how the Heritage Foundation, which relies on private donors, would really be effected financially regardless of the outcome in 2000, let alone "profit enormously" from a Bush presidency.

Oh blow it out your ass. Now you're not even fucking trying.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:43 PM on October 4, 2007


Some might say racist caricature.

Or. Some might call it satire. If they were paying attention, that is.
posted by tkchrist at 3:50 PM on October 4, 2007


Nice. In case anyone's still reading this thread, the aforementioned incredible Dahlia Lithwick has more to say about the book this afternoon on Slate. Man she's awesome, despite her big crush on Scalia.
posted by The Bellman at 3:51 PM on October 4, 2007


Oh blow it out your ass. Now you're not even fucking trying.

And I suppose you're trying so hard with your ad hominem attack instead of trying to rebut my argument with evidence and reasoning.
posted by gyc at 3:53 PM on October 4, 2007


He did have a personal money interest there.

Virginia Lamp Thomas, the only woman in America with enough self lothing to be married to Justice Thomas, was working for a company that stood to profit enormously if Bush became president.


On the other hand, the U.S. economy's current state could lead someone using your logic to the conclusion that everyone in America had a personal money interest in Gore winning, which would mean recusal for every justice.
posted by The World Famous at 3:56 PM on October 4, 2007


On the other hand, the U.S. economy's current state could lead someone using your logic to the conclusion that everyone in America had a personal money interest in Gore winning, which would mean recusal for every justice.


This is the kind of shit I always argue against in the labor union threads - people who, for whatever reason, seem to have a compunction to defend the powerful even in the face of the stupid (and possibly illegal) shit they do.

If Americans weren't such fucking sheeple they might harken back to their history classes where, if they weren't sleeping, they were taught that the American system is based on the premise that you don't fucking trust the people in power.

Whether or not they are breaking the rules, the appearance of breaking the rules is a serious matter that needs addressing. We used to understand that impropriety was a bad thing in public officials.

Stupid is as stupid does.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:09 PM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or we get the government we deserve.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:17 PM on October 4, 2007


Thomas needs to be removed--his bias and enduring hatreds affect every case that goes before the court. And he has never once asked a single question of anyone who has come before the court.

He's the one who continues to make this about race even years and years later--Those of us who opposed him did so specifically and exclusively because of his opinions and stands on social issues--not his race. He was chosen by daddy Bush because of his race. He needs tons of therapy and a new line of work.

And Anita Hill's accusations have been corroborated by multiple women since her testimony as well.
posted by amberglow at 4:34 PM on October 4, 2007


His book is called "My grandfather's son"....


....so, "Daddy"?
posted by Lucie at 4:39 PM on October 4, 2007


And he has never once asked a single question of anyone who has come before the court.

Wikipedia seems to think otherwise, not that they're infallible.
posted by gyc at 5:00 PM on October 4, 2007


And he has never once asked a single question of anyone who has come before the court.

And even if this were true, why would it matter? Oral argument rarely, if ever, changes anyone's mind. The opinions are already drafted, and if an argument isn't in a party's brief, raising it for the first time at oral argument won't do.
posted by The World Famous at 5:15 PM on October 4, 2007


"a personal money interest"?

Thomas was supposed to recuse himself from Bush v. Gore because he was appointed to his cushy job by the father of one of the parties before him.

It was more than the appearance of a conflict of interest: it was a blatant conflict of interest: Thomas entirely owed his livelihood to the family involved in the case before him.

If it had been merely a dispute about a property line at the town zoning comminssion - and if the father of one of the parties had appointed the zoning commissioner to his job - then every single person in America would have seen and acknowledged that.

But this government is so astonishingly corrupt that nobody will even mention it: "I hearby rule in favor of the son of the man who gave me my job."

And all of our troubles have followed from that.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:42 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thomas was supposed to recuse himself from Bush v. Gore because he was appointed to his cushy job by the father of one of the parties before him.

What about Souter? Should he also have recused himself? Should Ginsburg and Breyer have recused themselves because Gore was Vice President in the Clinton administration that nominated them to the Supreme Court?
posted by gyc at 5:53 PM on October 4, 2007


gyc, they should have refused to take the case--besides multiple blatant conflicts, it was a state matter.
posted by amberglow at 6:11 PM on October 4, 2007


Should Ginsburg have recused herself in Clinton v. Jones?
posted by The World Famous at 6:14 PM on October 4, 2007


MetaFilter: Oh blow it out your ass. Now you're not even fucking trying.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:37 PM on October 4, 2007


sure--there's no sin in recusing yourself.
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on October 4, 2007


gyc, "Oh blow it out your ass. Now you're not even fucking trying" is certainly an insult, but it's not technically an ad hominem.

If he had said "you are an idiot" -- that would be an ad hominem.

(The sophomore debate society's strong presence on MeFi of late requires that I point out that I have not stated that you are an idiot, nor have I intended to imply it.)
posted by lodurr at 6:23 AM on October 5, 2007


And even if this were true, why would it matter? Oral argument rarely, if ever, changes anyone's mind.

Hmm. You know this....how?

Can you cite studies? Even anecdotal accounts?

I do understand that clerks draft the bulk of an opinion. But you don't have to read very many by people like Marshall and Scalia and White to very clearly understand that the decisions are in no sense made by clerks. I mean, seriously: Just skim a few Scalia or Marshall opinions, and you can fairly hear the men talking to you. ("I am getting old and I will not sit on this court forever" -- from a Marshall opinion back in the early 90s.)

Maybe they've made up their minds before hand. But I would certainly hope not. People who follow Establishment Clause issues will remember Rehnquist's visible distress at the way oral arguments were treated by spectators in Newdow (in particular, when cheers broke out after Newdow retorted that an atheist couldn't get elected to public office in the US -- Rehnquist threatened to clear the room). He was apparently quite affected by it when time came to debate the issue.
posted by lodurr at 6:34 AM on October 5, 2007


sure--there's no sin in recusing yourself.

I asked if she should have, not if it would have been a sin if she had.
posted by The World Famous at 9:53 AM on October 5, 2007


... and unless I'm misreading, I think he answered "sure."
posted by lodurr at 10:34 AM on October 5, 2007


So are we outraged at her, as well? I'm just trying to make sure that I'm outraged enough at unethical Supreme Court Justices who fail to properly recuse themselves when they are ethically bound to do so. See, previously, I didn't think Ginsburg was unethical or improper. But now that I know that a justice is unethical and should be impeached if she fails to recuse herself when the president who nominated her is a party to a case, I'll definitely rethink the issue, and possibly increase the number of justices I don't like by at least one.
posted by The World Famous at 10:57 AM on October 5, 2007


I certainly can't speak for amberglow. But "outrage" is an interesting term. To demand equal "outrage" for each case where someone might have recused, but didn't, is really just silly. It's counting all crimes equal, and there's no system of law or ethics that's widely regarded as just which does that.
posted by lodurr at 11:19 AM on October 5, 2007


To demand equal "outrage" for each case where someone might have recused, but didn't, is really just silly. It's counting all crimes equal, and there's no system of law or ethics that's widely regarded as just which does that.

The question is not whether she or Thomas "might have recused," but whether, in light of the claim above that Thomas should be impeached for his failure to recuse, Ginsburg should also have recused.

Do you think that Thomas' failure to recuse himself in a case where one of the parties was the son of the President who nominated him is worse than, equal to, or not as bad as Ginsburg's failure to recuse herself in a case where the President himself who nominated her was a party?

Does your opinion on the import of the outcome of the case affect your opinion as to whether recusal was required in each case?

I used the term "outrage" because that's what I see in this thread. What I don't see is rational legal analysis or even informed legal analysis. Only outrage and hyperbole. If you can give a rational, reasoned, analysis of whether the recusal standard proposed above for Thomas in Bush v. Gore should apply equally to Ginsburg in Clinton v. Jones, by all means let's hear it.
posted by The World Famous at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2007


I see "outrage" in this thread, too.

Mostly it's that someone of marginal competence (compared to prior occupants of the office he was being invited to assume) and with a demonstrated history of grossly abusing personal power, then lying about it, has now compounded those offenses by implicitly claiming that being called on the carpet for his offenses was tantamount to being hung until dead and burned.

The stuff about recusal comes later, after folks had built up a head of rhetorical steam. FWIW, and I naturally do not and would not try to speak for amberglow, I don't think the scenario you outline inherently warrants recusal. We expect them to judge, that's why we call them judges. That Scalia business from last year was a little grayer, though I'm sure Nino thinks he wasn't biased. I don't like and don't trust the guy any farther than I could spit him through a straw, but he is a judge and he's supposed to make those kinds of decisions. (Put another way: I think it's possible for someone in Scalia's position to have been impartial. I have a hard time believing that he was.)

So, anyway, back on topic: Yes, there's outrage. But you seem to me to be focusing on a very small and isolated part of it. A part that's easy to assail, and any hypothetical inconsistency of which doesn't really have any bearing on the main point. Which is that not only is Thomas a scumbag, he's also a lying, hypocritical scumbag who's doing substantial harm to the SCOTUS just by sitting there, let alone by publishing this book of his.
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on October 5, 2007


Lodurr, I agree with everything in your first two paragraphs, except the "marginal competence" remark, which I think is taking it too far, or setting the "competence" bar ridiculously high, particularly in light of the long history of the illustrious Court.

As to the third, I was, indeed, focusing on a very small and isolated part of it, as I was responding directly to that part of it.

Which is that not only is Thomas a scumbag, he's also a lying, hypocritical scumbag who's doing substantial harm to the SCOTUS just by sitting there, let alone by publishing this book of his.


I certainly would not apply any of those labels to Ginsburg, even though she did one of the things that posters above think Thomas should be impeached for.
posted by The World Famous at 12:21 PM on October 5, 2007


The outrage is over his own racism and his obvious lies, slurs and spin during his confirmation circus--and even today. If people are disqualified from serving on Cabinets because of illegal nannies, he should have been disqualified for the harassment. The outrage is over his non-presence on the court these past years. The outrage is over his non-questioning of anyone before it in all these years. The outrage is over the racism of Bush to begin with in nominating him and not some eminently qualified person. The outrage is in his massive massive chip on his shoulder that obviously colors all his work on the bench and in his life.

There's not much outrage over recusals, and i think even a hint of conflict should make all judges recuse themselves--whether a Supreme or not. There are always other judges--no one of them is essential.

(I also think this lifetime appointment thing must end--let's do 10 or 20 year terms instead)
posted by amberglow at 1:01 PM on October 5, 2007


Can anyone list any case where he did not vote with Scalia or Rhenquist? Can anyone list any case where he stood up for regular people when they were harmed by the government and/or big business and seeking redress?
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2007


Also, the outrage is because of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Justice -- and a titan before serving and during his tenure there.

Also that he himself was given opportunities he later denied to everyone after him--
His work at the EEOC and Dept of Education was tremendously damaging to equal rights and justice: ... Still, within a year the Reagan administration named Thomas, at the age of thirty-three, the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Both appointments were ironic, since they involved the enforcement of a body of federal civil rights law that Thomas seemed indifferent to, at best. While at the EEOC, however, Thomas gave clear voice to the administration's opposition to affirmative action by declining to enforce programs that set numerical goals and timetables for the hiring of minorities. Supporters of the EEOC strongly criticized this shift, contending that Thomas was undermining the agency's purpose. They also accused Thomas of hypocrisy because he had personally benefited from such programs in the past. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2007


This bears repeating and should be on every schoolroom wall:
If Americans weren't such fucking sheeple they might harken back to their history classes where, if they weren't sleeping, they were taught that the American system is based on the premise that you don't fucking trust the people in power.

Whether or not they are breaking the rules, the appearance of breaking the rules is a serious matter that needs addressing. We used to understand that impropriety was a bad thing in public officials.

posted by amberglow at 1:22 PM on October 5, 2007


Nothing with the word "sheeple" should ever be on any schoolroom wall. Sorry. But I do agree with the rest of that.
posted by The World Famous at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2007


Can anyone list any case where he did not vote with Scalia or Rhenquist?

Gonzalez v. Raich is one. There have been many of them. Are you really looking for a list?

Can anyone list any case where he stood up for regular people when they were harmed by the government and/or big business and seeking redress?

Takings cases come to mind. Like Kelo v. New London.
posted by The World Famous at 1:35 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The outrage is over the racism of Bush to begin with in nominating him and not some eminently qualified person.

So I guess you're not a supporter of race-based affirmative action then.
posted by gyc at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2007



So I guess you're not a supporter of race-based affirmative action then.


Irony vector... CRASH!!!
posted by tkchrist at 4:56 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


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