August 30th, 2011

The rehabilitation of Clarence Thomas?

An extremely interesting piece on the changing reputation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

35 Responses to “The rehabilitation of Clarence Thomas?”

  1. Ray Says:

    I always found the National Organization of Women’s response to Thomas amusing. They were demonstrating against Thomas for months because of Annita Hill’s claims. When Clinton’s sexual escapades were revealed, the NOW supported Clinton and had no problem with his behavior.

  2. Scott Says:

    I found the two essays together, Toobin’s in the New Yorker and Walter Russell Mead’s at his blog, to be absolutely fascinating. All these years I had assumed Scalia was the real “originalist” and the intellectual powerhouse, and Thomas was the intellectual lightweight who was tagging along with whatever Scalia believed. Why did I think that? Because that was the narrative created by the Left.

    Toobin and WRM turn that idea upside down. The law school professors cited make it clear that Thomas is a real intellectual powerhouse and legal scholar in his own right.

    Once again, we learn the Left has been trashing a conservative’s reputation for two decades for political gain. Horrible people.

  3. T Says:

    For those not familiar with Walter Russell Mead, he’s a Prof. of Foreign Affairs at Bard College. An admitted Democrat, he has a series of essays on the disintegration of what he calls “the Blue Social Model” (think Progressive union-backed large govt) from FDR to now. He fleshes this out with essays on the impact that this disintegration will have on cities. They make for insightful reading. IMO Mead is one of the most provocative analysts on the net today.

  4. ed white Says:

    So Judge has been rebranded by the chatterers, no longer cretinous Uncle Tom, now evil Uncle Tom.

  5. Steve D Says:

    A few thoughts… It’s no really NOW it’s more NOLOW (liberal only women).

    Is there a reluctant but secret admission in certain liberal circles that their agenda is ultimately doomed due to lack of funding with “other peoples money”? If so is there a strategy to build up the right side of the court for some cover when it all gets overturned?

  6. LAG Says:

    After reading his bio, I suspected liberals were making the mistake of their lives by underestimating their opponent. This is not a man who will be turned aside by their likes.

  7. holmes Says:

    I remember reading an 8th amendment decision (Hope v. Peltzer, SC 2002; and found Thomas to be brilliant. Even my really liberal con law prof thought he was very sharp, which made him “scary” of course.

  8. holmes Says: Actually it might have been Farmer vs. Brennan (1994).

  9. holmes Says:

    Actually it might have been Helling v. McKinney. :)

  10. Curtis Says:

    Mountains of evidence, common sense, intellectual honesty, ability and industry align with Justice Thomas against the failures of statism. Of course, one day it will be seen as how could the reform not have occurred.

    The family is the bulwark against the state and the natural complement to the efforts of Thomas to restore Originalism. Gay marriage and abortion figure large, here, since they disparage family and promote the state. If these issues can be tenth-amendmented, that is, decided by the states and not the federal government, then after a number of years the results will speak for themselves.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I remember the hearings. I was talking about them with a woman I know who said she, speaking as a rape survivor, wasn’t impressed by the claims “he talked dirty at the office”.
    But it was the best they had at the time and they sure pumped that dead horse full of gas.
    And, as others have noted, when the First Horndog groped Kathleen Willey, NOW devised the One Free Grope Rule and applied it retroactively.

  12. Hong Says:

    A more positive evaluation from the Democrat media. Does this mean Justice Thomas is becoming a liberal RINO?

  13. Don Says:

    My introduction to constitutional law was largely via the American Rifleman and Second Amendment debates. This probably began for me as a pre teen back in the 1970s.

    In the 90s it became very obvious to me that we were right. In arguing Miller and Aymette, the antigun crowd had to carfully quote out of context, for example. While Aymette isn’t as satisfying or practical as Heller, it was not kind to the anti view.

    Of course, prior to the 90s I hoped we were right, and thought we were right. But during the 90s at some point, it became obvious to me that we were right.

    The 10th Amendment is an even more obvious point. I have no question in my mind that conservatives are right on the 10th. The issue is purely political. No judge, not even Thomas, is going to overturn social security and medicare in a court decision.

    However, the entitlement programs have another problem. Economics.

    Conservatives have economic and constitutional reality on their side. Few leftists understand either.

  14. Curtis Says:

    Toobin writes, ” In his Printz opinion, Thomas gently elided [omitted] the fact that the meaning of the Second Amendment had, at that point, long been considered a closed issue.”

    This is the way to do it with the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

  15. Jewel Says:

    I also remember them. What I remember the most, and what stayed with me is the response Thomas gave to his lynchers. Eloquent, deeply emotional, and completely believable compared to all the squawking blatherskytes trotted out by Anita Hill’s faction. That is the nature of liars. They need far more annoying character witnesses. She came across as a liar and a woman with an ax to grind. I found her repulsive in the same way I found that irksome British nanny who killed Matthew Shepherd repulsive and also unbelievable.

  16. M J R Says:

    -1- How many people, lefties specifically, will read or will ever have read the article?

    -2- Of those, how many will believe the article, in the face of years and years of the unrelenting demonization of Justice Thomas?

    My point is that this article will have utterly minimal effect on the left as a whole, and will have utterly minimal effect on the perception of the public at large of Clarence Thomas.

    The people that read the Noo Yawkuh will be the last to grant that the author may be onto something; the few who look at it will dismiss it as an outlier in their database and will continue on in their insular, bigoted way as usual. That article will have no more effect on the public’s or the left’s consciousness than would a fart in the Hurricane Irene gales.

  17. Parker Says:

    I’ve long admired Thomas as a staunch Constitutionalist. His lack of verbiage during SCOTUS hearings has, from day one, been mocked by leftists; but his written opinions demonstrate that he is a deep thinker and that he understands what is supposed to be the law of the land, namely the Constitution.

    The hardcore left hate the Constitution. In particular they hate the 1st, 2nd, 9th, & 10th amendments because those amendments empower individuals and/or the sovereign states.

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    These 2 amendments are to leftists as garlic, crosses, and wooden stakes to the heart are to vampires.

  18. ELC Says:

    Since I read the New Yorker article yesterday, I’ve been wondering why this article was published.

    I caught some of Rush Limbaugh’s program today, and he said Toobin is waving a red flag to his fellow travelers, signalling that, far from being a cipher, Justice Thomas is a very smart, very effective, and therefore very dangerous enemy of their cause.

    I thought at the time that Rush is probably right about that. I just now found out that Jeffrey Toobin was a Journolister:

    As Clouthier reminds us there, “These folks are not truth-seekers. They are ideology pushers.” So know I’m sure that Limbaugh is right.

  19. Curtis Says:

    There is another person who has passed through the fire who the selfish are terrified of. Passing through the fire may impart a quality that sharpens the intellect and allows one to achieve intensity and focus on a level not usually attainable.

  20. T Says:


    I don’t think the point is to convince anyone. What would the point of that be? How Justice Thomas is seen by the public, the media or the left has has no bearing on future SCOTUS decisions.

    I think it’s a matter of simple observation as to the development of the outlook of the court in general.
    To me, Mead is simpIy saying “this is what I see happening.” If he is correct and Thomas has an influence on the court greater than simply one voice out of nine, then this is a good thing for the future of the country.

  21. Promethea Says:

    Leftism is a dying religion. It may take a few years, even decades, but statism cannot sustain itself.

    I had dinner tonight with a leftist who reads only the New York Times. She is very proud of this. She has two children, both married, but only one grandchild. Her son and daughter-in-law are “activists” who devoted themselves to “activism” and decided not to have any children.

    This model of reproduction is unsustainable. Naturally, I don’t discuss politics in this particular circle. However, they are a dying breed.

  22. texexec Says:

    Thomas’ much commented on (by liberals) lack of speaking in SCOTUS hearings never seemed like a negative to me. To the contrary, it seemed like a positive.

    Often, in business meetings, the person who sits quietly and listens to others (sometimes yammering others) often is the person who succinctly summarizes the issues and makes the best suggestions for what should be done.

  23. Peter Says:

    Justice Thomas, in his written opinions, is able to use clear, simple English. An ordinary person can understand the meaning. No wonder the lefties hate him.

  24. M J R Says:

    T Says: “MJR, I don’t think the point is to convince anyone. What would the point of that be? How Justice Thomas is seen by the public, the media or the left has has no bearing on future SCOTUS decisions.”

    Your point is taken in good faith. But I was referring to neo’s initial description, “An extremely interesting piece on the changing reputation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” I don’t believe Justice Thomas’ reputation will change very much as a result of that piece’s existence.

  25. Curtis Says:

    Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid are unconstitutional.

    Breathe that air! Ummmmmm. Again. Ummmmmm.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    They thought they had taken him out for good with their personal assassination. They forgot that where there is life, there is hope, and also not to believe in their own propaganda lies.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar: I believe they did believe their own lies. I don’t think they had a clue that they were dealing with a very strong man, and a smart one too.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    Also there is a relatively easy way for states to raise funds to do what isn’t allowed the feds. The feds just give a 5 year or 10 year elimination of all federal taxes for residents of State YB, and State YB increases state taxes to the point where what would have went into the federal coffers now goes into state coffers. The state treasury then writes up an infrastructure bill for the locals, and this type of local government and authorization is a lot more efficient than one state using federal funds extorted from another state.

    This type of solution is something the Left has to pretend doesn’t exist. Because the Left is power mad and wants to hoard all power to themselves.

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    Something people should never forget concerning Sarah Palin. What the Left says, isn’t what is true. And if the Left underestimates an enemy, then they will be surprised the same way Republicans are when they underestimate the perfidy and malice of the Left.

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    As I was reading the article and I got to Jacksonianism, I thought to myself, “who is the author, Russel Mead? That can’t be true, it’s got to be some other person who just sounds like him textually”. But no, it really was him.

  31. Richard Aubrey Says:

    You have an excellent point. My left/lib acquaintances, friends, and relations all seem to believe Palin is dumb. Not just trying to get it over on me. They actually believe it. This allows room for Napoleon’s maxim, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake” to work.
    My response to such stuff is to pretend I think they know better, since it’s so obvious they’re actually wrong. And they can’t put that stuff over on ol’ Aubrey, nosirree. He knows better just like you do. Uh. Huh.
    Causes confusion. I like that.

  32. Don Says:

    Leftism is a dying religion. It may take a few years, even decades, but statism cannot sustain itself.

    They are losing, for the simple reason that they are wrong. But they will be replaced. Someone will always come back with utopian ideas of centralized control. It fits in with a certain mentality.

    We will always be having this fight. It will never end.

  33. Don Says:

    Ymarsakar, someone with Palin’s resume, which contains actual executive experience, is smart. But the left seems to think smart = talking like a Harvard lawyer.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    Statism is parasitism, but parasitism doesn’t die out until the hosts all die out. Which means, they won’t go away, until you all are sucked dry.

  35. Webutante Says:

    A little late to this party and far behind in my reading and writing, but without any doubt this is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read in a long time. Haven’t read the Toobin piece yet, but this one packs a good enough wallop.

    Thanks for calling attention to it! Think I’ll redefine myself as a neo-Constitutionalist!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge