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Tag Archives: Clarence Thomas

Since We are Cleaning House – Uncle Tommie Clarence Needs to Go as Well

The confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas’ ascension to the Supreme Court featured what was probably the first nationwide coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Uncle Tommie got a walk.

With the number of folks now losing their jobs and positions for acts like those of Thomas…Perhaps the ultimate test of whether the current flurry of sexual harassment punishments is a “fad” or something we will take seriously going forward is whether Thomas receives the same treatment. Whether he is punished or not has some rather serious implications relative to the Supreme Court’s already badly battered credibility.

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Clarence Thomas must resign

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch called “bullcrap” on Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown last week. The Senate Finance Committee lion tore into Brown for “spewing” that the Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich was in reality a Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich.

I got my first dose of Hatch during the wall-to-wall coverage of the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. Hatch was the Republicans’ designated questioner of Anita Hill. She was called to testify because she’d told the FBI that Thomas had sexually harassed her 10 years earlier, when he was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education.

Sitting behind her were her mother, Erma (“who is going to be celebrating her 80th birthday”); her father, Albert; her sisters, Elreathea, Jo Ann, Coleen and Joyce; and her brother, Ray. No way she was going to lie to the committee, or to us, in front of them.

Hill testified that Thomas had repeatedly asked her out, and that she repeatedly refused. So he demeaned her. He told her someone had once “put a pubic hair” on his Coke can. He said porn star Long Dong Silver had nothing on him in the endowment department.

Hatch called her charges “contrived” and “sick.” He claimed she’d stolen them. The pubic hair, she’d taken from page 70 of “The Exorcist.” Long Dong Silver, she’d lifted from a Kansas sexual harassment case.

Hill agreed to a polygraph test, and passed. Thomas refused. He called the hearings a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.”

It was painful to watch Hatch slime Hill. Women who’d also been sexually harassed found in the hearings no reason to be less fearful of telling their stories. Nor, later, could they take comfort in how Bill Clinton’s accusers were reviled. Or Bill O’Reilly’s. Or Roger Ailes’s.

But something changed. The tipping point may have been Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush about assaulting women. Sixteen of his victims had the courage to say he’d harassed or groped them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s escape from accountability for that predation contributed to the decisions by Harvey Weinstein’s victims to talk on the record to Jodi Kantor and her New York Times colleagues and to Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker. Before long, more than 80 women attested to Weinstein’s assaults as far back as 1990.

Then nine women gave the Washington Post detailed accounts of Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore’s history of pedophilia and abuse. They knew the blowback would be brutal. They did it anyway.

Still, Moore won’t quit. Why would he? Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor, says she’ll vote for him even though she believes his accusers. Better to elect a pedophile than a Democrat who’d vote against a Supreme Court nominee who’d overturn Roe v Wade.

Now Senator Al Franken is in the crosshairs. The Minnesota Democrat offered an apology to Leann Tweeden for “completely inappropriate” behavior in 2006, which she accepted, and he asked for an ethics investigation of the incident. Calls for his resignation illustrate the fallacy of false equivalence; they’re the witch-hunt Trump claimed had victimized him.

Hill was a thoroughly credible witness. Thomas has no stronger case for his innocence than do Trump, Moore or Weinstein. Pressed to defend Trump’s sexual improprieties, his press secretary said the American people “spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.” No to put too fine a point on it, but she’s spewing bullcrap. Elections don’t decide culpability.

In the wake of the Hill/Thomas hearings, a record-breaking 117 women made it onto the federal ticket in the 1992 election. The 24 women elected to the House that year was the largest number in any single House election, and the three elected to the Senate tripled the number of women senators.

That sharp uptick didn’t persist. If you think that today’s 80% male Congress isn’t good enough, check out Project 100, which is working to elect 100 progressive women to Congress by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Full disclosure: my daughter is a co-founder. As her dad, and as the onetime speechwriter for the first presidential candidate to pick a woman as his running mate, you can imagine how proud of her I am. And how hopeful she and her young teammates make me feel.

 

 

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Go After Al Franken? How About Clarence Thomas?

Al Franken is a far better Senator than he ever was a comedian. The guy’s humor was always a bit on the juvenile side, and really just not that funny.

Do I believe that Franken could have done what he is accused of? Yeah, I think the majority of men are capable of being over-aggressive short of violence. I think the majority of men have made an unwanted advance. The difference between the majority and guys like Moore and the Chumph is simply this – they suffer that guilt thing or shame and change their behavior accordingly. Doing something stupid is bad…But it takes a bad person to repeat that behavior over and over.

Now, I am suspicious about the accusation against Franken for two reasons. The accusers association with Hannity on Faux News, and that unlike many of the guys accused of doing this – there aren’t multiple accusers coming out of the woodwork demonstrating a pattern of bad behavior.

Some differences between Franken and the current prdophile/sexial molesters –

Al Franken has been accused by one woman. Roy Moore has been accused by 8,  Donald Trump by 16 (not counting the underage women). The others are serial molesters.

There is the appearance of a political association with a morally bankrupt and racist outfit, which itself has seen almost it’s entire to leadership resign or be fired for sexual predation. Hard to believe the accuser, an attractive woman – never got hit on walking down the hallways of Fox News, when it seems every other woman working in their studios did.

As far as accusations go so far, Mr Franken is accused of molesting an adult woman. Roy Moore molested children, a quite different and serious crime. Trump has been accused by a growing legion of women, similar to Bill Cosby – and was sued by at least one underage woman.

Should Al go down? Well that is a question for his fellow Senators, the Republican portion of which have political reasons to make that happen. Franken’s destruction of Jefferson Davis Sessions has been a thing of beauty.

And if we pursue the path of taking down a Franken, what happens?

Well..There is the case of Clarence Thomas, which needs to be re-examined.

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As We Rethink Old Harassers, Let’s Talk About Clarence Thomas

The old men of the Senate lectured Anita Hill from the dais, scowling as she recounted in humiliating detail how Thomas taunted her with graphic tales of pubic hair and Coke cans.

Long suppressed talk about the sexual predation of men, in Hollywood, politics, business, the news industry, professional sports and life in general has swept across the country, exposing decades of dirty laundry and putting an entire nation of men on notice and on edge.

“The discussion” in which the nation is engaged almost daily at this point, has exposed the rank hypocrisy of a right-wing “Christianity” that would sooner see a child molester stalking the well of the United States Senate than free its captive base to support a Democrat, and which still stands foursquare behind braggadocious predator-in-chief Donald Trump.

It has put on display the Republican Party’s radical lack of moral conviction as its leaders rush to condemn the gross, decade-old antics of now Sen. Al Franken, who has at least apologized for his past misbehavior, while they smirk from behind the cameras at Fox News where they are surrounded by anchor women in the required uniform of tight sweaters, mini-skirts, and four-inch heels. Among the Republicans ripping Franken for kissing a woman without her consent and snapping a juvenile “groping” picture in 2006: the great hypocrite Trump himself, of the “I just kiss beautiful women and grab ’em by the pussy” un-humble brag of 2005.

The national moment of self-reflection on the culture that produces such entitled men has compelled the left to indulge in its favorite ritual: curling into the fetal position as it self-flagellates over the eternal sins of the Clintons. It’s as if they’ve forgotten that the former president who left office 17 years ago indeed paid a price, including years of forensic investigation culminating in impeachment for his illicit affair with a 24-year-old White House intern.

Well if we are getting about the business of re-examining the past indecency of powerful men, we’d be remiss not to include the moment in 1991 when a woman was not believed and her alleged abuser was elevated to the highest court in the land, where he remains 26 years later.

The late Andrew Breitbart, who took down Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner by having his minions troll Weiner’s Twitter account in search of his vices, and having found them, waved the lurid visual evidence before the world, once said he was inspired to become a conservative because of Clarence Thomas, whom he viewed as a persecuted man. Breitbart cloaked his savage politics in alleged concern for a beleaguered black man, saying of Thomas’ critics: “[t]hese white, privileged men knew that by taking this conservative, religious man and asking him if he rented pornography, the mere exposure of that would hurt… I was so pissed off. You guys are just trying to ruin him. You don’t have anything.”

Not anything, that is, except the word of Anita Hill, an African-American woman who risked national humiliation and ruin to publicly tell her story of repeated sexual harassment at the hands of Thomas, her onetime boss at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

It’s hard to see Thomas, who wrote off his Yale degree as worthless because of affirmative action yet retreated to the language of “lynching” to disparage his accuser and her supporters, as much of a victim. Particularly when most Americans, and most African Americans, took his side against Anita Hill and against prominent civil rights and women’s rights organizations who were unanimous in their opposition to his elevation to the seat once occupied by the great Thurgood Marshall. Democrats including then-Sen. Joe Biden, took Thomas’ side against Hill, too—even refusing to allow witnesses who could corroborate her account to testify at Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Instead, we were treated to a bipartisan spectacle of the old men of the United States Senate lecturing Professor Hill from the dais; scowling at her as she was forced to recount in mortifying detail how Thomas pushed her to date him and taunted her with disgusting jokes and insinuations at work that included graphic tales of pubic hair and Coke cans.

Again, most Americans chose not to believe Hill, who was castigated as a liar, a temptress, and a race-traitor trying to keep a black man off the Supreme Court. Never mind that the American Bar Association had delivered a mixed verdict on whether he was even qualified for a lifetime appointment of such grandeur. I can personally recall knock-down, drag out arguments with black colleagues and relatives who were defending Thomas, and demanding a West Indian gypsy cab driver in the Bronx pull over and let me out of his car after he called Hill a whore.

Having been placed on the court anyway, Thomas became the silent justice; voting in lockstep with the late Antonin Scalia and authoring precious little worth remembering for posterity save for his serial attacks on labor rights, women’s rights and the voting rights of fellow African Americans. Needless to say, many black men and women who sided with Thomas against Anita Hill soon came to bitterly regret it.

When Weiner’s political career went up in flames, he was in the midst of exposing Justice Thomas with regular rants on the House floor for his ostentatious habit of consorting with major Republican donors who might have business before his court, often with Scalia at his side.

Thomas’ chummy ways with the rich and well-heeled, and his wife’s clear conflicts of interest as a paid crusader against Obamacare despite it coming imminently before the court, presaged the age of corruption we find ourselves in today, with Donald Trump and his extended family of kakistocrats blundering their way around Washington and the world’s capitols in search of grubby gain. In many ways, the banality with which Americans dismissed Thomas’ alleged sexual misconduct, his disparagement of his victim, and his ethical flexibility were a portent of the Trump era to come.

And like Trump, and unlike Bill Clinton, Thomas sits in power still; with the authority to make life and death decisions over the fate of those facing capital punishment, those needing health care, and most ironically, over the rights and liberties of women.

As happened with Trump, Thomas’ elevation despite the shocking allegations against him ignited women to action. In 1992, a record number of women ran for federal office, increasing the number of female United States senators from just two to six, prompting the media to declare it “the year of the woman.” Among those newly elected senators was Barbara Boxer, who as a House member had helped lead a march with six of her female colleagues to the Senate to demand that Hill’s allegations against Thomas be taken seriously and that his confirmation be delayed.

Ironically, the wave of elected women, including the first black woman senator, Carole Mosely Braun, in 1992 helped carry Bill Clinton, himself accused of sexual indiscretions and misconduct as governor of Arkansas, into the White House. When Bill Bennett and the self-righteous, self-appointed “moral majority” in the conservative movement announced the “death of outrage” after Clinton failed to be taken down by his affair with Monica Lewinsky, they perhaps forgot that outrage died first with the shaming and dismissal of Anita Hill.

Or maybe they didn’t forget because they never really cared. Who, after all, was Anita Hill to them but some black woman trying to keep a “good, conservative Christian” off the high court. It’s an echo of today’s advent of rank hypocrisy, when Roy Moore’s accusers are accused of trying to keep a “good, conservative Christian” out of the Senate. Or when the right wing furrows its collective brow at the predatory men of Hollywood—discarded by Democrats without a second thought—while they vow to die on the desiccated moral hill of Donald J. Trump.

Indeed, we need to continue to talk about predacious men. That needs to include the sexual raptors armed with immense power right now—beginning with the president of the United States and the high court’s scandalized associate justice, Clarence Thomas.

 

 

 

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Clarence Thomas – Strange Day In the News

Well…It must be a conservative thing. If old conservative white guys can grope women, why not old conservative black guys. Not sure I understand the motivations behind this one coming out.

Woman accuses Clarence Thomas of groping her at a dinner party in 1999

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A woman is accusing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of having groped her in 1999.

According to a report published Thursday by the National Law Journal/Law.com, Moira Smith, 41, alleged that Thomas repeatedly squeezed her butt during a dinner nearly 20 years ago.

Smith, vice president and general counsel at Enstar Natural Gas Co. in Alaska, was a Truman Foundation scholar helping Louis Blair, who directed the foundation at the time, prepare for a dinner at Blair’s home in Falls Church, Virginia, with Thomas and David Adkins as the featured guests. Thomas was to present Adkins, then a Kansas state lawmaker as well as a former Truman scholar, an award at the Supreme Court the following day.

Smith posted details about the encounter on Facebook the night a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video emerged in which now-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was caught talking cavalierly about forcibly kissing and groping women with impunity because he’s “a star.”

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” Smith wrote in the post, which was initially private, then made public but no longer exists since she deactivated her account about 10 days later. “I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding. He was charming in many ways—giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable.”

“But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him,’” she continued. “When I feebly explained that I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again…’are you *sure*??’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.”

In a series of interviews conducted over two weeks since her post was published, Smith recalled setting the table to Thomas’ right while the two were alone “when he reached out, sort of cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me pretty close to him.” Thomas asked her where she was sitting “and gave me a squeeze,” she added.

“He said, ‘I think you should sit next to me,’ giving me squeezes. I said, ‘Well, Mr. Blair is pretty particular about his seating chart,’” she told NLJ. “I tried to use the seating chart as a pretext for refusing. He one more time squeezed my butt and he said, ‘Are you sure?’ I said yes, and that was the end of it.”

Thomas, who was accused in testimony during his Senate confirmation hearings by Anita Hill of sexually harassing her when she worked for him at the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, dismissed the allegations in a statement to NLJ through his spokeswoman. “This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” he said.

Thomas’ office didn’t immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

Smith concluded her Facebook post, which included additional revelations that she was date raped in college, “accosted in a bar and groped by an acquaintance,” by remarking that she was speaking out not because of the presidential election or Trump but because, “Enough is enough.”

“Donald Trump said when you’re a star, they let you do it; you can do anything. The idea that we as victims let them do it made me mad,” she told NLJ, explaining why she went public. “Sure enough, Justice Thomas did it with I think an implicit pact of silence that I would be so flattered and star-struck and surprised that I wouldn’t say anything. I played the chump. I didn’t say anything.”

She suggested she didn’t speak up at the time because while she was “shell-shocked,” she was “also there for work” and “had a job to do.” Smith posed with Thomas for a picture after the dinner but said she was “conflicted” about it.

“On the one hand, I really liked Justice Thomas,” she said. “He was clearly smart, engaging, and hilarious—he had a booming and totally infectious laugh. On the other hand, I was so confused about what had happened. It had transgressed such a line.”

 

A second story on Thomas today, discussing the Court Nomination process. As one of the Judges whose nomination was one of the most contentious in history…He has something to say.

Actually the best question is at the end of the article where he wonders if the court may have some role in its own undoing as a respected institution. Like all those 5-4 decisions?

Justice Thomas: ‘We’re destroying our institutions’

That the judicial nomination process has grown so politicized in recent years is evidence that Washington “is broken in some ways,” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Wednesday.

Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Thomas did not directly address the vacancy left on the high court when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February. But when asked about the open seat, he replied, “At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions,” according to a Bloombergreport.

Republicans have steadfastly refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, insisting on waiting until after the presidential election before the seat is filled. Democrats have been largely unsuccessful in their efforts to pressure the GOP into taking up Garland’s nomination.

With Scalia gone and the Republican Senate in no hurry to replace him, the court’s eight justices are split evenly along ideological lines. That 4-4 tie has left the court unable to settle some contentious cases, which revert to the lower court’s ruling when the justices are deadlocked. But in an interview earlier this week, Justice Stephen Breyer said such narrow decisions are relatively rare and added that the court has functioned before with an even number of justices.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) agreed, suggesting this week that his party could indefinitely block the Supreme Court nominations of a Democratic president. The conservative firebrand said “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices.”

Thomas, who was himself confirmed only after a contentious hearing that focused on allegations of sexual harassment against him, said the popular notion that the Supreme Court is an overly politicized institution is at least partially the fault of the court itself.

“I don’t think people owe us, reflexively, confidence. I think it’s something we earn,” he said. “Perhaps we should ask ourselves what have we done to not earn it or earn it.”

 

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Black Conservatives

 

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Clarence Thomas to Retire From Supreme Court After Election

This is a BIG Game changer for the courts! And, providing Hillary wins, could be a major turn around for the country in terms of restoral of Civil Rights, Individual Rights, and the shutdown of the worst excesses of the Xtreme Court.

End of conservative Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas may be next to leave

Justice Clarence Thomas, a reliable conservative vote on the Supreme Court, is mulling retirement after the presidential election, according to court watchers.

Thomas, appointed by former President George H.W. Bush and approved by the Senate after a bitter confirmation, has been considering retirement for a while and never planned to stay until he died, they said. He likes to spend summers in his RV with his wife.

His retirement would have a substantial impact on control of the court. The next president is expected to immediately replace the seat opened by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, providing a one-vote edge in the court that is currently divided 4-4.

Should Thomas leave, that slight majority would continue if Donald Trump becomes president. If it’s Hillary Clinton, then she would get the chance to flip two Republican seats, giving the liberals a 6-3 majority.

And, conservatives fear, that could switch to a 7-2 majority if Republican Justice Anthony Kennedy, already a swing vote, retires. He will be 80 next year.

We recently reported that if Clinton wins the presidency, her majority liberal court could stay in power at least until 2050.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Black Conservatives

 

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Uncle Tommy Clarence, Asleep In Court…

His vote is already decided…So he doesn’t need to hear the case.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Black Conservatives

 

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HBO Special Reviews Clarence Thomas vs Anita Hill

The biggest failure by the Democrat Party since passing the Civil Rights Act and earning the black vote was the confirmation of Clarence Thomas. In a bow to conservative racism, President George HW Bush nominated Thomas – and lost any possible confidence and ability to attract black votes for the next 40 years. Of course Republicans are whimpering at the retelling of events, because they know they stole one from the Yellowback Donkeys.

Anita Hill in 2013

 

HBO’s ‘Confirmation’ sparks conservative backlash even before its debut

HBO’s dramatic retelling of Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Clarence Thomas at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 doesn’t debut until Saturday, butconservative critics have already come out in full force to discredit it.

Although Kerry Washington, the film’s star and executive producer, has claimed that the goal of the film is not to declare “winners and losers” in their politically and racially charged clash, supporters of Thomas have criticized the television movie as an attempt to rewrite history to serve a liberal agenda.

“Anita Hill looks good, Clarence Thomas looks bad, and the rest of us look like bumbling idiots,” former Sen. Alan Simpson recently told The Hollywood Reporter.

In a separate interview, former Sen. Jack Danforth told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “The script that they sent me is just totally wrong. It’s a hybrid of fact and absolute make-believe.”

The band of cowards included Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy

The most vociferous opponent of the film has been Mark Paoletta, an attorney and veteran of the George H. W. Bush White House who worked to shepherd Thomas’ nomination through the U.S. Senate. He considers the justice a “good friend.” Paoletta has been making the media rounds decrying “Confirmation”  — although he has yet to see the finished film, he obtained what he believes to be a “late draft” of the screenplay — and he has even launched a website dedicated to debunking its assertions: confirmationbiased.com.

“What I’m interested in is bringing out the facts that I don’t think are represented in this movie and then people can make their own decisions and they can look at my background and draw their own conclusions,” Paoletta told MSNBC on Friday. “This movie in my view leaves out a lot of the troubling testimony that showed that Anita Hill’s story didn’t add up.”

Among the issues Paoletta has raised is what he considers the film’s lack of emphasis on alleged inconsistencies in Hill’s testimony, as well as the fact that, despite her accusations of sexual harassment, she stayed in contact with Thomas and continued to work with him a second place of employment (The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)l He also claims it misrepresents how and when she shared her story with the Senate and FBI investigators, and what he calls its “ludicrous” portrayal of a second Thomas accuser, Angela Wright, who did not testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, for reasons which remain in dispute

The segment does concede that when Thomas’ hearings concluded, the public overwhelmingly believed his version of the events by a margin of 47 to 24 percent among registered voters, according to a NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll. (Some polls placed the margin wider at 60 percent to 20 percent.) But it also points out that just a year later, sympathies in that same survey swung back Hill’s way by a 44 to 34 percent margin.

“A lot of people initially were put off by her coming forward. It was hard to listen to what she said. It was gross,” Mark Crispin Miller, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, told The Baltimore Sun in 1994. “But that initial feeling of revulsion has passed. People now have thought about it and realized women don’t have to take this anymore.”

Other facts may have also swayed Americans to believe her: One of Hill’s most prominent antagonists, author David Brock, later retracted his attacks on her, and others have since come forward tocorroborate elements of Hill’s account. In addition, Hill reportedly passed a polygraph test amid the hearings and a hagiographical documentary on Hill was released in 2014. Thomas’ very conservative bent and relative silence on the court has also infuriated many progressives….Read the Full Article Here

 

 

 

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With Scalia Dead, Uncle Tommie Clarence Speaks For the First Time in 10 Years

Amazing what no longer being required to have his nose up Scalia’s derriere has done for the man. He can actually take a breath and say something…

Clarence Thomas Just Asked His First Question in a Decade on the Supreme Court

For 10 years, Justice Clarence Thomas has sat on the bench of the Supreme Court through innumerable oral arguments without asking a single question. That all changed today.

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Voisine v. United States, a complex and arcane case involving domestic violence and gun ownership. The case initially seemed to revolve around a technical question of criminal intent. Stephen Voisine was convicted of “intentionally, knowingly, orrecklessly caus[ing] bodily injury or offensive physical contact” to his girlfriend following a domestic dispute. As a result, he was stripped of his ability to own a gun, because United States federal law indefinitely bars individuals convicted of “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from owning firearms. Voisine now argues that “recklessly” causing violence—as opposed to knowingly or intentionally—shouldn’t disqualify him from possessing a gun under federal law.

Arguments were somewhat dry until the last few minutes, when Ilana H. Eisenstein, an assistant to the solicitor general representing the federal government, was preparing to finish up and take her seat. Just before she left the lectern, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke up, asking his very first question from the bench in a decade. The entire court perked up. Everyone shifted forward in their seats, and there was a look of shock on many spectators’ faces. We in the press section nearly fell out of our seats, though the other justices kept admirably cool, with only Chief Justice John Roberts swiveling his head in evident surprise.

Thomas noted that a conviction under the federal statute in question “suspends a constitutional right”—the right of individuals to own guns, as established in 2008’s decision, District of Columbia v. Heller. The government argues, Thomas explained, that “recklessness” in using physical force against an intimate partner is “sufficient to trigger a misdemeanor violation that results in the suspension of what is at least as of now still a constitutional right.” (Thomas appeared to be extremely aware that Hellerwas a 5–4 decision, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, which could be on the chopping block if the balance of the court shifts to the left.)

The justice, speaking calmly but forcefully, then pointed out that under the federal law, a domestic abuser doesn’t actually have to use a gun against his partner to lose his gun rights. He need only commit some form of domestic abuse, with a firearm or without it. Thomas struck a tone of puzzlement with a tinge of irritation. “Therefore,” he said, “a constitutional right is suspended—even if [the domestic violence] is unrelated to the possession of a gun?”

Eisenstein retorted that individuals who have previously battered spouses have an exponentially higher risk of injuring their spouse with a firearm in the future. But Thomas dug in, asking whether any other law indefinitely suspended an individual’s constitutional rights for recklessly committing a crime. What if “a publisher is reckless about the use of children in what could be indecent displays?” he asked. Could the government “suspend this publisher’s right to ever publish again?” Is suspending First Amendment rights substantively different from suspending Second Amendment rights?

At that point, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer jumped in to help Eisenstein. (Kennedy joined Heller but isn’t a Second Amendment absolutist like Thomas; Breyer dissented from Heller.) Kennedy mentioned laws that indefinitely regulate sex offenders’ liberty, though it was a weak example, because those laws do not suspend any fundamental rights absolutely and indefinitely. Breyer veered away from Thomas’ question, noting that Voisine wasn’t directly arguing that the federal law violated his Second Amendment rights. (He had argued that earlier, actually, but the Supreme Court refused to consider that question when it agreed to hear the case.) Instead, Voisine pushed the doctrine of “constitutional avoidance”—essentially arguing that the federal law might infringe upon his right to bear arms, and so the court should rule for him on other grounds to avoid having to decide that vastly more monumental question.

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Black Conservatives

 

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Uncle Tommie Clarence and Guns

Last week only 2 of the 9 Justices wanted to tr the case of a community banning assault weapons. The author of this piece believes the issue is that Uncle Tommie Clarence doesn’t understand the law… Wrong. It is just Uncle Tommie keeping his nose as far up Scalia’s Derriere as possible. Ergo situation normal for Uncle Tommie.

Historian explains why Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t understand the Second Amendment

The other week the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Friedman v. Highland Park, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that left intact the city’s law that denied anyone in the community the ability to have assault weapons or large-capacity magazines. In a dissent from the denial of certiorari, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote that the other Justices refusal to review the case “flouts” the Court’s holdings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, and in doing so relegated the Second Amendment to a “second-class right.” What Justice Thomas found “doubly wrong” was the Court’s acquiescence to state and local governments deciding “which firearms [the] people may possess.”

What is particularly interesting about Justice Thomas’s dissent is it embodies aspects of both originalism and living constitutionalism. On the one hand, Justice Thomas criticizes the Seventh Circuit’s opinion on the grounds it failed to properly consider the scope of the Second Amendment “when the people adopted” it. He then proceeds to criticize the Seventh Circuit for not recognizing the number of contemporary Americans who own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As Justice Thomas put it, “The question … is not whether citizens have adequate alternatives available for self-defense,” but “whether the law bans types of firearms commonly used for a lawful purpose—regardless of whether alternatives exist.”

Here, Justice Thomas’s call to respect the framers’ Second Amendment, yet adhere to a modern “common use” test perfectly highlights the difficulty when employing history in law—that is finding a jurisprudential balance between the past and the present. While Justice Thomas places a historical premium on the ownership of weapons so long as a significant number are available in American society at large, he virtually ignores the history of state and local firearms regulations to quell violence, prevent crime, and mitigate public injury. Some of these regulations were even aimed at prohibiting dangerous weapons, particularly in densely populated areas. These historical facts conflict with Justice Thomas’s doctrinal reasoning, do they not?

Perhaps Justice Thomas’s point is that history dictates that state and local governments should not be allowed to outlaw firearms which are universally accepted in other jurisdictions. That is, the Second Amendment requires a national standard as to what firearms may or may not be prohibited. But history does not favor Justice Thomas. From the Reconstruction Era to the late twentieth century a variety of regulations touching upon dangerous weapons existed at the state and local level. In fact, up to 1979, forty-three states allowed their respective cities, towns, and localities to enact more stringent firearm regulations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.

Today, of course, the landscape of firearms regulations is vastly different than it was in years past. At the urging of the National Rifle Association (NRA), most states have adopted firearm preemption laws prohibiting cities, towns, and localities from enacting stricter firearms regulations. This shift began in 1975, when the NRA stated it would no longer compromise on gun control, period. It was a position that hardened following the NRA’s 1977 Cincinnati Revolt, when the organization’s membership rededicated and reformed the organization with the express purpose of combating gun control. As a result of this reformation, not even laws requiring comprehensive background checks, allowing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toresearch gun violence, or prohibiting the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists are blessed with the NRA’s approval.

The NRA was not always unwilling to compromise on gun control. In 1924 for instance, the NRA used the analogy of regulating the driving of motor vehicles with the handling of firearms in public: “It would seem … a logical part of any public safety program that before a man is given a weapon and empowered to use it, for the authorities to make certain that the chances of damage to life are reduced to a minimum.”

Up through 1967 the NRA claimed it “always has … and always will be ready to do what is best for America,” to include never placing its organizational goals or firearm heritage “ahead of the nation al welfare.” This included supporting such gun controls as disarming every individual who has committed a felony, crime of violence or has a “notoriously bad character,” legislation that required firearm purchasers to identify themselves, firearm dealers to maintain records of sales, parental consent before selling a firearm to a minor, and a seven day waiting period before purchasing a handgun.

There was even a point in time, in 1937, where the NRA did not object to a law requiring the registration of Magnum revolvers in the same vein as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. The NRA’s rationale was the Magnum “performs no practical function for the sportsman which cannot be as well or better performed by arms of standard type,” and therefore “it is impossible to defend the Magnum against legislation which would have the practical effect of limiting its sale to agents of the Federal, States, and local police.” The NRA’s admission that prohibiting the Magnum was acceptable because any “practical function,” to include homebound self-defense, could be accomplished by “arms of the standard type” is significant, for it is the very same rationale that Justice Thomas criticized the Seventh Circuit for employing inFriedman v. Highland Park. Needless to say, it is curious how what was once considered acceptable and constitutional gun control in years past, by all parties, suddenly “flouts” the Constitution.

The overall point to be made is the Seventh Circuit did not relegate the Second Amendment to a “second-class right” as Justice Thomas claims. History refutes such a conclusion. The fact of the matter is the modern perception of the Second Amendment as guaranteeing broad firearm rights in both public and private is just that—modern.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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Uncle Tommy Clarence Blows a Gasket on Gay Marraige Decision

Uncle Tommy Clarence didn’t get on the court by being the brightest lightbulb in the pack. He demonstrates it again in his dissent on Gay Marriage equality…

Clarence and Virginia Thomas

Clarence Thomas Has The Weirdest Dissent To The Marriage Equality Case

WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia may have penned the most colorful dissent to Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, but his colleague Clarence Thomas wrote the weirdest.

Thomas, alone among the four dissenting conservative justices, seemed to recognize that the legal reasoning he and his fellow dissenters were bringing to bear on same-sex marriage could also apply to interracial marriage. That’s a problem for Thomas, because only bigots oppose interracial marriage, and he presumably didn’t want his dissent to be seen as window-dressing for hatred. Thomas tried to get around this uncomfortable parallel by arguing that Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision that required every state to recognize interracial marriage, wasn’t really about marriage after all. Here’s what he wrote:

Petitioners’ misconception of liberty carries over into their discussion of our precedents identifying a right to marry, not one of which has expanded the concept of “liberty” beyond the concept of negative liberty. Those precedents all involved absolute prohibitions on private actions associated with marriage.Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967), for example, involved a couple who was criminally prosecuted for marrying in the District of Columbia and cohabiting in Virginia, id., at 2–3. They were each sentenced to a year of imprisonment, suspended for a term of 25 years on the condition that they not reenter the Commonwealth together during that time.

In other words, Thomas is saying, the Loving decision was actually about letting interracial couples live together without being arrested. And OK, yes, it’s true that Richard and Mildred Loving were criminally prosecuted. But it’s ridiculous to claim that the decision overturning their conviction simply decriminalized interracial cohabitation. Here’s what then-Chief Justice Earl Warren actually wrote in that case:

There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause … The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence… Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

If you’re still not sure whether that decision was about marriage, then consider that it overturned interracial marriage bans in 16 states… kind of like how Friday’s decision overturned same-sex marriage bans in 13 states. Thomas can say whatever he wants, but his reasoning here is hard to defend. (Incidentally, Thomas, who is black, is married to a white woman named Virginia, because you can’t make this stuff up.)…

Clarence continued with:

Human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Arguing that there is no “Dignity” clause in the Constitution. And “Life”, “Liberty” don’t bestow some small measure of happiness and dignity? The basis of slavery was to strip the slaves of their human dignity…thus the better to control them.

Thomas concludes with…

“Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on ‘due process’ to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the ‘liberty’ protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society,”

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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Melissa Harris-Perry Calls Out Clarence Thomas

This is a good one. One of the reasons it is critical that Obama win this next election is the opportunity to replace at least 2 justices on the Supreme Court and clean up the cesspool the Rethugs made of that institution.

 

 

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Clarence Thomas Fesses Up on ole in Conservative View of Constitution

No Tommy… The founding fathers didn’t include your black ass in the Constitution…

Thomas concedes that ‘we the people’ didn’t include blacks

It is true, Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged the other night, that the “we the people” extolled in the Constitution 225 years ago did not include people who looked like him.

But the Declaration of Independence did, he contended, and that was something that a black kid growing up in Savannah, Ga., was told early on.

“There was always this underlying belief that we were entitled to be a full participant in ‘we the people,’ ” Thomas told a crowd at the National Archives last week.

“That’s the way we grew up. It was the way the nuns, who were all immigrants, would explain it to us — that we were entitled, as citizens of this country, to be full participants. There was never any doubt that we were inherently equal. It said so in the Declaration of Independence.”

Thomas submitted to about an hour of extremely gentle questioning from Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar at an event called “The Constitution Turns 225,” co-sponsored by the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center and the conservative Federalist Society.

It was a packed house, drawn perhaps by the chance to see the “silent justice” speak. That’s far more myth than reality, of course.

It is true that Thomas hasn’t asked a question during the court’s oral arguments since 2006. But he speaks regularly to groups and law schools, and he put on a full publicity blitz when his memoir “My Grandfather’s Son” was published in 2007, including a sit-down with “60 Minutes” and a multi-part series on “Nightline.”

Thomas can on occasion be melancholy in his speeches, such as saying he sometimes envies the seemingly carefree lives he sees from his chamber windows. Several years ago, he told a group of high school students that he sometimes gets “morose,” and bucks himself up by reading inspirational speeches or retreating to the basement to watch the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

He remains distrustful of Washington, although he mentioned during the discussion that he has lived here more than half of his 64 years. He often refers to it as “this city,” and says it is inhabited by ”cynical people who know it all.”

The “unlettered” people he grew up with, especially his grandparents, he said, withstood “the most difficult circumstances with a dignity that’s unmatched in this city.”

Amar repeatedly brought the conversation back to the point that under the original Constitution, people “like us” were not included. And Thomas spoke extensively about race — after noting with sarcasm that “people say horrible things about it — they say I’m not black, so I’m just a little doubtful I should say I’m black.”

“I always think it’s so fascinating to think of these black kids in the segregated school in Savannah reciting the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States or standing out in the schoolyard saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day before school,” Thomas said.

“I mean, everything so obviously in front of you is wrong. You can’t go to the public library. You can’t live in certain neighborhoods. You can’t go to certain schools. But despite all of that, you lived in an environment of people who said it was still our birthright to be included, and continued to push, not only to change the laws, but to maintain that belief in our hearts.”

Thomas also noted a period in his college years in which the belief was not so strong.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Black Conservatives

 

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The Importance of Anita Hill

Anita Hill has a new book out – and it’s getting some pretty good reviews. Patricia J. Williams is a Law Professor at Columbia University, and what she has to say about the importance of Anita Hill travails at the Clarence Thomas hearings really clarifies a lot of what Hill meant to other professional women…

Anita Hill

The Legacy of Anita Hill, Then and Now

Sad fact: there are few women of my generation who don’t have what is known as our “Anita story.” Mine occurred in 1980. I was five years out of law school and had decided to shift my career from practice to teaching. I was walking down a long hallway at the Association of American Law Schools meat market for new hires. There were two men behind me who were joking about the excellent shape of my legs and the unusually well-defined musculature of my lower quadrants. (Did I mention that it was a very, very long hallway?) At the end of that eternal passage was my appointed interview room. I escaped into it, only to be followed by the two. They, as it turned out, were doing the hiring.

Life was like that sometimes, I thought. And so I went through all the proper motions of expressing how much my fine ideas could contribute to their faculty, pretending that nothing had happened.

I didn’t stop pretending nothing had happened until 1991, when Anita Hill testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the unwanted office approaches of her boss, then-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Clarence Thomas. I remember how still and dignified she was at the center of that howling hurricane of mockery, meanness and machismo. It was like some psychedelic cross between The Crucible and The Wizard of Oz, with its swirling fantasies of witchcraft, conspiracy theories and mad satyric orgies. I remember everyone from Orrin Hatch to Rush Limbaugh dismissing anything that “might have happened” as “bedroom politics,” even though Hill’s allegations centered on misbehavior in the boardroom, not the bedroom, and even though those allegations implicated precisely Thomas’s public ethics as the chief enforcement officer of sexual harassment laws. “He said, she said” entered the national vocabulary. So did “They just don’t get it.”

Anita Hill graduated from Yale Law School in 1980. The percentage of women in law schools was 38 percent—in contrast to the approximately
50 percent it is today. Back in those times there were so few women among the legal professoriate that many law schools didn’t even have women’s bathrooms. And as for women of color—there were only five or six of us teaching in the entire United States.

If the percentages of women in all professions improved over the next decade or so, the ability to speak up and speak out was often constrained by fear of losing status, ruining one’s career. It was the shockingly abysmal treatment of Anita Hill by the United States Senate that changed all that. Women were mobilized in a way unseen since the time of the suffragettes. EMILY’s List took off, as well as hundreds of networks for women’s political empowerment. Twenty years later, if some men’s behavior has not changed as much as one might have hoped, the collective women’s response has undergone seismic change. It’s not “nothing” anymore.

Patricia J. Williams

Anita Hill remains an icon to whom subsequent generations are rightfully indebted. At the same time, she has not remained trapped by her own symbolism or frozen in time. It is sometimes forgotten that she is a respected scholar of contract jurisprudence, commercial law and education policy. She is a prolific author, publishing numerous law review articles, essays, editorials and books. Today, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Much of her most recent research has been on the housing market, and her most recent book, published this month, is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

It is ironic that the full substance of Hill’s remarkable intellectual presence remains so overshadowed by those fleeting, if powerful, moments of her Senate testimony. If the larger accomplishments of her life aren’t quite as iconic as that confrontation with Clarence Thomas, they nonetheless merit attention by feminists and scholars alike. To begin with, Hill is a remarkably elegant and accessible writer. For those who wish to apprehend the gravitas of her intelligence and dignity, Reimagining Equality would be a good place to start…(more)

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Formal Complaint to Judiciary Committee Filed Against Clarence Thomas

At least some folks are beginning to get serious on Capitol Hill.  Tommie Clarence’s “Pay for Justice” scheme may well be unraveling fast…

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrats, demand ethics probe of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

A group of liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, will formally ask theHouse Judiciary Committee today to investigate “ethical lapses” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At issue is Thomas’ failure to report “at least $1.6 million” in earnings by his wife Virginia for her work at the conservative Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Virginia Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care law. The Supreme Court will hear a case this term determining the law’s constitutionality.

The letter also asked the committee to examine “air travel and yacht stays and other gifts from wealthy supporters.”

“Reports of potential ethical lapses by Justice Thomas’s actions give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest undermining appellants’ rights of due process and also raise substantive questions about Justice Thomas’s ability to retain his seat,” said the letter, which was written by Blumenauer and will be delivered today.

“We urge that your committee hold hearings regarding the nature of these questions, their factual basis, and their potential to undermine the public’s trust in the Supreme Court,” it says.

During a news conference Wednesday, Blumenauer also said a similar letter will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in coming days.

“Nobody is unaccountable in our system of government and we need to take steps to make sure this is always the case,” he said. “These are fundamental questions about the administration justice and it doesn’t necessarily need to be partisan to make sure there are rules of the road for the Supreme Court.”

In January, Thomas eventually amended several years of financial disclosures he is required by law to file after media reports raised questions about the omission. Simultaneously he released letters saying his wife’s income was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”…

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Black Conservatives

 

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Calls To Investigate Clarence Thomas Intensify

Don’t expect any Republicans to stand up for whats right on this one – but 20 Democrat Congressmen have called for an investigation into the questionable finances of Clarence Thomas, and “pay to play” justice at the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 Supreme Court - All the Justice You Can Afford

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”

Slaughter’s press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.

“The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today,” Slaughter said. “I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious.”

Other members of Congress on the letter include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Money, Honey… Indeed.

 
 

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On Lynching and the Execution of Troy Davis

The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia has ignited a firestorm of outrage. Davis’ last words were that he was “innocent”.

Not surprising Cash and Carry Uncle Tommie Clarence led the Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene… Proving once again a black defendant can’t get a fair trial or consideration in the courts, whether it is due to racism, politics – or in the case of Thomas…

A need to re-establish his Lawn Ornament bonafides with the conservative people who own him. I am not arguing that Troy Davis’ execution would have been stopped by the court…

Only that were not the Supreme Court corrupt, at least he would have gotten a fair hearing.

The Execution of Troy Davis Provides Another ‘Haunting Reminder of Once Prevalent Southern Lynchings’

“I am innocent,” said Troy Davis, moments before the the state of Georgia put him to death.

The state-sanctioned slaying, which former President Jammy Carter characterized as “a grave miscarriage of justice,” was completed at 11:08 pm EST.

Before the execution, the man whose case inspired an international outcry against not just the death penalty but a dysfunctional “justice” system told the witnesses at the Georgia Diagnostic Prison facility: “The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun.”

Addressing the family of, Mark MacPhail, the off-duty Savannah police officer he was accused of killing, Davis said he was sorry for their loss. Then, he said: “I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent.”

To those who battled to save his life, Davis urged continued investigation, inquiry and struggle for justice. “All I can ask… is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth,” he said moments before the execution.

The killing of Davis took place after US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a Georgia native, led the High Court in rejecting a plea that the killing be blocked. There were no dissents from the other justices on the current Court.

But it is important to underline the word “current.”

Former Justice John Paul Stevens, who left the High Court last year, has argued in recent statements and interviews that the death penalty is “unconstitutional.”

In particular, he cited evidence confirming that African-Americans who are charged with murder (such as Troy Davis) are dramatically more likely than whites to be executed.

The General Accounting Office has concluded that “in 82 percent of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e. those who murdered whites were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks,” while former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, the long-time chair of the Constutution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Commitee, has said that: “We simply cannot say we live in a country that offers equal justice to all Americans when racial disparities plague the system by which our society imposes the ultimate punishment.”

The American Civil Liberties Union notes that  “systemic racial bias in the application of the death penalty exists at both the state and federal level,” and it notes historic patterns of discrimination in particular states such as Georgia—highlighting the classic work of University of Iowa law professor David Baldus, who found that during the 1980s prosecutors in Georgia sought the death penalty for 70 percent of African-American defendants with white victims, but for only 15 percent of white defendants with black victims. (Troy Davis’ case traces back to an incident in 1989.)

The patterns of discrimination, noted Justice Stevens, “provides a haunting reminder of once prevalent Southern lynchings.“

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in American Genocide, Domestic terrorism

 

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