His vote is already decided…So he doesn’t need to hear the case.
His vote is already decided…So he doesn’t need to hear the case.
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.
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 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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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,”
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.
No Tommy… The founding fathers didn’t include your black ass in the Constitution…
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.