Monday, August 22, 2011

DAMAGED

There is no more stranger actor on the stage of American public life than United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas has sat on the court since 1991 and has become perhaps the most important player on the Robert's court according to a new article by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/29/110829fa_fact_toobin

Toobin is one of the few mainstream journalists that Thomas will even talk to, but despite lauding Thomas's influence we also get a few nuggets into the psyche of Justice Thomas. Thomas is still angry after all the years, aggrieved over the elites, aggrieved over affirmative action, aggrieved over the entire Anita Hill matter. Yet Toobin points out how most or all of what Anita Hill said was true and has been corroborated by countless others. Part of his rage must stem from his own sense that he is a fraud, that he lied in front of the entire world all the while using the race card--the thing that he himself was supposed to be so above.

We need only go back to Thomas's angry memoirs published in 2007:
“I was bitter toward the white bigots whom I held responsible for the unjust treatment of blacks, but even more bitter toward those ostensibly unprejudiced whites who pretended to side with black people while using them to further their own political and social ends.” So there you have it, Hubert H. Humprhrey was far more evil for black folk than Bull Conner. George McGovern far worse than George Wallace. This is the twisted world-view of Thomas, his wife and his buddies Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin--two of Thomas's best friends according to Toobin. We also learn once again about Thomas's close ties to right-wing Texas Sugar Daddy Harlan Crow who helped seed Virginia Thomas's Tea Party outfit.

Throughout the article Toobin discusses Thomas's "Originalist" catechism and we learn that he is far more dedicated to it than the verbose, publicity -seeking Scalia. Thomas' silence on the court during oral arguments (he has not asked a question in six years) is made too much of by his critics. There are no questions to ask when you have already made up your mind. We learn that for Thomas and his Tea Party brethren small government is the paramount cause. Some would ask Justice Thomas about his small government views as he takes his ax to Roe vs. Wade and into the bedrooms of gay Americans in his dissent in Lawrence vs. Texas.

Thomas's, railings at the elite are not at the rich fat cats that lavish him and his wife with gifts (he is the king gift taker on the court), no, he is still upset at Yale. We have never known exactly why after all these years. For admitting him into law school and giving him a sure-fire credential into the upper rungs of American power? Yes, I would certainly condemn Yale for that. Thomas says in the article that he doesn't do "the Ivies," and strikes a populist chord decrying that all current sitting justices went to Harvard or Yale. On this I agree with the fat man and Frank Rich that as our governing institutions have become even more "Ivied" over the past 3 decades (look at all Presidents after Reagan) not coincidentally the mediocrity of American leadership has accelerated. But Thomas is not really against elites, he's only against so-called liberal elites.

Toobin describes Thomas as having gained lots of weight since we last really saw him in 1991. And yes, like his wife he is morbidly obese and if actuarials were any indication perhaps there is coronary damage.   However, I would not count on it slowing him down just look at Dick Cheney. What I do know is that Clarence Thomas's rage will continue unabated as he plunders the Constitution to make it ever more safe for the Theocratic Plutocracy he craves. All he really needs now is a President Bachmann or Perry to help him.


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