THOMAS: 9 of hearts
(CH, L) (what
do these signs mean?)
Thomas is one of those so-called conservative justices
that claims to be a strict interpreter of the Constitution.
Strict interpreters might be expected to tell the truth
under oath. During his testimony before the Senate,
Thomas said that he believed "In my view there
is a right to privacy in the 14th Amendment." A
key Democrat, Dennis DeConcini, supported Thomas in
no small part because of this statement. He said
is a very important point," adding "I was
also pleased to hear that Judge Thomas agrees that the
fundamental right to privacy also extends to non-married
individuals. He repeatedly stated that he agreed with
the Supreme Court's leading precedent in this area,"
which "extended the right to privacy stated in"
Griswold v. Connecticut, which dealt with married
couples right to buy contraceptives.
Kamen pointed out that DeConcini provided key support
for Thomas's narrow 52-48 victory in being appointed
to the Supreme Court. Not only was his own vote crucial,
the respect with which he was held by his colleagues
may well have made the margin of difference.
observed "in the court's ruling in June striking
down anti-sodomy laws, Thomas dissented, saying: 'And
just like Justice Stewart, I "can find [neither
in the Bill of Rights nor any other part of the Constitution
a] general right of privacy," ' quoting Potter
Stewart's dissent in the Griswold case."
didn't bother to explain why he changed his mind, which
may make sense if we grant that he hadn't that
he had lied in order to win his appointment.
Noah found another lie Thomas told while being questioned
for his Supreme Court nomination. In 1991, Thomas replied
to a question about his position on Roe vs. Wade:
"Senator, your question to me was did I debate
the contents of Roe v. Wade, the outcome in Roe
v. Wade, do I have this day an opinion, a personal
opinion on the outcome in Roe v. Wade; and my
answer to you is that I do not."
aside the improbability of a politically conservative
justice not having an opinion on one of the most important
court decisions for conservatives and women in our history,
it was also a simple lie.
Peyton Thomas writes in his biography of Clarence Thomas,
"[Thomas] discussed abortion a good deal with [his
fellow lawyer in the Missouri attorney general's office]
Mike Boicourt, who was working on several cases in which
the state was defending statutes restricting the right
to an abortion (and he would go on to be the lead counsel
in the landmark abortion case Webster v. Reproductive
Health Services, handed down by the Supreme Court
in 1989). Because of his views, Boicourt was 'ambivalent'
about his work on these cases. Thomas, on the other
hand, made it clear that he was anti-abortion. As part
of these conversations, Boicourt and Thomas discussed
Roe. Boicourt said years later that he could
not remember what Thomas's views were." (p. 165)
Noah depicts other times when Thomas strongly opposed
Roe vs. Wade before he testified under oath to
Mariner offers still more insight on Thomas' character
and decency, the virtues which the radical right talks
so much of and practices so little: "On those occasions
where Thomas finds it necessary to write separately
to give full and undiluted expression to his
views it is typically to press for some radical
limitation on basic rights. Hence his 1992 dissent in
an Alabama prison case, in which he argued that the
Eighth Amendment only applies to sentencing decisions
and is of no help to inmates facing physical abuse at
the hands of their jailers.
for Thomas' 1994 concurrence in a Georgia case involving
racial discrimination in political representation, in
which he attacked the 1965 Voting Rights Act. And more
of the same in a chilling duo of cases, decided in 2001
and 2002, in which Thomas expressed support for enforcing
the death penalty even though juries were never informed
that the defendant would be ineligible for parole if
given a life sentence."
background of deception, deceit, and heartlessness offers
us what we need to know to reasonably evaluate Thomas's
honesty in the famous conflict between him and Anita
Hill, who accused him of sustained sexual harassment
during his confirmation hearings. David Brock was paid
very well by the radical right to attack Hill's testimony,
attacks that culminated in his book The Real Anita
Hill. Thomas denied under oath (we know now what
that means) that he had sexually harassed Hill. He was
eventually believed by the same men who believed he
accepted a right of privacy in the 14th Amendment and
had not thought about Roe vs. Wade. Whatever this says
about the judgment of all too many Senators, it also
suggests Thomas might not have been honest about the
Anita Hill scandal.
turns out that David Brock, radical right literary hit
man, now believes he severely wronged Hill. Brock admits
he manipulated the truth and even out and out lied,
to defend Thomas and attack Hill. His book, Blinded
by The Right, is a must read for anyone wanting
to understand the Clarence Thomas Anita Hill affair,
or the character of the radical right. It is also a
hopeful tale of how even ideologues can sometimes be
transformed by the power of truth.
course, the same right that paid Brock to lie now claims
that Brock can't be trusted because he lied. David
Horowitz in particular accused Brock of lying,
but could make the claim only by distorting the truth.
A little decent journalism left the score Brock: 10,
Horowitz, 0. A good discussion of this issue, and the
intellectual dishonesty of the radical right over time,