Antonin Scalia

Not-So-Doubting About Thomas (Veiled Subscription Pitch)


The Wash Post has a long series of articles about controversial Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Overall, the thrust is respectful and in many ways positive, perhaps anticipating a shift in the mainstream media's generally negative and antagonistic attitude about the guy.

One passage in the main story sticks out–and helps explain why Thomas was included in Reason's list of "35 Heroes of Freedom" in last December's issue. The short answer for us is that Thomas is "a reliable defender of freedom of speech in such diverse contexts as advertising, broadcasting, and campaign contributions." The Post writes:

Thomas and Scalia have voted against laws regulating campaign fundraising and spending, arguing that they restrict the free-speech rights of political candidates. But Thomas often has gone further than Scalia in defending the First Amendment—in fact, Thomas has been one of the amendment's staunchest defenders on the court. In 2000, for example, Thomas cast the decisive vote against a federal law requiring cable television stations to do a better job of scrambling their sexually explicit programs. Thomas saw the broadcasts as protected by the First Amendment, while Scalia did not.

Insert Long Dong Silver joke here and the read the whole Post thing here.

Read Reason's list of 35 heroes–a pointedly partial and eclectic listing of folks who have made the world "groovier and groovier" since the mag got started in 1968–here. Where else, I ask you, are you going to find a list that includes Thomas, baseball maverick Curt Flood, WELL founder Stewart Brand, C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, Madonna, and Little House on the Prairie editor Rose Wilder Lane?

And read the late Edith Efron's 1992 National Magazine Award finalist essay on Clarence Thomas here:

"Native Son:
Why A Black Supreme Court Justice Has No Rights A White Man Need Respect"

And while you're at it, why don't you subscribe to the print edition of Reason? Subscribers get their lushly illustrated copy a month before it becomes available on the Web (so they've already learned why "Voting is a lot like sex").

A full year (11 issues) costs only $19.95 and also gets you a paperback copy of our acclaimed new anthology Choice: The Best of Reason (offer ends December 31, 2004). Go here to subscribe, here to renew (and get a copy of Choice), and here to buy Choice as a hardcover or softcover.