The Volokh Conspiracy

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WaPo Describes Justice Thomas: "the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives."

Discourse about race is upside down and backwards.


Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is pushing Judge J. Michelle Childs for the Supreme Court. Yet, some progressives are worried that she may be too moderate. The Washington Post wrote a lengthy article about Clyburn, and his influence on President Biden. The article contends that Childs is not moderate, but will make progressives happy. The Post quotes Rep. Bennie Thompson (the chair of the January 6 Commission) to assuage concerns about Childs on the left:

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), a friend and ally of Clyburn's for over 30 years, said even Clyburn's critics respect his political instincts and his connection with a valuable but often disappointed subset of Democratic voters.
"Nobody that I'm aware of feels that opposing Clyburn's nomination would be the wise thing to do," he said. "If you know that a person has been vetted by Jim Clyburn, you know that person won't go to the court and end up being a Clarence Thomas," referring to the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives.

The Washington Post wrote the emphasized portion. You know, Justice Thomas, the black justice who thinks like a white person. The Washington Post called Justice Thomas an Oreo. And that statement isn't even accurate! The Court's white conservatives issue rulings that often resemble those of Justice Thomas. Thomas is the intellectual leader of the Court's conservative wing. And he has been for decades. Gorsuch, Alito, and the rest are just trying to keep up with CT. But once again, we get the racist trope that Thomas is Scalia's clone. Just the opposite. Scalia often remarked that Thomas pushed him to the right. What lazy writing from the Post.

Discourse about race is upside and backwards. Racially-tinted sentiments about progressives are grounds for immediate cancellation. Racially-charged attacks about conservatives are offered as objective facts in a newspaper of record.

This article brings to mind an exchange between Justice Thomas and then-Senator Biden more than three decades ago.

And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S.—U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.

Justice Thomas still deigns to think for himself, and refuses to kowtow to the old order run by Thompson and Clyburn. And for that reason, he continues to be destroyed by the left, without even the slightest hesitation.

Oh, and by the way, in 2005 then-Senator Biden threatened to filibuster then-Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who credibly could have (and should have) become the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

Finally, the knives are out for Judge Childs. Consider this charge in Nina Totenberg's report:

Born in Detroit in 1966, she was 13 when her mother, a Michigan Bell telephone manager, moved the family to South Carolina. By then her mother and father had been divorced for some time. But within months of the move, the judge recalled in a 2018 speech, "I received a phone call that my father, a police officer, had died in Detroit from gunshot wounds. Of course, I was devastated."

Beyond that, little is publicly known about her father's death in 1980, except that the Associated Press reported at the time that that he "died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest." Although Rep. James Clyburn, who has been aggressively lobbying for Childs' nomination, has said her father died "in the line of duty," Ralph Childs is not on the Michigan state list of "fallen officers" in 1980.

Totenberg "in some form or another suggested" that the story about Judge Childs's father's death may not be entirely accurate. Are we really going there? Critiquing Childs for not accurately characterizing the death of her father? Has anyone checked out Judge Childs's high school yearbook? She was valedictorian after all. Who knows what she wrote!? If only Michael Avenatti was free to help out. Maybe the prison library has some resources.

This process will get even uglier, very quickly.