The Token Club

Dashiell

casablanca31.jpgClarence Thomas has recently written a book called My Grandfather’s Son. The title is unsurprising if one remembers the tendency of self-righteous male political figures to invoke their fathers. The book is a dull read: Thomas devotes a great deal of space to sputtering denunciations of liberalism, and an unseemly obsession with his own perceived status as victim of liberal elites. It would seem that, incapable of writing a decent opinion for the Supreme Court, he will have to settle for writing self-pitying and vindictive personal opinions in his ill-considered memoir. Foremost among Justice Thomas’ themes are his tired complaints concerning his confirmation hearings sixteen years ago. He reveals nothing that would effectively counter the testimony against him, but continues to throw dust in our eyes.

The Supreme Court

But let us leave aside the Anita Hill controversy-as important as it was, the allegations of sexual harassment obscured other substantive issues regarding Thomas. The American Bar Association gave Judge Thomas a very tentative rating of “qualified” in 1991, with two voting members on the panel voting for “unqualified.” To put this into perspective, you must realize that the third possible rating is “well qualified,” and that this highest rating is fairly easy to achieve. Samuel Alito, a legal mediocrity if there ever was one, got a “well qualified” rating from the ABA. More importantly, it was very unusual, and perhaps even unprecedented, for a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed without a unanimous evaluation of at least “qualified.”

Thomas never really practiced law, except for three years in the Missouri Attorney General’s office, where he worked on state tax issues. He was an in-house lawyer for Monsanto, which is not a job where you’d be expected to have much training in Constitutional law. He then rose through the ranks of the Reagan Administration, where he ended up heading the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (One should note that the Reaganites were pioneers in the practice of promoting right-wing blacks to positions previously identified with progressive liberal causes. (Perhaps you recall the crook Samuel Pierce, the secretary of HUD under Reagan.) Finally, Thomas served as a D.C. circuit judge for exactly one year before getting the call from Bush Sr.

George Bush Sr.

The occasion was the retirement of the ailing Thurgood Marshall (who died two years later), the first black member of the Supreme Court and one of the giants of the civil rights era; the man who argued Brown vs. Board of Education; a tireless defender of civil liberties, racial equality, and the rights of the accused. Shallow political thinking being what it is, it was generally assumed that he would replaced by another African American, without much attention being paid to what made this particular African American a great judge.

Now consider the thinking behind the nomination of Clarence Thomas by Poppy Bush and his gang. Here we have the retirement of a great black man, a defender of the oppressed and a champion of freedom and equality. The reasoning, if you can call it that, going on in the brains of these toad-like political hacks could be summarized as something like the following.

“So they want another black guy on the Court? Okay, let’s find a black guy who’s as right wing as they come. Let’s make sure he’s a mediocre lawyer with very little experience, even though there are many other black judges who are far more distinguished. And let’s nominate this nobody, this non-entity who represents a fraction of a percentage of the black community, to the highest court of the land.”

Thurgood Marshall

Think about the utter contempt that this nomination demonstrated-for the Court, for Marshall’s legacy, for the black community, for all of us. Consider how this strategy was calculated to turn the tables against civil rights, and against all the gains of that movement through decades of struggle. And remember that all this was to be accomplished by nominating a black man, and then contemplate the nauseating depths of political calculation to which George H.W. Bush and his advisers were willing to go. These were the guys that deliberately evoked racial hatred and fear in the 1988 campaign. They continued to push the Nixonian “Southern strategy” that used code words and secret winks to win the votes of white bigots, and keep the country divided for their own political advantage. Their successors have continued on the same road.

And Judge Thomas has been everything that they hoped he would be. He has consistently embraced the unchecked power of the police to do whatever they want against the citizenry of this country. In the backward march of the Court against racial equality, he has been in the forefront, to the point now where it seems as if we might as well reaffirm Plessy vs. Ferguson. He is the black Jim Crow. He is against abortion rights. He is for torture. He doesn’t even believe in the rule of legal precedent-one of the very foundations of our judicial system. His career on the Court has been one of astonishing mediocrity and ineptitude. And of course, he helped appoint Bush Jr. in 2000.

Clarence Thomas

In his spare time, he performed the ceremony for Rush Limbaugh’s third marriage. What a guy.

As for Poppy Bush’s strategy of racial contempt, the Shrub took it to a whole new level. The appointment of black rightists, culled from an African American population that is overwhelmingly progressive in its political and social leanings, is a Bush hallmark, with Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as the most conspicuous examples. (And when you need someone really batshit crazy to bring out during a crisis, there’s always Alan Keyes.)

You see, the evidence of New Orleans notwithstanding, Bush and the Republicans really do care about black people. They care so much that they’ve appointed blacks to the most important administration jobs-our chief liars, thieves and killers.

Cross posted at Dashiell

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~ by cdash on November 14, 2007.

14 Responses to “The Token Club”

  1. What price do you make it that Thomas actually wrote that book himself? I can’t put Thomas on having READ more than 50 books lifetime.

    If Pappy had gone against type and put up Leon Higginbotham for Marshall which he could have at that time given his post Iraq1 popularity, and had just remembered that it wasn’t a real, real good idea to mix wine and Halcion, he would have beaten The Big Dog in 1992.

  2. nd Judge Thomas has been everything that they hoped he would be. He has consistently embraced the unchecked power of the police to do whatever they want against the citizenry of this country. In the backward march of the Court against racial equality, he has been in the forefront, to the point now where it seems as if we might as well reaffirm Plessy vs. Ferguson. He is the black Jim Crow. He is against abortion rights. He is for torture. He doesn’t even believe in the rule of legal precedent-one of the very foundations of our judicial system. His career on the Court has been one of astonishing mediocrity and ineptitude.

    you are too kind to perhaps the second biggest travesty to hit the american people in recent history (the first being GWB). He isnt mediocre or inept — he sucks and has been a major reason for the downward spiral of the american judicial system, rule of law and jurisprudence. And the asswipe doesnt open his mouth EVER (perhaps because pubic hair would fall out). but the wingers love him — he is anti-choice. so the rest doesnt matter. and we are stuck with him for a very long time.

    the only thing his book is good for is to clean the shit off the constitution he and GWB have placed there.

  3. The scariest thing about Thomas is his philosophy in regard to our Constitution. He sees it as a malleable piece of paper. The struggles of civil rights pioneers mean very little to him. C-dash you hit it on the head- there were soo many better qualified minority candidates. But i attribute his appointment to the same strange phenomenon of putting people like Sharpton on a pedestal as the spokesman for black America.The same things happen when the t.v. news is live on the scene and find the most ignorant person to explain ‘what happened'(existential meltdown).
    There are obviously ,many rational well spoken Black people in acedemia(the world) that the media treat like anathema. Cornel West, Harry Edwards and many more.

  4. Although I’m fine with the idea of a minority being a “Conservative,” I must say many, or most, seem to be extreme in their ideology. I get the impression they are trying to “prove” to whomever that they really are down with the Wingnut agenda, and I find this bothersome.

    Thomas clearly benefited from Affirmative Action policies, and for him to partake in dismantling these programs after the fact seems mighty fucking convenient. If he’s so “ashamed” of his degree from Yale, why doesn’t he give it back? Why not go back to college and “earn” his degree this time around? After all, isn’t he a man of “Principles?”

    The other question I have, specifically about his degree, is, is Thomas tacitly admitting he didn’t deserve to go to Yale? In other words, is he acknowledging, without directly doing so, that his critics are correct about his intelligence?

    There is absolutely nothing spectacular about Thomas, and call me a romantic, but I firmly believe anyone who receives a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be extraordinary.

    People like Thomas give the Racists within the GOP permission.

  5. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptThe Token Club November 14th, 2007 Dashiell [IMG casablanca31.jpg]Clarence Thomas has recently written a book called My Grandfather’s Son. The title is unsurprising if one remembers the tendency of self-righteous male political figures to invoke their fathers. The book is a dull read: Thomas devotes a great deal of space to sputtering denunciations of liberalism, and an unseemly obsession with his own perceived status as victim of liberal elites. It would seem that, incapable of writing a dec […]

  6. IMO, the GOP is always sure to put in a guy that will be a tool for them. The fact that Thomas isn’t very bright and doesn’t have a thought of his own, has no respect for the Constitution and uses his power to bully women is exactly the M-O that the Republicans like.

    Bush did the same thing with Gonzo…he was a tool for the GOP and willing to sell out his own people. Thomas, in turn, has and still is selling out the black community.

    Great post.

  7. I think we have come a long way when a black man is maligned for what is inside of his head not the color of it.

    Right?

    The conversation on Thomas is his asinine political views.

    Right?

    The whole post is more or less about the inept process to appoint him.

    Right?

    It definitely isn’t about his race.

    Right?

  8. I think it’s both Dave. People like Thomas, Sowell, Malkin et al, remind me of the Pawnee.

    The Pawnee helped the Cavalry track down other tribes, and they were especially brutal. (I guess, as I said, to prove their loyalty).

    Black conservatives? I’m cool, but not with people like Thomas who want us to believe race is no longer an issue. He knows, I know, you know, we all know that such an idea is complete and utter bullshit.

    In fact, if he wasn’t black, he never would have been appointed. Thomas was a big “Fuck You” to everyone who wanted another minority to replace Marshall. And that seems, again, hypocritical considering his displeasure with his degree is because of affirmative action. I don’t hear him protesting his appointment to the Supreme Court.

    As for his mind, he’s a typical Wingnut. Marginally intelligent, rigid, but adept at faking it when necessary.

  9. Thomas is an idiot, a wingtard political hack who is and always has been a face for the wingtards to trot out when they get accused of bigotry.

    The Klanservatives have always needed their Uncle Toms for obfuscation purposes, and Uncle Thomas fits the bill nicely.

  10. No one can turn a phrase like JollyRoger…I just love that guy! 😀

  11. Jolly- My sentiments exactly.

    Mary- Doesn’t he? Jolly is wonderfully brutal, and that’s why I love him as well.

    We need more people to start being blunt, and to stop worrying about someone’s “feelings.” We can make time for group therapy later.

  12. I concur with Jolly as well. What more is there to say after the truth has been brought out by this post and the comment by Jolly.

  13. It angered me at the time that a great man, Thurgood Marshall, was replaced with … THAT. The anger has only grown over the years, as his performance justified my worst fears and more.

  14. I won’t try to add any of my coin to the excellent comments above, but y’all may find this Dana Milbank WaPo article interesting (tinied for your pleasure):

    http://heh.pl/&3eg

    I thought another blogger was joking at first with this actual Thomas quote from his speech at a Federalist Society soiree:

    “One thing I’ve demonstrated in 16 years is you can do this job without asking a single question.”

    Perhaps it could be said that at least Thomas has a sense of humor – he seems to get what a fuckin’ joke he is (sorry, the change was burning a hole in my pocket).

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