Clarence Thomas is an incredibly inspiring Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a champion of the clarity, logic and real meaning of the Constitution, absolutely unwavering in his dedication to the rule of law rather than the worship of ideological certainties.
You know what all this means, don’t you? If caught in situations like the one in which the late, rightly acclaimed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was involved, he could be thrown to the wolves.
And sorry to say, it happened. His wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, is a pro-Trump, dedicated, right-wing activist who emailed Donald Trump’s chief of staff after the 2020 presidential election claiming Joe Biden had won by fraud. Most of us say phooey at her conclusion, but she had every right to do so. She and her husband received no financial benefit. He stays away from his political activities and therefore does not need to be investigated or recuse himself from a whole bunch of cases in which he will continue his decades-long judicial consistency on the side of the truth as he sees it.
Oh, but wait, it is said angrily, he was the only judge to vote against this chief of staff to turn over certain documents related to the Capitol riot on January 6 and wanted by the House of Representatives. This material included Ginni Thomas’ emails, but they had already been delivered to the House and Thomas’ vote was consistent with her record of honoring executive privilege.
Compare that to Ginsburg whose husband, a lawyer named Martin Ginsburg, made a lot of money handling cases related to Supreme Court decisions in which she was involved. He has divested from stocks in companies that could benefit from such decisions, but understand that there are many judges who have crossed such lines without equivalent of divesting, and what about associations ultra- interests of Joe Biden and his son Hunter with foreign companies with vested government interests? The House Jan. 6 committee is nonetheless now probing Thomas as a skunk that smelled something funny.
The thing about Thomas is that his political thinking fits a despised style of traditionalism tied to beliefs in freedom, democracy, equality before the law, our precious rights, and respect for laws prohibiting public entities from racial discrimination. called positive action. Humiliation was once imposed on Thomas without any evidence that he somehow lacked the merit of his white competitors.
To read his writings is to understand his writings, as opposed to the arcane and confusing legalese that judges so often employ to cautiously defend the indefensible. By explicitly saying what he really means, Thomas is like the late great Antonin Scalia, just as he is like him in embracing the basics. Thomas’ integrity shines, even as he had to survive a shameful and often misinterpreted hearing conducted by Senator Joe Biden before the Senate approved his nomination to the court.
I don’t think every time a minority is criticized it’s because they’re a minority, but I do believe that racism is still a terrible disease to fight and that the widespread vitriolic attacks on Thomas have something to do with the fact that he is black. Left-wing supremacists of different skin colors, for example, have called Thomas Uncle Tom soothing racists. What the supremacists really want is to reshape the best of America in the name of an unconscious “awakening” encouraging the worst of America.
Thomas’ story is a wonderful story about truly improving the lives of black Americans, a story of his upbringing by an amazing grandfather who refused to give in to racism, who believed in self-determination, hard work, to overcoming obstacles, to pride in accomplishments, who passed it all on to Thomas whose example surely passes it on to others. The people who attack him now obviously include those who think differently, who assume that their implicitly degrading attitudes towards abused minorities demand their imagined superiority.
Jay Ambrose is opinion columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.