Barack Obama’s recent comment about Justice Thomas — that he would not have nominated Thomas for the Supreme Court due to Thomas’ “inexperience” — coupled with Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate, provide a painful reminder of the judicial confirmation wars of the past 20 plus years. I wrote about Biden’s central (and disgraceful) role in these wars here. I wondered why Thomas is singled out for having been inexperienced at the time of his nomination here.
The latter post brought this response from a reader:
The answer is this: liberals like Mr. Obama simply cannot fathom how a black person could hold seriously thought-out views about jurisprudence like those of Clarence Thomas. And there is something too crass about attacking Justice Thomas’ jurisprudence on the merits, as well as too time-consuming.
Liberals deem it too crass because they like to pretend that their objections are unrelated to politics, perhaps out of a concern that conservatives will apply the same approach to liberal judicial nominees when the tables are turned. So they find other reasons: Bork is too smart and doesn’t understand the “common man;” and Thomas is too dumb. But the Thomas-as-too-dumb view is too crass also, so the easy thing to do is say he was “unqualified” or too inexperienced.
Substantive critiques of Justice Thomas’ jurisprudence are too time-consuming because people like Mr. Obama don’t want to read, much less engage, his opinions. Note that criticisms of Justice Thomas never cite any examples of actual opinions he’s written. Obama certainly failed to do so at the Saddleback forum.
Ultimately, the theme continues for liberals: “self-hating” minorities who deviate from liberal orthodoxy are attacked because liberals view them as turn-coats. For more recent examples, see the treatment Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown received when the president nominated them to the D.C. Circuit, while the white guy, John Rodgers, sailed through to confirmation. And, recall Justice Thomas’ words:
“This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, 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. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
The “old order” is liberalism. Mr. Obama’s cheap shot against Justice Thomas, which would be applauded in Cambridge and Hyde Park, is the most recent example of the stereotypical left-wing effort to keep minorities on the plantation.
To comment on this post, go here.