Justice Clarence Thomas Speaks — And Oh What A Speech!

I will not be characterized as a Europhile. I love the United States.


David Lat
Above the Law
15 Nov 2013

…People who have read Justice Thomas’s extraordinary memoir, My Grandfather’s Son (affiliate link), are familiar with his journey from being a supporter of the Black Panthers to a rock-ribbed conservative. If you’re not familiar with it, this exchange from last night pretty much captures it:

Judge Sykes: You were something of a campus radical.

Justice Thomas: Yeah, but I wasn’t a dope head. The sixties were different.

They sure were. Cf. Justice Alito’s Fed Soc speech from last year (“who put the acid in the wine”).

Justice Thomas is sometimes described by liberal commentators — including one of my colleagues, Elie Mystal — as bitter and angry. But as he explained in a particularly heartfelt part of the conversation, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He vividly recalled the emotional morning of April 16, 1970, when he returned to Holy Cross College after attending a riot in Harvard Square. Deeply troubled by how full he was of hate, he prayed to God and promised that if God could help him through this darkness, he would never hate again.

God came through for him — and Justice Thomas was forever changed. So he rejects any portraits of him as angry, hateful, or obsessed with settling old scores:

That is the opposite of the way I was raised, the opposite of the deal I made with God on April 16…

…Justice Thomas gushed about his law clerks, who are like family to him, and talked about how he takes them to Gettysburg each year. Why? “I want them to understand the price that was paid for this country.”

In response to a question from Judge Sykes about what President Abraham Lincoln and the words of the Gettysburg Address mean to him today, Justice Thomas had this to say:

If not for the Thirteenth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Fifteenth levitra professional overnight delivery Amendment, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I wouldn’t be sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States.

“This country isn’t perfect,” Justice Thomas said, “but it’s perfectible. That’s what Lincoln’s words mean to me.”



Read the entire article at Above the Law.



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