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Old 05-29-2009, 07:47 AM
 
3,553 posts, read 6,943,246 times
Reputation: 2314

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No, this is NOT a Sotomayor thread.

There has been a lot of noise from the (unelected) right wing this week about President Obama's candidate to fill the just opening seat on the SCOTUS. We've heard that she's an affirmative action pick, "not that bright", argumentative etc. However, almost NO Republican who has to win reelection has chimed in with this tripe.

But let's take a look at an already sitting Justice, Clarence Thomas, and see how he stacks up alongside Sotomayor:

The White House description of him as "the most qualified [candidate] at this time." As Thomas confessed in his memoir a few years ago, "Even I had my doubts about so extravagant a claim."

I'll have to give Thomas more credit for introspection than Bush had. Bush was so emphatic in his statements that it was laughable.

Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals.

He had never written a significant legal brief or article.

He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement.

He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indeed, his entire career had resulted from affirmative action,
a: beginning with his admission to Holy Cross College,

b:continuing with his acceptance by Yale Law School,

c: including his first job as an assistant attorney general in Missouri.

Speaking of Yale Law, law professor Ralph K. Winter, the Federalist Society eminence who was quoted back then complaining that none of the minority students at Yale were truly qualified to be there.

Still, when Missouri Attorney General (and later Republican senator) John Danforth came to Yale, his legal alma mater, in search of African-American employees for his office, Thomas stepped right up.

Was John Danfort filling a quota?

Every account from the Bush White House indicates that Bush and his aides went through a list of potential African-American nominees to the high court -- and rejected politically moderate judges with better qualifications than Thomas. They picked him because they had to fill a "black seat" on the court, and because he was prepared to enforce their ideology on the court -- a function he has reliably performed in lockstep with Justice Antonin Scalia.

In other words, Thomas was chosen from a Bush White House shortlist that excluded white males (sound familiar?), which is supposedly a profound sin when committed by the Obama White House in selecting Sotomayor.


It is a curious worldview that would validate Thomas and denigrate Sotomayor, when the contrast in their records reflects so well on her and so poorly on him. It is strange, too, that the same conservatives who found the saga of Clarence Thomas and his rise from obscurity so inspiring seem to find no such inspiration in the very similar story of Sonia Sotomayor.

In his memoir, Thomas recalls the innocent delight of old friends and family, who "saw my nomination as an affirmation of the American dream: a poor black child from the segregated South had grown up to become a Supreme Court justice. Who could be against that?" The same question can be turned around now -- with considerably greater justification.

Yet the right can never bring its corrosive racial skepticism to bear on Thomas, a man who had proven his willingness to parrot reactionary bromides. He is the single most prominent beneficiary of the quest for diversity in American history, but he is their diversity candidate -- and thus deserved elevation, if not as a distinguished jurist, then because he had suffered discrimination as a conservative.

golfgod
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:53 AM
 
6,899 posts, read 6,585,742 times
Reputation: 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
No, this is NOT a Sotomayor thread.

There has been a lot of noise from the (unelected) right wing this week about President Obama's candidate to fill the just opening seat on the SCOTUS. We've heard that she's an affirmative action pick, "not that bright", argumentative etc. However, almost NO Republican who has to win reelection has chimed in with this tripe.

But let's take a look at an already sitting Justice, Clarence Thomas, and see how he stacks up alongside Sotomayor:

The White House description of him as "the most qualified [candidate] at this time." As Thomas confessed in his memoir a few years ago, "Even I had my doubts about so extravagant a claim."

I'll have to give Thomas more credit for introspection than Bush had. Bush was so emphatic in his statements that it was laughable.

Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals.

He had never written a significant legal brief or article.

He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement.

He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indeed, his entire career had resulted from affirmative action,
a: beginning with his admission to Holy Cross College,

b:continuing with his acceptance by Yale Law School,

c: including his first job as an assistant attorney general in Missouri.

Speaking of Yale Law, law professor Ralph K. Winter, the Federalist Society eminence who was quoted back then complaining that none of the minority students at Yale were truly qualified to be there.

Still, when Missouri Attorney General (and later Republican senator) John Danforth came to Yale, his legal alma mater, in search of African-American employees for his office, Thomas stepped right up.

Was John Danfort filling a quota?

Every account from the Bush White House indicates that Bush and his aides went through a list of potential African-American nominees to the high court -- and rejected politically moderate judges with better qualifications than Thomas. They picked him because they had to fill a "black seat" on the court, and because he was prepared to enforce their ideology on the court -- a function he has reliably performed in lockstep with Justice Antonin Scalia.

In other words, Thomas was chosen from a Bush White House shortlist that excluded white males (sound familiar?), which is supposedly a profound sin when committed by the Obama White House in selecting Sotomayor.


It is a curious worldview that would validate Thomas and denigrate Sotomayor, when the contrast in their records reflects so well on her and so poorly on him. It is strange, too, that the same conservatives who found the saga of Clarence Thomas and his rise from obscurity so inspiring seem to find no such inspiration in the very similar story of Sonia Sotomayor.

In his memoir, Thomas recalls the innocent delight of old friends and family, who "saw my nomination as an affirmation of the American dream: a poor black child from the segregated South had grown up to become a Supreme Court justice. Who could be against that?" The same question can be turned around now -- with considerably greater justification.

Yet the right can never bring its corrosive racial skepticism to bear on Thomas, a man who had proven his willingness to parrot reactionary bromides. He is the single most prominent beneficiary of the quest for diversity in American history, but he is their diversity candidate -- and thus deserved elevation, if not as a distinguished jurist, then because he had suffered discrimination as a conservative.

golfgod

Wish i could rep you more than once on this. I've seen threads on this site the past that claims Blacks have a problem with Thomas because he's a conservative. Thats not it at all....Its the hypocrisy of his beginnings and career
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:06 AM
 
519 posts, read 608,021 times
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So, instead of performing a massive amount of Hindsight 20/20 research, why don't you go back to the real archives of history and post the collective criticism of Thomas that was taking place at the time of his appointment?

Second, you should provide evidence of "validating" Thomas. No, not a 2009 article. Prove to us that there was ABSOLUTELY NO CONTESTING of Thomas' affirmative action appointment at that point in history (1991). You simply ignore the protests that surrounded his appointment. How convenient. My bet is that you won't do it because it doesn't support this revisionist hypothesis that you apparently spent an hour writing.

Furthermore, Affirmative Action was arguably more relevant in 1991 than it is in 2009. An Affirmative Action appointment in 2009 is beyond ludicrous. Unbelievable that you purposely leave out the context of the times in your assessment. Eighteen years have passed and you simply ignore the gains that minorities have made in that time. Idiocy.

Your Hindsight 20/20 assessment is petty and downright hilarious. One-sided doesn't even begin to describe your attempt.

Last edited by Johnny B. Fury; 05-29-2009 at 08:33 AM..
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:12 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,391,118 times
Reputation: 4002
Clarence Thomas is a man of lofty intellectual stature who worked his butt off to get up from where he started and on to someplace else. To the extent that he was ever a beneficiary of AA, it is testimony only to the sad fact that AA is a necessary thing if talented people from his backgrounds are to be identified and so much as offered entry into the system. It is no diminution of Thomas at all.

Justice Thomas may rightly be judged and even criticized for mistakes and misbehaviors of his own past. It is also unfortunate that so many of his legal opinions are drawn from a genuinely misleading perspective. But unlike so many from Justice Scalia, Thomas's opinions tend to be well-considered and well-developed. He is well worthy of being approached in either agreement or disagreement on level and equitable ground.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:46 PM
 
3,553 posts, read 6,943,246 times
Reputation: 2314
Johnny B. Fury (in an attempt at "old fashioned American gibberish) wrote;

Quote:
So, instead of performing a massive amount of Hindsight 20/20 research, why don't you go back to the real archives of history and post the collective criticism of Thomas that was taking place at the time of his appointment?
No need to perform a "massive amount of hindsight 20/20 research", I lived through it. If you (can) read the OP you'll notice that this thread was not so much about Thomas (although by default it must be) as it is about those who selected, vetted and praised him, who now are tearing down Sotomayor.

Quote:
Second, you should provide evidence of "validating" Thomas. No, not a 2009 article. Prove to us that there was ABSOLUTELY NO CONTESTING of Thomas' affirmative action appointment at that point in history (1991). You simply ignore the protests that surrounded his appointment. How convenient. My bet is that you won't do it because it doesn't support this revisionist hypothesis that you apparently spent an hour writing.
I'm not sure what you mean by "validating", yes I know what the word means, just not sure how you are using it. Again, it wasn't about anyone contesting his AA appointment (no Republican would have protested it, he was "their" pick after all. Again no need to bring up the protests, which were by the Ds, not the Rs who praised him, but now revile Sotomayor. This is not a "revisionist" hypothesis, what I wrote were facts about Thomas, those who hired him, promoted him in his Government service and then put him up for Justice.

Can you show that any of my statements are not true?

Quote:
Furthermore, Affirmative Action was arguably more relevant in 1991 than it is in 2009. An Affirmative Action appointment in 2009 is beyond ludicrous. Unbelievable that you purposely leave out the context of the times in your assessment. Eighteen years have passed and you simply ignore the gains that minorities have made in that time.
I never made any statement about the appropriateness of AA, either then or now. Hence there is no need to leave out the context of the times in my "assessment".

Quote:
Your Hindsight 20/20 assessment is petty and downright hilarious. One-sided doesn't even begin to describe your attempt.
As I have proposed to other posters on here; you really should consider a class in elementary reading, along with one in how to critically examine a statement and offer some refutation to what was written. Otherwise you run the risk, as in your post, of resembling the old theory about "a million monkeys pounding on a million typewriters duplicating Shakespeare".

Probably past your beddy bye time now. But on Saturday morning, after you've had your cereal and watched your cartoons, ask Mummy or Daddy to read this and explain it to you.

golfgod
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Midessa, Texas Home Yangzhou, Jiangsu temporarily
1,505 posts, read 3,847,271 times
Reputation: 931
Excellent post OP. There is hypocrisy about racism in both parties.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:21 PM
 
3,553 posts, read 6,943,246 times
Reputation: 2314
saganista wrote;
Quote:
Justice Thomas may rightly be judged and even criticized for mistakes and misbehaviors of his own past. It is also unfortunate that so many of his legal opinions are drawn from a genuinely misleading perspective. But unlike so many from Justice Scalia, Thomas's opinions tend to be well-considered and well-developed. He is well worthy of being approached in either agreement or disagreement on level and equitable ground.
I often agree with you, but do you have evidence of a Thomas opinion that was at variance with a Scalia opinion? I haven't reviewed them in a couple of years but the last time I saw them compared they were well north of 99.99% congruent.

I agree with your well thought out statement about the need for AA to identify and bring into the mainstream those who might not otherwise be. And however he got into college and law school he did, in fact graduate. I don't know his grades, but from everything I've ever heard out of him he seems to be a bit of a lightweight. I doubt that the points I brought up in the OP have changed much since he got on the SC.

Great post.

golfgod
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:40 PM
 
8,640 posts, read 7,982,132 times
Reputation: 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
No, this is NOT a Sotomayor thread.

There has been a lot of noise from the (unelected) right wing this week about President Obama's candidate to fill the just opening seat on the SCOTUS. We've heard that she's an affirmative action pick, "not that bright", argumentative etc. However, almost NO Republican who has to win reelection has chimed in with this tripe.

But let's take a look at an already sitting Justice, Clarence Thomas, and see how he stacks up alongside Sotomayor:

The White House description of him as "the most qualified [candidate] at this time." As Thomas confessed in his memoir a few years ago, "Even I had my doubts about so extravagant a claim."

I'll have to give Thomas more credit for introspection than Bush had. Bush was so emphatic in his statements that it was laughable.

Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals.

He had never written a significant legal brief or article.

He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement.

He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indeed, his entire career had resulted from affirmative action,
a: beginning with his admission to Holy Cross College,

b:continuing with his acceptance by Yale Law School,

c: including his first job as an assistant attorney general in Missouri.

Speaking of Yale Law, law professor Ralph K. Winter, the Federalist Society eminence who was quoted back then complaining that none of the minority students at Yale were truly qualified to be there.

Still, when Missouri Attorney General (and later Republican senator) John Danforth came to Yale, his legal alma mater, in search of African-American employees for his office, Thomas stepped right up.

Was John Danfort filling a quota?

Every account from the Bush White House indicates that Bush and his aides went through a list of potential African-American nominees to the high court -- and rejected politically moderate judges with better qualifications than Thomas. They picked him because they had to fill a "black seat" on the court, and because he was prepared to enforce their ideology on the court -- a function he has reliably performed in lockstep with Justice Antonin Scalia.

In other words, Thomas was chosen from a Bush White House shortlist that excluded white males (sound familiar?), which is supposedly a profound sin when committed by the Obama White House in selecting Sotomayor.


It is a curious worldview that would validate Thomas and denigrate Sotomayor, when the contrast in their records reflects so well on her and so poorly on him. It is strange, too, that the same conservatives who found the saga of Clarence Thomas and his rise from obscurity so inspiring seem to find no such inspiration in the very similar story of Sonia Sotomayor.

In his memoir, Thomas recalls the innocent delight of old friends and family, who "saw my nomination as an affirmation of the American dream: a poor black child from the segregated South had grown up to become a Supreme Court justice. Who could be against that?" The same question can be turned around now -- with considerably greater justification.

Yet the right can never bring its corrosive racial skepticism to bear on Thomas, a man who had proven his willingness to parrot reactionary bromides. He is the single most prominent beneficiary of the quest for diversity in American history, but he is their diversity candidate -- and thus deserved elevation, if not as a distinguished jurist, then because he had suffered discrimination as a conservative.

golfgod

Even with that we have never heard Thomas say he was wiser then a white man or hispanic. The topic is racism. Your topic is quotas and politics which does not come down to the level of outright racism.

Last edited by dcsldcd; 05-29-2009 at 08:52 PM..
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:48 PM
 
6,760 posts, read 10,436,428 times
Reputation: 2996
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
In other words, Thomas was chosen from a Bush White House shortlist that excluded white males (sound familiar?), which is supposedly a profound sin when committed by the Obama White House in selecting Sotomayor.

I could care less what race Obama's shortlist was made up of, or gender. Why should that matter? That isn't the problem. The problem is he picked one that made blatant racist statements and is also associated with a very racist organization. And even after all that, I am not that bothered by her getting nominated and actually hope she gets confirmed as Obama could have chosen much worse.
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:37 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,391,118 times
Reputation: 4002
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
I often agree with you, but do you have evidence of a Thomas opinion that was at variance with a Scalia opinion? I haven't reviewed them in a couple of years but the last time I saw them compared they were well north of 99.99% congruent.
I was originally commenting on the quality of Thomas's opinions which -- while often ending wrongly in my opinion -- tend to be serious, thoughtful, consistent, and well-written works. Justice Scalia by contrast tends to produce rambling, simplistic, and relatively incoherent opinions. Both coming from a conservative viewpoint, they do often enough vote together, though 99.99% would likely be an overestimate, especially if matters of separate concurrences and dissents are taken into consideration. I am only voicing my own impressions here, but I basically don't have the level of juridical problems with Justice Thomas (other than his being wrong so often) as I would with Justice Scalia. I would consider Justice Scalia to be reckless and dangerous in both temperament and philosophy. And he's wrong most of the time, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
And however he got into college and law school he did, in fact graduate. I don't know his grades, but from everything I've ever heard out of him he seems to be a bit of a lightweight.
His grades would certainly not match up with those of Obama, but if anything, Thomas came from even closer to nowhere that the President, and being 13 years older, did so in a more difficult time and place for blacks. Thomas does not ask questions during oral argument and has not often chosen to put himself in the public eye. As the result, he is perhaps the least well or widely known of all his contemporaries on the Court, and that reclusiveness may tend to obscure some of the depth and seriousness that he does bring to his position. As I have said, his decisions are often wrong in my view, and he has made his share of mistakes otherwise as well, so there is enough to criticize for those who wish to do so, but I would personally put him well above the rank as a jurist and an intellect that some will seek to ascribe to him.
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