Clarence Thomas: 20 Years on Bench Reveals Harsh Judgement History

June 14, 2011 ‐ By TheEditor

Clarence ThomasBy Alexis Garrett Stodghill

As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas nears his twentieth anniversary of service, his tendency towards extreme conservatism is coming under examination. Thomas, as an African-American male from a self-professed difficult background, has been found to be the least sympathetic justice to either blacks or the disadvantaged when considering cases. The man is known for his strict belief that criminal acts should be punished with the full force possible regardless of mitigating circumstances. Yet, he displays a capacity for flexibility when interpreting laws enacted to protect those in vulnerable positions. Now, as he ends the second decade of his tenure, Thomas’ conservatism is increasing as he dials back what little leniency he ever offered to defendants. USA Today reports:

… Thomas’ pattern of ruling against criminal defendants is only deeper.

“Justice Thomas is probably the most conservative on matters related to crime and punishment, followed closely by Justice (Samuel) Alito” says Cornell law professor John Blume. He notes that Alito, who joined the court in 2006, is a former federal prosecutor.

Thomas often separates himself from fellow justices with his lack of consideration for a defendant’s plight. “Some of his opinions reveal a failure to appreciate the facts and circumstances of (a defendant’s) life,” Blume said, “and a myopic focus on the crime itself.”

Examples of Clarence Thomas acting callously from his position of power are legion. Recently, Thomas wrote the supporting argument in a case that overturned a $14 million award an African-American defendant had received for a wrongful imprisonment suit that proved police had hidden helpful evidence. Thomas was also the sole justice to advocate disregarding a 1965 law that protects the rights of blacks when considering a 2009 voting rights case. In addition, Thomas  tends to focus on the letter of the law when considering complex circumstances, rarely appreciating a defendant’s history or any efforts made to compensate for crimes when weighing punishments.

USA Today compares Justice Thomas with his African-American predecessor Thurgood Marshall, observing that if Thomas serves as long as Marshall did, we could have 20 more years of his intensely conservative opinion influencing America’s highest court. As he increasingly displays a hard stance, Thomas could become more than just the symbolic foe he has been to African-Americans for nearly 20 years.

Thomas’ influence impacts the decisions of today’s Supreme Court, touches the minds of current law school thinkers, and forms the basis of precedents used to argue future cases. Under Thomas, the Supreme Court could endanger black voting rights while protecting crooked cops — thus removing what little humanity the criminal justice system has left, if his recent activities are on the increase as USA Today asserts.

Justice Thomas is transforming himself from being the impotent butt of political sex jokes into our worst nightmare as his opinions strike at the legal wins blacks achieved during the civil rights era. He has made these moves quietly, rarely speaking out in court as his influence runs deep. If those on the left don’t check his insidious influence, blacks might have to fight again for the basic legal protections that we’re taking for granted.


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  • Joel Friedlander

    While I generally have moderate feelings towards President George H. W. Bush, his nomination of Clarence Thomas was one of the worst things that he did in office. On the other hand, President Dwight D. Eisenhower often said that his nomination of Earl Warren, the Conservative former governor of California, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was the worst damn fool thing I ever did. I don't suspect that Bush 41 had any idea what a monster Thomas would turn out to be, any more than Ike had what a liberal Warren would be. I second the suggestion of Mr. Sowers infra, who says that no judge should ever get a lifetime appointment.

  • Wallace W Smith

    Clarence Thomas used the race card to get appointed to the Supreme Court . He will go down in history as the worst justice ever. Ms Hill told the true about Clarence.

  • justiceminded

    nice to hear a justice not thrown by public opinion or issuing a more lenient verdict because of skin color. Seems to me he choses the law over emotion. Supreme court justices do not often rule on petty cases where sympathy is often granted and sometimes necessary. As a black man you should honor his ability to consider skin color last, instead of the very first response like Jesse Jackson and Al "ambalance' Sharpton. By the way, Glenn Beck has praised the name of Jesus more this year than both "reverends" in my lifetime of analyzing the daily digest of news.

  • W C

    Clarence Thomas = MAJOR A*****E!

  • bennie sowers

    Clarence Thomas is the reason that this country should end life time appointments to the supreme court and the congressional offices. This one man should never be allowed to get away with the hate and misery he obviously is filled with. Its Time for the people especially black people to rise up and fight for his termination as well as many others who hang on to that old deep seated hatred.

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