Tag: Clarence Thomas

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My favorite Supreme Court Justice of all time is Clarence Thomas, for his courage in sticking to his principles, despite knowing they are unpopular with the tastemakers of the day, no matter the consequences. This courage was a deliberate decision by Thomas. In February 2001, he gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute outlining […]

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My wife and I just finished watching “Created Equal” ($.99 rental from Amazon Prime) and “Trump Card” ($4.99 rental from Prime). I would recommend both of them, although Trump Card can be depressing at times. Both have embedded in them different snapshots of the man that Joe Biden is. Preview Open

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Justice Thomas’s Blistering Dissent on Monday’s Abortion Ruling

 

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana abortion law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Chief Justice Roberts again sided with the left in Monday’s ruling on June Medical Services v. Russo. (PDF here.)

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas offered a blistering dissent not only against this decision but the entirety of abortion jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade was decided. Below are excerpts from Justice Thomas’s remarks.

Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction. As is often the case with legal challenges to abortion regulations, this suit was brought by abortionists and abortion clinics. Their sole claim before this Court is that Louisiana’s law violates the purported substantive due process right of a woman to abort her unborn child. But they concede that this right does not belong to them, and they seek to vindicate no private rights of their own. Under a proper understanding of Article III, these plaintiffs lack standing to invoke our jurisdiction.

An Afternoon with Friends and Justice Thomas

 

Gary Robbins, Bob Thompson, and I held a Ricochet mini-meetup on Saturday in Scottsdale, AZ. We met at the Il Capo Restaurant for a nice Italian lunch — Gary’s treat, so thanks again, my friend. In our lunch discussion, we reached complete political agreement on all issues. Gary is now a confirmed, ardent Trump enthusiast who loves walls and Big Beautiful Coal and hates Adam Schiff. No, wait, not yet. (He will be, once the Gary pod growing in my garage is matured.)

After lunch, Gary and I watched the new documentary about Justice Thomas, called Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words. I enjoyed the movie, which was a touching and interesting presentation of the life of this outstanding Justice and American hero. There was little focus on his jurisprudence, and much focus on his extraordinary life story, from extreme rural poverty on the Georgia coast during the Jim Crow era, to his study in a Catholic seminary, his days as a student radical in the ’60s, and his eventual development into a Reagan Republican.

There was significant coverage of the outrageous Senate hearing, for political junkies.

Myron Magnet joins Brian Anderson to discuss his new book, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

Magnet contends that Justice Thomas’s originalist jurisprudence offers a path forward for recovering our nation’s “lost Constitution” and restoring America as a free, self-governing nation made up of self-reliant citizens.

David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate stronger than expected economic growth of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019. They also pour cold water on the absurd notions that Anita Hill was treated unfairly by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 and that Clarence Thomas is somehow assumed guilty of doing what she accused him of doing. And they react to a judge in Massachusetts and the mayor of Baltimore finding themselves in heaps of legal trouble.

Quote of the Day: Judicial Perspective

 

“I don’t think I know a single judge who has allowed religion to interfere with their jobs. I think if you start the day on your knees, you approach your job differently from when you start thinking that someone anointed you to impose your will on others.” Justice Clarence Thomas

I once wrote a story featuring a monarchy in the far future. In it, the main character spoke at length about the vital nature of religion in such a society. Without faith, the king answers to no one in life or death. There is no law above him, no judgment.

Senator Collins: A True Stateswoman in the Kavanaugh Brawl

 

Senator Susan Collins is my hero for the day. I am always wary of Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME) when any check on abortion-on-demand is at issue. However, Senator Collins has been a true stateswoman in the Kavanaugh hearings. She has sent a letter to Chairman Grassley, published on her Senate webpage, which will make the absolute best out of the mess intentionally created by Senator Feinstein.

Senator Collins proposed the Judiciary Committee hearing open with the attorneys for the accuser and the accused questioning the two of them. This would let the strongest questions be asked before Senators start grandstanding or pulling punches. Senator Grassley knows he has a problem: he has no female Senator on his side of the room, so the optics will be bad if they don’t roll over. The two attorneys are both women.

Steven Hayward of Power Line believes that Senator Collins’ recommendation, if wisely adopted, will be decisive in this political contest:

#HimToo? Call Wavering Senators’ Bluff

 

If Sen. Flake, who the careful John Hinderaker now calls “traitor,” truly believes Judge Kavanaugh’s 11th -hour Democrat accuser, he will immediately call for the judge’s impeachment. If Flake and the abortion-on-demand supporters, Senators Collins and Murkowski, believe a word of the accusation against Judge Kavanaugh, if they even really believe the allegation is serious, then they will also immediately hold a press conference demanding the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas. They will do no such thing because they believe none of this.

As John Hinderaker explains:

“Traitor” is normally considered a harsh word, but it is the only printable thing I have called “Republican” Senator Jeff Flake since he announced, a few hours ago, that he is “not comfortable voting yes” on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His concern is the ridiculously stale allegation by Democrat professor Christine Ford that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to kiss her at a party when they were both high school students more than 30 years ago. You might reasonably think this is a joke. Unfortunately not.

Richard Epstein explores the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay marriage ceremony, critiques the judicial style of Anthony Kennedy, and explains how anti-discrimination laws have expanded beyond a useful scope.

The Real Fallout from Weinstein

 

Set aside the revulsion or shock over what Weinstein did. Set aside too the anger over the hypocrisy of those who knew of what he did and let him get away with it anyway. Instead, spare a thought for those whom Weinstein damaged without ever meeting them. I speak of the very youth of America who will ultimately bear the brunt of the punishment for the fools and power brokers who ever have covered for the creeps among the powerful.

The system that allowed Weinstein to flourish will likely remain unchanged, as the powerful will ever and always be protected and shielded until the dam breaks, while the national outrage instead ever further confuses and separates the relations between men and women, leaving honest and decent young men confused and afraid, and honest and decent young women even more unprotected against offense.

Why is this likely? Because it keeps happening. I came of age in the wake of the Clarence Thomas nonsense and public hysteria over sexual harassment. Set aside the question of whether Anita Hill was honest in her accusations, the fact was that her accusations were national news and endlessly discussed. Schools, colleges, and businesses nationwide, seeing the damage wrought merely by an unproven and ultimately unprovable accusation, reacted rapidly to create and enforce sweeping new policies governing the interactions between men and women in order to mitigate against charges directed their own way. In many respects this reaction went entirely too far.

QOTD: The Lynching of Clarence Thomas

 

When I stood next to the President in Kennebunkport being nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States, that was a high honor, but as I sit here before you 103 days later, that honor has been crushed. From the very beginning, charges were leveled against me from the shadows, charges of drug abuse, anti-Semitism, wife beating, drug use by family members, that I was a quote appointment, confirmation conversion, and much, much more. And now this.

Mr. Chairman, I am a victim of this process. My name has been harmed. My integrity has been harmed. My character has been harmed. My family has been harmed. My friends have been harmed. There is nothing this committee, this body, or this country can do to give me my good name back. Nothing. I will not provide the rope for my own lynching or for further humiliation. I am not going to engage in discussion nor will I submit to roving questions of what goes on in the most intimate parts of my private life or the sanctity of my bedroom. These are the most intimate parts of my privacy and they will remain just that, private.

Richard Epstein looks at a recent Supreme Court ruling that could have major implications for when and how religious institutions can access public money.

What African American Supreme Court Justice?

 
AA Smithsonian
The National Museum of African American History & Culture, Joel Mason-Gaines.

It turns out the new National Museum of African American History and Culture determined the second African American Justice on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, considered to be one of the greatest jurists of our time, has made no contributions worthy of note.

Utah v. Strieff and the Exclusionary Rule

 

shutterstock_258602471I haven’t had time to read the full decision yet, but am very curious to hear what the Ricochetti at large, and those with expertise in law enforcement and criminal law, think of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. The majority decision (written by Justice Thomas and joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito) maintains that evidence from a body search is admissible in court if it’s made upon realization that there the detained party has an outstanding warrant, even if the initial police stop is illegal. As described by Thomas, what happened was:

This case began with an anonymous tip. In December 2006, someone called the South Salt Lake City police’s drug-tip line to report “narcotics activity” at a particular residence. Narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell investigated the tip. Over the course of about a week, Officer Fackrell conducted intermittent surveillance of the home. He observed visitors who left a few minutes after arriving at the house. These visits were sufficiently frequent to raise his suspicion that the occupants were dealing drugs. One of those visitors was respondent Edward Strieff. Officer Fackrell observed Strieff exit the house and walk toward a nearby convenience store. In the store’s parking lot, Officer Fackrell detained Strieff, identified himself, and asked Strieff what he was doing at the residence. As part of the stop, Officer Fackrell requested Strieff ’s identification, and Strieff produced his Utah identification card. Officer Fackrell relayed Strieff’s information to a police dispatcher, who reported that Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Officer Fackrell then arrested Strieff pursuant to that warrant. When Officer Fackrell searched Strieff incident to the arrest, he discovered a baggie of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The State charged Strieff with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Strieff moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the evidence was inadmissible because it was derived from an unlawful investigatory stop. At the suppression hearing, the prosecutor conceded that Officer Fackrell lacked reasonable suspicion for the stop but argued that the evidence should not be suppressed because the existence of a valid arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the discovery of the contraband.

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After last night’s YouTube I got the impression that Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria is one of the rehabilitation efforts by Putin’s entertainment industry. It’s a tough job, but if anyone can do it, Putin’s people can. The film I was watching could be titled (awkwardly) Beria’s loss and arrest. I see that it’s six years old […]

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Apple, Originalism, and the All Writs Act

 

iPhone_6_PLUS_preview_MG_1875Originalism as a method of judicial interpretation is now irrelevant, some claimed after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. It never really worked and now it’s destined to fade away.

Tell that to federal magistrate judge James Orenstein in New York, who yesterday ruled for Apple in a case in which the feds had invoked the All Writs Act to demand the unlocking of the phone of suspected drug dealer Jun Feng (the case parallels the far higher-profile case of the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone).

The Act grants federal courts broad power to issue “necessary or appropriate” writs, which the government would like to interpret to include types of writ Congress has declined to authorize explicitly even after considering doing so. In Judge Orenstein’s reasoning, it matters very much what the All Writs Act was understood to mean at the time of its passage in 1789.

The Quiet Justice and the Constitution

 

clarence-thomasAnyone who follows the actual work product of the Supreme Court knows that oral argument has no correlation to quality of legal reasoning or sharpness of thought. Focusing on whether Justice Thomas has or has not asked questions is a red herring.

What counts is not questions from the bench, but the written word of the opinions. For many decades, Justices rarely asked questions and oral arguments would often go long stretches without any questions. In fact, it was Justice Scalia’s arrival that spurred the no-holds-barred questions and answers that are a feature of today’s oral arguments.

But the appellate review of the Supreme Court does not serve the same function as trial courtrooms, where the lawyers and their antics dominate the proceedings. The Supreme Court focuses mostly on the written briefs of the lawyers, the text and history of the Constitution, and its own precedents. The lawyers contribute very little in oral argument to the Supreme Court’s deliberations.

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I’m aware this post is not as timely as it would have been last November, but I’m eager to hear the Ricochet community’s thoughts. Last November, a few campus rabble rousers across the country delivered a wakeup call: institutions of higher learning are not doing enough to atone for the largely racial sins of the […]

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Some of us at Ricochet (including me) have criticized Will in the past. But in “The Constitution Is Clear: Congress Should Legislate, Not the Administrative State,” George Will gets it right. He’s writing on the delegation of legislative power from Congress to the executive branch, endorsing important critiques of that delegation from Clarence Thomas and […]

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