Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Clarence Thomas Roundup

The release of Clarence Thomas' new book has led to a spurt of interesting blogging on the quietest and most conservative Supreme Court Justice. No comments from me, just a round-up of the variety of posts out there.

Sherilynn Ifill, a law professor at UMD blogging at BlackProf, takes issue with Thomas' lynching metaphor ("an insult to the nearly 5,000 black and men and women who were lynched in the last century") and urges Thomas to "get a grip."

Scott Moss of the University of Colorado notes the intense bitterness Thomas appears to still nurse -- and his lack of either honesty or self-awareness in acknowledging it.

Ilya Somin of George Mason notes the ideological slant of the folks who believe Thomas and those who believe Hill regarding her sexual harassment allegations, and suggests this is purely a function of partisanship. However, as someone noted in comments, it is generally true that liberals are more likely than conservatives to believe allegations of sexual harassment. The real outlier, as Somin indicates, is the Paula Jones case.

Also at Volokh, David Bernstein hypothesizes that the scorched-earth campaign the left waged against Clarence Thomas' nomination may have backfired, by permanently entrenching him on the Supreme Court's far right branch. By solidifying Thomas' perception of liberals as his enemies, they precluded him from ever evolving his views or reaching "across the aisle" while growing as a Justice.

Richard Stern argues that Thomas' book is a "inverse confession", as he is unable to forget the "scene of the crime" against Ms. Hill, and compelled to revisit it even as he protests his innocence.

Powerline provides its summary of Thomas' speech to the Heritage Foundation.

Michael Dorf of Columbia analogizes the two cases of "harassment by people named Thomas" (Isiah and Clarence). He notes that, even if Thomas was guilty of harassment, he still might have had a legitimate beef against many of the questioning (White) Senators who likely engaged in similar behavior but faced no similar scrutiny.

Feministe comments on Anita Hill's defense of her character against Thomas' renewed attack, contextualizing it within the broader procedures used to silence folks complaining about sexual harassment.

And, though I wrote it several months ago, I'll abuse my blogger privileges to link back to one of my older (but, if I do say so myself, better) posts on Clarence Thomas, Taking Thomas Seriously.

No comments: