Every now and then, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas does something to remind us, the viewing public, that he’s still alive.
In 2006, the stoic and curmudgeonly old black man coughed.
In 2007, he raised an eyebrow.
In 2010, he moved his hand to wipe something from his mouth. It is believed that the thing near his mouth may have been his integrity.
In 2013, it was initially reported that Thomas smiled, but many outlets retracted that report to say that the historically silent Thomas may have just had gas.
For some 10 years, from 2006 until 2016, Thomas sat on the Supreme Court and literally wouldn’t talk. He wouldn’t ask questions. He wouldn’t do anything, really. In fact, he only broke his monk-like vow of silence to question a case about the right to bear arms and that—the fact that Thomas talked and not the actual case—was major news.
Many of us, and by “us” I mean black folks, gave up on Thomas long before the Anita Hill scandal that surrounded his nomination to the highest court in the land. He’s always been a conservative judge with conservative views. But all of us were perplexed by his odd ways on the bench. Well, now, it looks like Thomas wants the world to know that he’s alive and well and wants to aid Donald Trump in dragging America to hell.
On Tuesday, Thomas called for the Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark decision that would make it easier for public officials to claim defamation. What’s interesting about Thomas position wasn’t that we couldn’t see President Trump’s hand moving his mouth but that Thomas, an accused sex offender, made his case using a recent Supreme Court decision involving a Bill Cosby accuser.
From the Washington Post:
The court declined to take the case of Kathrine McKee, who accused Cosby of raping her more than 40 years ago. She sued after Cosby’s attorney leaked a letter that she said distorted her background to “damage her reputation for truthfulness and honesty” and to shame her.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit said McKee had “thrust” herself into the national #MeToo movement with her allegations. As a public figure, the court said, she had to show that comments about her were made with “actual malice” and disregard for the truth, the standard set by the Supreme Court’s 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan.
Thomas said he agreed with his colleagues not to accept McKee’s “factbound” appeal.
But he launched a detailed critique of the landmark libel ruling, which he said was a “policy-driven” decision “masquerading as constitutional law.” No other justice joined his concurrence.
This push to make it easier for public officials to be able to sue the press has Trump’s handwriting all over it. It’s Trump who has maintained that any article critical of his presidency is “fake news.” It’s Trump who has called the press the “enemy of the people.” Trump stated outright during his campaign that he was going to overturn libel laws so that he could sue.
“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said during the campaign.
As recently as this weekend, Trump took to Twitter to declare that there should be some form of “retribution” Saturday Night Live skits. Trump would like nothing more than to turn American media into a propaganda machine for the White House. So it makes sense that the Supreme Court’s house nigger would be the one to do the bidding for his master.
Not one conservative Supreme Court Justice attached their name to this bullshit because for years this has been one of the tenets that protected journalists from frivolous lawsuits.
The memorandum from Thomas isn’t going anywhere, but if we only look at the fact that Thomas appears to be doing Trump’s bidding on the highest court in the land then we are missing a huge image in the full portrait.
The fact that Thomas did anything, even if his mouth is being controlled by Trump’s tiny hand, it proves that Thomas is alive because every now and again we have to be reminded that he’s not dead.