Saturday, October 30, 2010

Article Of The Week

Steve Kornacki's essay, "How We Know Clarence Thomas Did It," in Salon details the incontrovertible evidence that Judge Clarence Thomas, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee considering his nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1991, perjured himself. And perjured himself. Then perjured himself some more.

It's a point worth making for one particular reason. It's not that Rush Limbaugh on Friday, employing the race card as he's almost congenitally prone to do, remarked "Here's the party that claims to be the party of minorities, to stand up for you. Look what this party does to black politicians: It gets rid of them! In this case it knifes them in the back, and the list is long." It matters little that Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida, has no chance of winning and can only assure a loss for Charlie Crist, who if victorious would caucus with the Democratic Party. Or that nevertheless, Bill Clinton will be campaigning with Meek on Sunday. Or that, yet again, Rush Limbaugh sees race where no one else does.

It's not even that Clarence Thomas sits on the United States Supreme Court courtesy of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, then chaired by Delaware Democrat Joseph Biden. The committee could have called to testify at least three employees of the EEOC, headed by Thomas, and gotten at the truth. Angela Wright would have spoken under oath of the sexual harrasment directed at her by her boss Clarence Thomas. Rose Jourdain would have testified that co-worker Wright complained to her at the time about Thomas' antics. Sukari Hardnett, then an aide to Thomas, wrote the committee that black women believed they were "an object of special interest" to the boss and "If you were young, black, female and reasonably attractive, you knew full well you were being inspected and auditioned as a female."

Public testimony- and the hearings were televised- by any of the three would have turned public opinion against the nomination and Thomas would not have been approved. Instead, Thomas was approved with 52 votes including those of eleven members of the same Democrat Party which, according to Limbaugh, "simply could not abide that the most powerful black man in America, an associate justice of the US Supreme Court, would be conservative and black." A few years earlier, the nomination of the very conservative but better qualified Robert Bork was defeated when he mustered support from only two Democrats. Rush probably noticed that Bork is not black but, fostering racial discord at every opportunity, he is little concerned with details.

It's even of little significance that Lillian McEwen, who had dated Thomas a few years before the nomination, now says he was "obsessed with porn" and "would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting" and "was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners. It was a hobby of his." The evidence already was overwhelming that Thomas, who presented himself (video below) to the committee as being completely blameless and victim of "a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks," had perjured himself in front of a thoroughly intimidated committee.

Nor is it critical that the Associate Justice's wife, Ginny Thomas, recently left the cryptic message

Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.

Note that Mrs. Thomas a)left a private message, apparently requesting a private, not public, apology; and b) referred to "what you did with my husband" rather than "what you did to my husband."

But Mrs. Thomas' suspicions about her husband (which appear, at close reading, to be the catalyst for her plea) are less important than what Mrs. Thomas does. It seems that Ginny Thomas, a featured speaker at tea party rallies opposing "Obamacare" and at conservative conferences, is founder of the right-wing Liberty Central, which endorses "constitutionalist" candidates and itself argues (though its website is recently sanitized) that health care reform is unconstitutional.

So Ginny Thomas, an ultra-conservative activist and opponent of health reform legislation, is the wife of an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the very court which is widely believed likely to decide upon the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This Associate Justice compared interrogation by a congressional committee to a "lynching" because, apparently, there is a constitutional right to become a member of the United States Supreme Court without question. The odds of Clarence Thomas recusing himself from that case parallel the odds that he was truthful when he self-righteously denied everything 19 years ago: close to zero.

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