Democrats must do all they can to expose 'corrupt' Clarence Thomas and 'destroy his reputation': journalist

Democrats must do all they can to expose 'corrupt' Clarence Thomas and 'destroy his reputation': journalist

During the 1990s, far-right Justice Clarence Thomas often found himself at odds with both Democrats and fellow Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had more than her share of disagreements with Thomas, and Ronald Reagan appointees Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor were likely to part company with Thomas when it came to right-to-privacy decisions, abortion and gay rights.

Thomas' closest ideological ally on the High Court during the 1990s was Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. They were the socially conservative justices who were the most likely to side with the religious right, and their critics — a mixture of liberals, progressives and right-wing libertarians — regarded them as the Court's lunatic fringe.

But in 2023, the High Court on the whole is way to the right of where it was during the Bill Clinton years. Thomas has much more influence among his fellow justices than he did in the past, and he is more controversial than ever. When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) calls for Thomas' impeachment, she has a variety of reasons — from his wife Ginni Thomas' efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results to ProPublica's damning report that Justice Thomas, "for over 20 years," has "been treated to luxury vacations by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow."

READ MORE: Revealed: Clarence Thomas' luxury lifestyle 'is being subsidized' by a billionaire GOP megadonor

In a scathing article published by The New Republic on April 10, journalist Michael Tomasky emphasizes that Democrats should do everything they can to "destroy" the "reputation" of Justice Thomas — who he describes as "one of the most influential associate justices in modern history" as well as "the most plainly corrupt" one.

“ProPublica's report last week is jaw-dropping," Tomasky writes. "In the end, it shows this: Thomas used to report his gifts from right-wing billionaire Harlan Crow…. Rather than stop accepting the gifts, he just decided to stop reporting them — which ProPublica says is against the law. Can he be impeached? Not now, with the GOP in control of the House. If that changes, sure, they can try, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others have suggested."

Tomasky continues, "Of course, he would be acquitted in the Senate, where two-thirds are required to convict…. But that's no reason for Democrats not to do it. In fact, as I suspect AOC understands, the way partisanship works today in this country, that's precisely an excellent reason to do it."

The journalist argues that even though the U.S. is probably stuck with Thomas, it's important to make sure that his reputation suffers as badly as possible.

READ MORE: Ex-GOP rep. slams 'slimy and unethical' Clarence and Ginni Thomas business enterprise

"Destroy his reputation," Tomasky recommends. "If nothing else, ensure that he goes down in history the way he deserves: as one of the most unqualified Supreme Court justices ever, who has gone on to leave as light an intellectual footprint as someone serving three-plus decades could leave. Make him — and his wife, Ginni, who is also completely without scruples in the way she, as the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, entangles herself in our public life — a metaphor for every insidious thing the far-right wing has done to this country."

By attacking Thomas' reputation, the New Republic journalist argues, Democrats need to make him a symbol of everything that is "corrupt" and "reactionary" about the modern Republican Party.

"Journalists started the job; Democrats have to finish it," Tomasky writes. "They may never remove Thomas from the bench, but they can drive home a story that most Americans already seem to believe anyway: that Clarence Thomas is an embarrassment to the Supreme Court and the country, and the worship of this man on the right is one of the greatest symbols of their contempt for standards, the law, precedent, and democracy."

READ MORE: How Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion suggests other rights may be vulnerable after Roe: analysis

Read The New Republic’s full article at this link.

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