Facts and the real Justice Thomas

Thomas Sowell:

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. However, many on the political left act as if they are entitled to their own facts -- and especially the "fact" that those who oppose their ideas are either intellectually or morally inferior.

In other words, you cannot oppose "diversity," gun control, global warming, or gay marriage unless there is something wrong with you. No hard evidence is necessary to support this conclusion. Indeed, no hard evidence can change this conviction.


A recent book on the Supreme Court in general has a chapter on Justice Thomas that devastates what has been said about him in the media. That book is "Supreme Conflict" by Jan Crawford Greenburg.

What will come as a shock to many who read this fact-filled book is that the picture of Justice Thomas as a blind follower of Justice Antonin Scalia, with whom he often votes, is completely different from the reality.

Notes made by Justice Harry Blackmun during discussions of issues among the justices make it clear that from day one Clarence Thomas staked out his own position on issues, even when all eight of his senior colleagues took the opposite position.

Often it was Justice Thomas whose arguments won over Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Rehnquist -- and sometimes enough others for a majority.

That much of this information came from notes made during judicial conferences by the late Harry Blackmun, whose views were antithetical to those of Clarence Thomas, adds more weight to the conclusion that media depictions of Justice Thomas reflect what many in the media felt a need to believe, rather than any facts.

The book also offers other insights about the court and its operation. O'Connor's "reasoning" is shown in its "little picture" context.

I have always thought that Clarence Thomas has been treated more unfairly than any person in public life. It is nice to see an unusual fair treatment of his character and intellect. He is a descent man who is intelligent and unlike his critics he is fair.


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