Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Interesting read

My first thought when I saw the cover of Supreme Discomfort was to wonder if the book definitively proclaims who lied. "Who" being either Clarence Thomas or Anita Hill.

I found myself reading with a sense of irritation as the "history" of Justice Clarence Thomas, as a man who could tell a crude joke and enjoy pornography, was recited by "friends" and acquaintances. Who lied? Only Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas know for sure. At this juncture, does it matter? Fortunately, most of the book is not about the Anita Hill matter.

The critics of Justice Thomas are seemingly many and vocal. They don't like his judicial style - an originalist who believes the meaning of the Constitution and legal statutes are locked into place when written, intellect - not the sharpest knife in the drawer as evidenced by his voting record generally tracking Justice Scalia and muteness during oral argument, and his color. Yes, color. Quoting Justice Thomas from a 1994 speech:

We have an interesting race sometimes. It is the only race that we evict those who are too smart, those who are successful. If you are too smart, too successful, know too much, do too well, then you can't be black anymore. You lose touch. This is the only race where it is a shame to be knowledgeable. It is a shame for someone to know calculus. That doesn't make any sense to me. Then during Black History Month we say we discovered mathematics.
Justice Thomas declined to be interviewed by the authors. Many of his friends and acquaintances declined to speak on the record. Regardless, the book is interesting and casts light on the only black man on the bench at the highest court in the land.

I recommend the book.

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