Precinct 333

Monday, December 06, 2004

Reid Rips Thomas. Ignorance, Racism, Or Both?

On the air over the weekend with Tim Russert, Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following statement about a possible Bush appointment of Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice.
Russert: Why couldn't you accept Clarence Thomas?

Reid: I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don't--I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.

Unfortunately, Russert failed to press Reid for an explanation, or an example of the justice's shortcomings. That's too bad, because Clarence Thomas is known for his legal craftsmanship. James Taranto points to Thomas' dissent in the University of Michigan affirmative action case, Grutter v. Bollinger, as among his favorite Thomas opinions. I much prefer his concurring opinion in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, in which he urges a rethinking of the Establishment Clause jurisprudence developed over the last 50 years.

That leaves me asking if Reid's comments were based upon ignorance or racism. Is Reid simply relying on what others have said without doing any investigation of his own, or is the senator simply confident that an African-American lacks the necessities to be a good legal writer?


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