Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the subject of a Jeffrey Toobin piece in The New Yorker. Toobin says “the majority [on the court] has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.” Liberal lament is that Thomas has been “declownified,” and there are comparisons to Frodo Baggins. Hobbits are significantly vindicated these days as well. Se an UPDATE below.
In his jurisprudence, Thomas may be best known for his belief in a “color-blind Constitution”; that is, one that forbids any form of racial preference or affirmative action. ~ Jeffrey Toobin
There is a “but,” that follows the the pull-out quote above. Read it and the entire article at The New Yorker, including the TEA Party and Thomas: Here are snippets [emphasis mine]:
The conventional view of Thomas takes his lack of participation at oral argument as a kind of metaphor. The silent Justice is said to be an intellectual nonentity, a cipher for his similarly conservative colleague, Antonin Scalia. But those who follow the Court closely find this stereotype wrong in every particular. Thomas has long been a favorite of conservatives, but they admire the Justice for how he gives voice to their cause, not just because he votes their way. “Of the nine Justices presently on the Court, he is the one whose opinions I enjoy reading the most,” Steve Calabresi, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, said. “They are very scholarly, with lots of historical sources, and his views are the most principled, even among the conservatives. He has staked out some bold positions, and then the Court has set out and moved in his direction.”
Thomas’s intellect and his influence have also been recognized by those who generally disagree with his views. According to Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, Thomas’s career resembles that of Hugo Black, the former Alabama senator who served from 1937 to 1971 and is today universally regarded as a major figure in the Court’s history. “Both were Southerners who came to the Court young and with very little judicial experience,” Amar said. (Thomas is from Georgia.) “Early in their careers, they were often in dissent, sometimes by themselves, but they were content to go their own way. But once Earl Warren became Chief Justice the Court started to come to Black. It’s the same with Thomas and the Roberts Court. Thomas’s views are now being followed by a majority of the Court in case after case.”
The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society.
This article came through Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, who quotes Walter Russell Mead:
If Toobin’s revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.
Mead gets into his comments by saying Thomas “may be the Frodo Baggins of the right; his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state. ” And he posits that Toobin has successfully “declownified” Clarence Thomas. After reading Mead, see if you can discern what the meaning of “revisionist” is.
So the idea of this story is that Clarence Thomas had been stealth under the radar and Liberals are only now waking to the fact that the man is brilliant, his writings are brilliant and he unfortunately, he isn’t a racist. And oh gosh, he’s believes the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms is something the American people can actually believe in, and may…maybe even…Thomas can get the Court to respect the Tenth Amendment and state’s rights.
UPDATE 8-30-11: Rush Limbaugh says these two columns, Toobin’s and Mead’s are clarion calls to force Thomas to recuse himself from the Court when ObamaCare arrives at SCOTUS.