by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is “a person of grievance” harboring “resentment, [and] anger,” reported no less an authority than Hillary Clinton during an appearance last week on CBS. In ignoring Thomas’s ideas to smear his temperament, Clinton pulled from the same playbook leftists have been using against Thomas since even before his 1991 confirmation hearings.
The New York Times once called Thomas the Supreme Court’s “youngest and angriest.” Times columnist Frank Rich accused him of “rage” and “unreconstructed racial bitterness.” His colleague Maureen Dowd has over the years variously described the justice as “barking mad,” dishonest, and “angry, bitter, self-pitying.” In the article, “Why Is Justice Thomas So Angry?,” CNN legal correspondent Jeffrey Toobin concludes, “His fulminations … are hurtful to the court’s mission and reputation.”
Forming something of a bitter consensus, his critics exhibit behavior every bit as intriguing as that they claim to condemn.
The best place for insight into Thomas’s “anger” is with the man himself. In his autobiography, “My Grandfather’s Son,” Thomas says his bouts with anger in early life were at their most intense when, during his college years, he grew “drunk with revolutionary rhetoric.”
Black-nationalist ideas didn’t suit him long, however. As his life evolved, so did his thinking. The hostility he once directed at a racist American society for mistreating blacks found new targets.
His personal anger can be interpreted in the context of its inverse relationship with happiness. …
… How could good-faith efforts at furthering blacks’ progress be met with such derision? Much of it stems from his critics’ perception of what motivates his opposition to their social-engineering experiments. Toobin, Dowd, and others ascribe this heterodoxy to a perceived servility to “powerful” “conservative” elites.