by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the latest smear of Clarence Thomas, The New York Times reports that the justice has been a longtime member of an “elite circle” known as the Horatio Alger Association.
This dubious syndicate of wealthy Americans, named after “the Gilded Age author whose rags-to-riches novels represented an aspirational version of Justice Thomas’ own bootstraps origin story,” has handed out around $245 million in college scholarships to approximately 35,000 students. It doesn’t stop there, I’m afraid. The Times reports that Thomas — and you may want to sit down for this — was “meeting with and mentoring the recipients of millions of dollars a year in Horatio Alger college scholarships, many of whom come from backgrounds that mirror his own.”
Now, I don’t even feign to grasp the journalistic virtuosity needed to be a New York Times reporter, but my amateur guess is that the Horatio Alger Association really blew Thomas’ cover when publicly giving him an award and then listing his, and every members’, name on its website. As Star Chambers go, this has to be one of the sloppiest.
Indeed, the piece begins with a grainy picture of Thomas, almost always depicted as a puppet, at an event receiving an award from three rich white dudes. The Horatio Alger Association, the subhead tells us, “brought the justice access to wealthy members and unreported V.I.P. treatment,” and in turn, Thomas “offered another kind of access.”
Another kind of access? The Times wants you to imagine a gaggle of QAnoners sneaking into SCOTUS chambers and editing majority opinions, but Thomas’ big favor to these alleged benefactors is hosting a small ceremony for the winners of the Horatio Alger award for charitable giving at the Supreme Court.