I don’t doubt for a second that Clarence Thomas experienced racism and significant discrimination. Both while growing up and as he moved into adulthood. I also don’t doubt for a second that despite all the insults to his intellect when he got to SCOTUS and for (I think) well over a decade never asked a single question during oral arguments. Thomas is no intellectual giant like the Justice he replaced. Thurgood Marshall will always be a towering figure in SCOTUS history and would be a tough Justice for anyone to follow.
So yes, given his inappropriate behavior as a GOP administration employee getting exposed, knowing that the ONLY reason Bush 41 named him to the Bench in the first place was his staunch conservative (and lest we forget Federalist Society too) credentials and was like Marshall a black guy. Bush 41 tried hard but not well enough to hide his smirk during the announcement of Thomas’ nomination. He knew damn well the talk about him being the most highly qualified individual that could possibly be named was a load of crap. We knew it. He knew we knew it. And we (including conservatives) knew he knew we knew it.
Putting him on SCOTUS was a brutal F**K you to Thurgood Marshall and Democrats. Not quite the elder Bush’s style but he needed to shore up hard core conservative’s support and this sure as hell did the trick. Thomas was used as a show pony. Not even a show horse but a show pony. It was THE ultimate Affirmative Action hire. But he figured what the hell? In the legal profession a seat on our nation’s highest court, a lifetime appointment that he might well hold for forty years or more if he lived long enough he was willing to endure the insults.
And one day extract EVERY bit of payback he could.
He’s relished doing so. With Trump getting to pack the Court he’s freed up to go to town on everything progressives hold dear. Best of all, he gets to pull up the ladder behind him. College, to being a somebody working for Republican administrations right up to being put on SCOTUS he’s been quite willing to benefit from being not just African-American but a conservative one! Like in the days of slavery he got to be the more or less articulate slave who managed all the other slaves in the Plantation owner’s house. If other slaves were too open with “Uncle Tom” talk a word with the Master and punishment was swift and brutal.
Trump’s getting to name three fellow Federalist Society trained, groomed even made him that “top slave”, the Master’s go-to guy and Thomas has thrown himself into the role. Best of all for him, there are multiple issues where SCOTUS had given him the ability to have aspects to life he wanted, like getting married to a white woman, being able to use birth control so Ginni wouldn’t have to spend time with the kids, and of course affirmative action to get into a top college and then law school and eventual his seat on SCOTUS.
And Thomas has made clear he intends to pull up the ladder behind him on every one of those.
He might as well put it plainly – I got mine – the rest of you go f**k off.
Once he was part of what most of the time on conservative issues would be an activist court (remember when Republicans regularly accused Democrats of that, even when the mix of Justices was even or even majority GOP appointees?) any thoughts he might retire, even with a Republican President in office to name his replacement are pure fantasy. Thomas has spent a lifetime waiting to extract payback on everyone who offended him during his life. People of his own heritage who criticized him for being conservative first and foremost. And with Joe Biden in the White House? The humiliating scandal Thomas endured, despite him having been such a sexist pig meaning he deserved not only that but to have lost his confirmation vote.
Again, I don’t doubt the truth of what he wrote in his concurring opinion about injustices he’s suffered in his life. But an awful lot of them as he reached adulthood weren’t so much injustices as legitimate criticism. Which he was more than willing to brand as racism when the fact is any white guy who said and did things he did would suffer the same criticism.
But like I said, Thomas and his wife are senior citizens and rich. With even richer people showing them with money and gifts. Neither needs the protections the law, via the force of SCOTUS rulings and precedent provided them.
So we are firmly in to “I got mine – the rest of you F**K off!!!!!” time.