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A Celebration of Justice Clarence Thomas


The Left is furious with Clarence Thomas for his temerity in refusing to be chained on its plantation.  Kent has noted and responded to this fury here, here and here.  My friend Professor John Yoo of Berkeley, a former Thomas clerk, notes Justice Thomas's signal contributions to the law in his WSJ piece this weekend.

Justice Thomas has not always cast votes favorable to my view of criminal law, as, for example, in the disastrous case of Apprendi and some of its progeny.  But as a man of insight and principle, and as a friend to the Constitution as written rather than as re-rigged on the fly to suit the personal tastes of judges, he is nothing short of heroic.  As Prof. Yoo notes:

Justice Thomas's two decades on the bench show the simple power of ideas over the pettiness of our politics. Media and academic elites have spent the last 20 years trying to marginalize him by drawing a portrait of a man stung by his confirmation, angry at his rejection by the civil rights community, and a blind follower of fellow conservatives. But Justice Thomas has broken through this partisan fog to convince the court to adopt many of his positions, and to become a beacon to the grass-roots movement to restrain government spending and reduce the size of the welfare state.

Justice Thomas now celebrates his twentieth year on the Court.  Thanks to my former boss, President George H. W. Bush, for appointing him, and thanks and gratitude to Justice Thomas for his uncompromising defense of the Constitution.

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