Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Supreme Court Justice Thomas

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a new book out giving his views on his rise to power. As judged by his interview on 60 Minutes, it is well worth reading. Above all, he accuses feminism and abortion rights advocates concerned with Roe V. Wade with promoting the attack on him by Anita Hill. He claims to be just an honest conservative acting upon the law as provided in the Constitution.
It is a good story. However, what about the presidential election of 2000, the critical Florida balloting was seriously marred by tactics which kept over 200,000 African Americans from voting? (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, June 8, 2001)
For Clarence Thomas to make his case as a victim of racism, you have to accept his claim that there was a conspiracy against him because he was independent and Black. Well, no. There was efforts against him because well informed people assumed that he would vote to establish conservative power – such as the tainted election of a president in 2000- without respect for democracy or the constitution. We should not forget this action by Clarence Thomas – and four other justices- which gave us George Bush as President and all that has followed it.

There were substantive problems and irregularities in 2000 election in Florida. The balloting ended in a virtual tie, but the U.S. Supreme Court intervened to give the Florida electoral votes, and the election, to George W. Bush. This was one of the most partisan of all decisions in the courts history. (Latigua 2001, Bugliosi 2001, Palast, 2002).
In the nation, the Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but the Republican George W. Bush eaked out a victory in the electoral college based upon highly contested voting irregularities and a partisan decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the counting of ballots. ( Latigua, 2001, Bugliosi, 2001). There were two additional minor parties on the ballot, each unable to get even 5% of the vote.
Journalist John Latigua, described the events this way,

"Of the 179,855 votes that were cast but later discarded --
either because they contained more than one vote for
President or no detectable vote -- again it is impossible to
know exactly how many were cast by blacks, but statistics
make it clear that African-Americans' votes were lost at
much higher rates than those of other ethnic groups,
involving tens of thousands of votes in total.
(Bush won Florida, and the Florida electoral votes, by only 534 votes)

The U.S. commission on Civil rights studied the Florida 2000 election as a part of their mandate to protect the Civil Rights of U.S. citizens. Among their findings was:
"The disenfranchisement of Florida’s voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters. The magnitude of the impact can be seen from any of several perspectives:
Statewide, based upon county-level statistical estimates, black voters were nearly 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected.

Estimates indicate than approximately 14.4 percent of Florida’s black voters cast ballots that were rejected. This compares with approximately 1.6 percent of non-black Florida voters who did not have their presidential votes recorded.

Approximately 11 percent of Florida voters were African American; however, African Americans cast about 54 percent of the 180,000 spoiled ballots in Florida during the November 2000 election based on estimates derived from county-level data.
( U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2001.)

The prior most controversial election in U.S. history was the 1876 election of Rutherford B. Hayes, who also won on the basis of contested and controversial election results including contested results from Florida.
If African American votes in Florida had been permitted, and counted, as were White votes, Al Gore would be President of the U.S. This dubious Florida election process, with a significant racial overtones, combined with one Justice Thomas’s participation in one of the most controversial Supreme court decisions in U.S. history, selected George W. Bush as President of the U.S. (Buglosi,2001, Dershowitz,2001)

Justice Thomas laments in his 60 minutes interview that his graduation from Yale law school was “tainted” because he was let in and promoted based upon affirmative action views. Lets see now. We are supposed to believe that getting into Yale, having your education paid for at Yale, is a disadvantage. That is absurd.
I don’t buy the thesis promoted by Thomas that he was opposed for the court because he was Black. Rather, he was opposed because Civil Rights groups and Senators feared he would vote just as he has to place partisan advantage before commitment to democracy and the constitution – as he did in 2000.

Duane Campbell

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