Clarence Thomas

Second Thoughts
March 14, 2012

There are two Democrats running at the top of the ticket this year, and only one of them is President Barack Obama. When Joe Biden’s name first came up, in 2008, as a possible running mate, I told everyone I knew that it would never happen. When Obama did choose Biden, I braced myself for disaster. But Biden turned out to be the right guy for the job. People don’t appreciate what a surprising outcome this is. My reasoning back in 2008 was grounded in observable fact.

I Am Not For Herman Cain. Believe Me, I Really Am Not. But…
November 08, 2011

Nor was I for Ross Perot, a man who (as of 1992) had made a $3 billion dollar fortune and headed a major hi-tech corporation, actually two. But he was—let’s be frank (and rhyme)—a real crank. Frankly, I can’t remember whether many people took him seriously as a thinking politician. Still, with his money he seemed able to stake a claim on the attentions of the electorate and attracted the support of millions of voters who would not have gone to the polls were their choice limited to either George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

Why Cain’s Deny, Deny, Deny Strategy Is So 1990s
November 08, 2011

As his campaign implodes in the face of sexual harassment allegations, Herman Cain’s Super PAC has launched an ad featuring Clarence Thomas’s 1991 charge that similar harassment allegations represented “a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” “Don’t let the left do it again,” the ad concludes. In a tight spot, both Cain and Thomas played the race card they had previously criticized, and both denied the sexual harassment allegations rather than taking responsibility.

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Conservative Reactions to Herman Cain’s Sex Scandal
November 05, 2011

When news broke last Sunday that GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain had been accused of multiple instances of workplace sexual harassment in the 1990s, conservatives had the opportunity to reevaluate their opinion of the candidate and his fitness for the highest office. Instead, reactions broke down roughly into two camps: those who saw nothing but a racist witch-hunt from the liberal media and those who took the opportunity to dispute and belittle the existence of sexual harassment in the first place.

How Cain’s Sex Scandal Will Help His Candidacy
November 01, 2011

The trouble Herman Cain is experiencing with Politico’s scoop on an alleged past settlement of sexual harassment charges—as well as his initial reaction to it—was, in many respects, predictable. Ever since the pizza executive’s improbable rise to the top of Republican presidential polls, there have been vague but menacing predictions that the new scrutiny he would face could quickly burst the bubble of his candidacy. Likewise, Cain’s pose as a victim of a politically, and perhaps racially, motivated smear was also predictable, but could prove remarkably effective.

Cain The Victim
October 31, 2011

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Alec Macgillis has already weighed in on some parallels between the allegations against Herman Cain and those made twenty years ago against Clarence Thomas. From the moment I read the Politico report last night, I knew the rightwing would go apoplectic and attribute the story to a liberal media that despises non-white conservatives. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you see, racism does not exist in America.

On The Cain-Clarence Thomas Connection
October 31, 2011

Well, that didn't take long. Scrambling to deal with Politico's report on allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain by two of his employees at the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s, Cain's campaign has already played the Clarence Thomas card. A campaign spokesman today invoked the Anita Hill-Thomas conflagration of 1991: “Sadly, we’ve seen this movie played out before -- a prominent conservative targeted by liberals simply because they disagree with his politics,” said spokesman J.D.

Texas Justice
September 14, 2011

For the past generation, if you wanted to understand the legal philosophy of the leading Republican presidential contenders, the best person to look to was Antonin Scalia. And, on the surface, that would appear to be true again this year. After all, the current Republican front-runner, Rick Perry, has plenty in common with Scalia—namely, a professed aversion to judges who legislate from the bench or broadly interpret the Constitution. But, once you read Perry’s manifesto, Fed Up!

How Would the Supreme Court Rule on Obama Raising the Debt Ceiling Himself?
July 29, 2011

“I’ve talked to my lawyers,” President Obama said in explaining his dismissal of the argument that Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment authorizes him to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to act. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.” But who are President Obama’s cowering lawyers, and why would the former constitutional law professor defer to their overly cautious prediction that the Supreme Court would rule against Obama if asked to adjudicate a dispute between the president and Congress?

Disorder in the Court
June 23, 2011

In April 2000, a Vermont musician named Diana Levine went to the hospital with a migraine. There, a nurse incorrectly injected Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug, into her vein rather than her muscle. This led to gangrene and, eventually, the amputation of much of her right arm. Levine sued and won more than $6 million from a Vermont jury, which concluded that Wyeth, the drug company, had failed to warn her properly about the risks of the drug.

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