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Thomas book stirs up the past
Justice Clarence Thomas
W
hat happened
Justice Clarence Thomas’ book remains a best-seller on Amazon two weeks after its release. Thomas is still touring the U.S. to drum up publicity for his memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, igniting fresh debate over his role on the Supreme Court.

What the commentators said
All the “old smears” are being “trotted out” against Thomas, said The New Republic’s James Kirchick in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). “That he’s ‘incompetent.’ That he’s ‘unqualified.’ That the only reason he was appointed is because he’s black.” Liberals accuse Thomas of hypocrisy for opposing affirmative action, yet they’re the ones who refuse to stop treating him “like a scapegoat for their political agendas and start treating him like a man.”

Thomas accused opponents to his confirmation of subjecting him to a “high-tech lynching,” said Georgetown law professor Emma Coleman Jordan in The Washington Post (free registration). He says his use of the term stems from his grandfather’s very real fear of racial violence. Yet in court he consistently sides against others who have fallen victim to discrimination, school “resegregation,” and other products of centuries of racial violence. Apparently, “in Thomas's worldview, the consequences of lynching appear to apply only to him personally.”

Please, said Rod Dreher in The Dallas Morning News. “If Thomas were a liberal, he’d be widely regarded as an American hero.” The story of his upbringing is “so profoundly moving, and so profoundly true to this country’s ideals” that it ought to be “read aloud” to every child. Clarence Thomas, “for all his self-acknowledged faults,” is simply “son” of a man who, raised in the Depression, taught him that success and respect must be earned—not handed to you.

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