Democrats’ Nightmares–African Americans See Racism in Democrat Attacks on Clarence Thomas

By Steve Huntley

May 12, 2023

An idea for a poll: Survey black Americans to see if they think racism is any way behind the three-decade-long, never-ending criticism of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

This shouldn’t be a controversial notion. Progressives and Democrats have long attributed racism to criticism of black government officials they like. Only last month, former White House chief-of-staff Ron Klain said racism is behind the criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris (of course along with sexism).

The left never tires of telling us how deeply racism infects the nation, that American institutions are embedded with systemic racism, that white people can’t recognize the unconscious racist attitudes they harbor about people of color, that white children develop racial bias as early as 4 years old, that racism permeates even math and science, that “white privilege” remains an ongoing injustice, and on and on.

With racism so deeply entrenched in American society, criticism of black politicians and government officials can be — even sometimes must be — based on race, according to progressive thinking.

That is, it applies when the criticism is aimed liberal office holders and public figures, according to the progressive narrative. You never heard that accusation when black conservatives are attacked.

That’s a double standard at the heart of liberal cries of racism.

But, if America is so deeply and intrinsically racist, as the far left never hesitates to remind us, why would any black official, including conservatives, be immune from race-based attacks?

Which brings us to the case of Justice Thomas.

Now it’s true that there is a bigger picture at work at the present. The most recent criticism of Justice Thomas comes amid a broad-based Democrat and left-wing assault on the Supreme Court, a full-scale, no-holds-barred campaign to delegitimize the nation’s highest court.

Like the segregationists of the 1950s and ’60s who sought to undermine the high court because of its rulings ending segregation in schools and public places, today’s progressives attack the independence and integrity of the court because they hate its prominent rulings, most notably the one returning the issue of abortion to the people to deal with through their state legislatures.

But the brunt of the anti-court blitz falls on Justice Thomas. And it’s just the latest example.

He’s been the victim of attacks, innuendo and insults from Democrats and liberal media for more than a quarter of a century, starting with the 1991 hearings in the Senate that ultimately, despite an unfair smear of sexual harassment against him, led to his elevation to the high court. He understandably characterized that smear campaign as a “high tech lynching.”

In the years and decades since, he has been singled out time and again for public criticism, attacks and smears. Last year after the court’s abortion decision, Hillary Clinton attacked Justice Thomas as a “person of grievance for as long as I have known him — resentment, grievance, anger.”

It doesn’t stop with the jurist himself. Attacks aimed at his wife allege her political activity constitutes a conflict of interest for the justice.

This comes in a capital city crowded with spouses of powerful elected officials and administrators engaged in work in lobbying, media and the Washington bureaucracy. What hypocrisy. And again, a left-wing double standard. It’s tempting to say that if it weren’t for double standards, the progressives would have no standards at all.

The latest assault began with ProPublica articles focusing on Thomas’ friendship with a wealthy man, the luxurious vacations they took together that he funded, and a real estate transaction — all filled with insinuation that something was wrong, shady or unethical. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal took a deep dive into all the details — the relationship, the travel, the transaction, the rules on disclosure — and found it was a lot to do about not much. What’s more, the wealthy friend had no cases before the Supreme Court — not even a whiff of impropriety.

Next came — what else? — a renewed attack by the Washington Post on the justice’s wife for her political activism.

Under the category of no good deed goes unpunished, ProPublica chimed in with an ugly article about Thomas trying to help a troubled grandnephew with his wealthy friend chipping to pay for a private school for the young man.

An act of charity is turned into Washington political fodder.

It’s no wonder that so many Americans have nothing but contempt for Washington and its media.

Why has Justice Thomas been singled out over the decades for so much contempt from the liberal elites in politics and media?

President Joe Biden inadvertently let the cat out of the bag during his 2020 election campaign against then President Donald Trump.

At the conclusion of an interview, a well known black radio host said Biden should return for another interview because he had more questions. Biden responded, “Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” (Biden later apologized.)

There it is in a nutshell. White liberals decree that African Americans have to think a certain way or they’re not authentically black.

The one thing a white racist cannot tolerate is a black man who thinks for himself. A black man or woman with an independent streak. A black individual who speaks his mind. One not bound to the liberal worldview.

That’s who Justice Thomas is.

He is one of the most consequential black figures in modern America — actually one of the most consequential Americans of our time, period. And he did it by charting a thoughtful independent course in judicial thinking. And he’s a conservative.

Yes, prominent black liberals in politics and the media have joined in the attacks on Thomas. It’s up to them to decide whether in the long run it’s in the best interests of African Americans to continue to support this unrelenting and vicious personal assault on such a historically important, independent-thinking black American. Maybe they would profit from a poll to see if America’s black population thinks race plays a role in the progressive onslaught against Justice Thomas.

Burgess Owens, a black Republican congressman from Utah and former star professional football player, summed it up last year: “If these attacks were aimed at Barack Obama, for example, it would be called out by … the media for exactly what it is: pure racism.”

Progressives cannot abide a black man who refuses to bend to their notion of how blacks should think. If a black American doesn’t toe the liberal line, then, as Biden put it, “you ain’t black.”

Is that racist?

It’s a question progressives can’t avoid. They’ve never hesitated to play the race card, never shied away from shouting racism, never missed an opportunity to assign the worst racial motives to their opponents.

It’s far left liberals who’ve set the standard that virtually every facet of American life revolves around race. It’s their standard, so they have to be judged by it.

Is there racism in the decades long drumbeat of criticism of Justice Thomas?

It would be interesting to hear what black Americans think about that.

Any polling firms interested in finding out?


Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas, has contributed other pieces to johnkassnews, from an examination of the secret jail for Christopher Columnbus and other politically problematic public art to an essay on Americans suffering from Joe Biden gas pain.

For almost three decades Huntley spent most of his career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages.

Before that he was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern University Press has issued soft cover and eBook editions of Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.

Comments 40

  1. Justice Thomas is not only a proud Black man, but he is also a devout Roman Catholic and that is simply intolerable to bigots like Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky.

      1. Nope – “John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — are Catholic.Apr 8, 2022”

    1. I had the good fortune to meet Justice Clarence Thomas and hear him speak about his life and the Supreme Court of the United States at a book signing hosted by the Chicago Chapter of The Federalist Society about 15 years ago. I brought a copy of his book, My Grandfather’s Son, with me for him to sign. After his very memorable address he patiently signed more than a thousand copies of his book. He didn’t stop signing until the last person in line. After that he chatted with more of the people who had gathered around him. He had spoken about the plain meaning of the words of The United States Constitution.
      At this time in history , when it has become so painfully clear that many have forgotten or even opposed those words that were so carefully crafted by the founders of this great nation, it is refreshing and inspiring to read the well thought out opinions Justice Thomas has expressed in some of the landmark Supreme Court decisions of our time like Heller, MacDonald, and finally in Dobbs.

      1. She was just another false accuser put there to discredit this conservative black judge. PERIOD. That is the liberal pattern to discredit conservatives. Find some woman who can accuse a man of indiscretion.

        1. I have no doubt that the entire cynical episode was politically motivated, but whether or not the accusations were false is something we just cannot know.

  2. “It’s tempting to say that if it weren’t for double standards, the progressives would have no standards at all.”
    Go ahead and say it…for the truth shall set you free.

    I live in the mid-South, in a county with 12 branch libraries.
    When Justice Thomas published his book, they bought ONE copy of it and the waiting period to get it was months long.
    When Slick Willie’s book came out, each branch had four copies, plus copies in Spanish.

    Double standards?
    You betcha!

  3. PBS Frontline has a long documentary on Thomas and his wife. It’s quite enlightening on his development. He is being criticized rightly for his lavish gift-taking without reporting. He wouldn’t be criticized like this if he HAD REPORTED AS REQUIRED. He also wouldn’t have been pilloried during his confirmation if he had admitted to his comments to Anita Hill and apologized, instead of lying. Women at this time, including me, suffered far worse in the workplace.

    1. Taranto’s referenced reportage goes into far more detail than the PBS hit piece. You should read it, and then perhaps consider why Thomas’s “possible” (the unclear rules — your caps notwithstanding — were recently clarified) reporting imperfections are more newsworthy than those of certain other Justices. And neither you nor I know whether Thomas or Hill was lying or telling the truth.

      1. Well observed, Mike. But you should remember that people who receive instruction from PBS and The New York Times know everything, even the truth of private conversations. Absent some mysterious stenographer crouching behind a couch, they learn from a psychologist prying out “recovered memories.” That’s how they learned about Kavanaugh’s high school beer drinking and depravity parties.

    2. It has always disturbed me how women stick together like glue whenever an accusation of harassment has been made. The fact that ever since Justice Thomas’s hearing every conservative, male wanna be Justice has the same 11th hour accusations thrown at them should be a red flag.

    3. “He wouldn’t be criticized like this if he HAD REPORTED AS REQUIRED.”

      Wrong. The Frontline documentary, like the ProPublica reporting, is a propagandistic hit-job. As James Taranto has shown in a series of reports in the Wall Street Journal, the ProPublica reporters made basic factual errors (if errors they be). Correct these and virtually all the allegations of “non-reporting” collapse. What is left is a single, minor error which in context is plainly inadvertent. But you go on believing whatever ProPublica and Frontline say, regardless of the actual facts.

    4. Why do you believe he was lying? Anita could have easily been a plant put there to falsely accuse him to derail his appointment to the Court.

  4. The endless attacks on both the Justice and his wife are inexcusable. Just imagine if the attacks were made by conservatives against a liberal black judge! Riots encouraged by the Left would destroy this country in the name of equity!

      1. The Democrats’ modern plantation grows votes. They’re less expensive to harvest and even more rewarding than parking meters or red-light cameras.

        1. “They’re less expensive to harvest..” You mean “harvesting” African Americans? You know, people? Wow. I would counter by saying there is no GOP without angry old white men who can barely hide they’re bigotry, and under educated young white men who thrive on the grievances generated by the culture wars. Gone is fiscal responsibility and smaller government, the entire GOP platform is built on a foundation of ‘woke’, ‘trans athletes’, barbaric abortion restrictions and Christian Nationalism. Come 2024, there will be in access of 20 million new, young voters, do you really think the GOP has anything that appeals to them? Oh yea, the GOP nominee will be a thrice divorced traitor and convicted sex offender and fellon, just what us Independents are looking for. Good luck with that.

  5. Whether he is a practicing Catholic or not shouldn’t detour us from Mr. Huntley’s commentary, which is that Dems are choosing to try and remove Justice Thomas because he is a black conservative. He is their first target. Dems are aiming to rid the court of all conservative Justices in order to replace them with progressives. Dems wanted to increase the number of Justices to the Court but Republicans won the House. So, now they will try to pick off one by one in their usual ways–lies and innuendo–to replace them. What is most frightening is that we no longer have CIA, FBI, or Justice Department that can be trusted.

  6. Let me get something straight. If one of “our people” does something morally, ethically, even legally wrong, it’s excused first they agree with us on some issues we find critical, or just because they’re on the right “team”.

    When will the adults stand up and demand the reforms necessary to severely curtail the obvious influence peddling and insider trading that has been a bipartisan problem for years.

    Even you strict “constitutionalists” are hypocrites, as are Thomas, the Biden’s, and all the rest of the swamp creatures.

    We all need to grow up.

    1. Congress critters getting rich due to influence peddling and inside information is a genuine problem., but casting such aspersions at Thomas without any evidence whatsoever is libel, and a sin.

  7. You mean Ginny Thomas? Who Thomas recently revealed that she attended the pro-Trump rally that preceded the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021? Who was quoted as saying: ““Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! … You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History, “This is a fight of good versus evil. Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.” Ya, she sounds completely rational and non biased…

  8. Steve,

    Great writing about a great man of courage. Why does it always seem like conservatives are the parents that seek to set the standard of what is right, upholding the standards set by our founding fathers and liberals are the children whining about their wants not being fulfilled?

  9. The partisanship and rabid hatred of the opposition is by design. It’s all part of the con, so both sides can do their bidding gorging on our money.

    It’s so foolish chasing Trump. They only do it because they don’t have an an agenda that’s large enough majority will buy into and vote for them. That is by design as well.

    They have no interest in really helping people; especially poor, disabled, immigrants

  10. There are so many ironies with Justice Thomas. Where to begin? No doubt one of the most consequential voices in the history of the Court, yet also the most silent during oral argument. He champion’s historical originalism of our Constitution and it’s literal meaning – which really pisses off the Left – yet authored the Brand “X” majority decision giving virtually unlimited power to the administrative state. He is indeed a very complex individual … not easily pigeonholed.

  11. You nailed it again, Steve. ProDemocratic is nothing more than a left-wing mouth piece in the sheep’s clothing of justice. Just like, say, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Of course you’d never find a column like this in the Chicago media.

  12. The “innocent until proven guilty” no longer is evident in our legal system. In my opinion, Anita Hill lied about Thomas – liberals are always desperate to get rid of conservatives, and they will do anything to accomplish that.

  13. Yo! Riga- Tee! It’s always refreshing to read your ruminations on da politics of dis country. Your opinions enlighten us like the local drunk nursing his beer in the neighborhood shot n’ beer joint does. You’re da guy holed up in the corner of da bar by yourself sobbing into your cheap rotgut. Always avoided by the other regulars, you always sit alone. NO ONE CARES TO HEAR YOUR OPINIONS. Your own friends and family avoid you like da plague as do most people on this site. Wallow in your own misery if you like. You’ll find no company here. Go away. You are a fool.

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