John Hawkins has his Third Annual 2004 Warblogger Award results posted. I was asked to contribute but was too late in submitting my ratings. However, many of the choices were my choices as well.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday had harsh words for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.Says John:
When asked to comment on Thomas as a possible replacement for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Reid told NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.
"I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice."[SNIP]
But the Nevada Democrat said that he could support Thomas' fellow conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, if he were nominated.
"I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy," Reid said of Scalia. "And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reasons for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute."
Harry Reid's real problem with Clarence Thomas isn't the opinions he's written, it has to do with his skin color.Larry Elder said much the same thing on his radio show yesterday. Well guess what? I’m going to have to disagree with two gentlemen who will usually make points that make sense to me.
The problem with assuming that Senator Reid dislikes Justice Thomas because he is a black conservative *using the evidence of the senator’s above statement* is that, to do so, one must assume that black people in general are notoriously bad writers and that the senator is playing to that stereotype.
Being unfamiliar with the quality of Justice Thomas’ written opinions in comparison to those of his peers--legal eagles may weigh in on this subject--I can’t comment one way or the other. However, if his writing abilities *are* inferior, it should be okay to say so, in spite of the recent denigration of the competence of other prominent black conservatives. If content of character is the tool against which all conservatives want to be measured, then it’s not racist to opine that a given black person isn’t up to a particular position, if it’s a legitimate opinion based on evidence.
Senator Reid isn’t off the hook, however. It’s interesting that Senator Reid didn’t give any examples of the justice’s allegedly less-than-stellar written opinions. Has the senator had actually read a Thomas opinion? Or was he just repeating the opinions of others who have spread the rumor that Justice Thomas isn’t quite up to snuff? Or was he merely playing to a portion of the Democrat base, a large portion of whom rabidly despise the youngest Supreme Court Justice? These are questions that probably have interesting answers.