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The Supreme Court Opinions Of Clarence Thomas

1805 words - 7 pages

The Supreme Court has embraced its objective to assist the government in its framework and structuring through law as well as the interpretation of the law. However, plenty of their work has remained a mystery to the general public. Jeffrey Toobin enlightened the audience in The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court; however, most curious to me was the manner in which Jeffrey Toobin speculates that Justice Thomas, a Justice he has since criticized in The New Yorker as disgraceful, was selected because of his race, in effort to balance racial equality on the beach(31). I think this is important because it has the potential to taint Toobin;s book with the influence ways in which he seems to want Justice Thomas to be perceived.
Justice Thomas appointment was deliberate in that he presented the African American demographic, but also because he retained conservative views. Justice Thomas was approved by the smallest of margins, 52-48, and has been “unusually reticent in answering the senators’ questions” so as to avoid the same fate as nominee Bork” (Toobin 25, 31). Toobin’s interpretation of Justice Thomas was curious. Clarence Thomas might have been professionally silent, but was repeatedly open to expressing his beliefs and views, especially with his supporters. He has also clarified that he does not ask questions so as to not badger the lawyers (Zurcher). The professional silence of Justice Thomas within the Supreme Court helps to illustrate not only the complexity of the Supreme Court and its composition, but also in the manner which silence and arguable inaction can concretely impact the operation and perception of the Supreme Court.
Justice Thomas can be viewed as a less influential figure in more current times, especially in the light of the fact that last month celebrated eight years of his silence during oral arguments. This criticism of Justice Thomas proposed that he was no longer influential and he did not take his position seriously. Toobin stated this in his 2014 article because oral arguments present the only way the public has record of what is going on in the minds of the justices; Justice Thomas makes no case for his thought process and views(McGough). Silence of the part of Clarence Thomas, only the second African American appointed to the Supreme Court, can be interpreted as a sign of weakness and lack of motivational or thought processes. Nevertheless, this is a large speculation on the part of the public perhaps primarily promoted by the intense privacy surrounding the Supreme Court hearings.
One of the most curious aspects of the Supreme Court is that the cases are not televised and not open to public for consideration. This makes Toobin’s book all the more important because there is a covering of privacy surrounding the Supreme Court and its operations which the author seeks to penetrate to enlighten and inform the American citizens. At the same time, this lack of publicity in modernized times also make...

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