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Why the hatred toward Clarence Thomas?

By all accounts, the justice refuses to hate back

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Semansky

Why the hatred toward Clarence Thomas?

The ferocity of attacks against Justice Clarence Thomas in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision exposes liberal bigotry against any black person who dares to question progressive dogma.

Hillary Clinton impugned his character on national news, calling him a man of “resentment, grievance [and] anger”—shamelessly invoking the “angry black man” stereotype. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot yelled “[obscenity] Clarence Thomas” at a rally. Social media was flooded with racial slurs targeting Justice Thomas from people who undoubtedly do not consider themselves racists. Thousands of George Washington University students signed a petition demanding Justice Thomas be removed as an adjunct professor, calling his employment there “completely unacceptable” and alleging that he was “actively making life unsafe” for them.

Thankfully, the school defended him, writing, “Because we steadfastly support the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation … the university will neither terminate Justices Thomas’ employment nor cancel his class in response to his legal opinions.”

George Washington should be applauded for standing against a tidal wave of public scorn and unbridled, racist vitriol to defend both freedom of thought and Justice Thomas. It shouldn’t be remarkable that an academic institution would permit a black man to think and express his own thoughts, but here we are. One of the main themes that Justice Thomas has sought to undermine in his writings—the idea that one’s skin color must determine their politics—keeps popping up and it must be refuted.

When it comes to controversial moral and political matters, progressives permit white people to be taken as individuals. They are allowed to think whatever they want without being expelled from their race by complete strangers on social media. Diversity of viewpoint and perspective among whites is expected, even if it is not always welcomed. Blacks, on the other hand, get accused of race traitorship by white people if they don’t march in lockstep with the most radical progressive dogma.

Of course, the current wave of hatred is driven by the fanatical progressive devotion to continuing the racist, eugenic practice of completely unrestricted elective abortion in the United States. By overturning Roe—a decision that even the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned—the court has enabled states to develop abortion policies that align with places like France or Sweden, hardly conservative backwaters. Or they can continue to permit abortion until the moment of birth, like in New York City, where the number of black babies aborted exceeds the number of live births.

Thomas’ moderation, civility, equanimity, and integrity are all desperately needed virtues as we work together to build a post-Roe America, state by state.

But all this nuance is lost on Justice Thomas’ critics, who aren’t able to articulate their frustration and anger except by channeling it into rather pathetic personal hatred.

Of course, few of them know his story. Born to poverty in a tiny Georgia town, he was abandoned by his father at just 2 years old. The home where his then-single mother raised her children burned down when he was 7. But that was not the end.

Justice Thomas was taken in by his maternal grandparents. His grandfather raised him to live by the lights of self-discipline, hard work, moral integrity, and determination. He was an excellent and ambitious student and graduated from Yale Law School, remaining undeterred by the racial prejudice of employers, educators, or peers.

Today, whether or not you agree with his decisions as a member of the Supreme Court, he has without a doubt proven himself a principled and gracious justice. He’s maintained friendly relationships with ideological opponents such as the late Justice Ginsburg, walking her down the steps at the end of each day. His opinions have been consistent, restrained, and well-reasoned.

Thomas’ moderation, civility, equanimity, and integrity are all desperately needed virtues as we work together to build a post-Roe America, state by state.

But right now, the loudest voices seem to express hatred toward Clarence Thomas. Perhaps this is because, through his hard work and perseverance, he has risen to a place of power that most of them can only fantasize about. A place they feel he should only be allowed to occupy if he does exactly what they want.

But tellingly, I don’t think Justice Thomas hates them back. I don’t know the justice personally, but those who do tell me confidently that he pays no attention to the nonsense and is concerned most with doing his job and doing it well. And those of us devoted to serving women and families facing unplanned pregnancies intend to follow his very good example.

Dean Nelson

The Rev. Dean Nelson serves as the vice president of government relations for the Human Coalition, one of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States. He also serves as the chairman of the Douglass Leadership Institute, an education organization advocating for human dignity, strong families, and limited government. Rev. Nelson is a licensed minister from Salem Baptist Church in Marshall, Va., and an ordained bishop with Wellington Boone Ministries.

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