By Mark Paoletta served as a lawyer in the George H.W. Bush White House Counsel’s office and worked on the confirmation of Justice Thomas.
MSNBC host Tiffany Cross recently went on a rant about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in which she referred to him as “Tom” (short for the derogatory term “Uncle Tom”) and invoked a series of other ugly and disrespectful names. But while Tiffany Cross and her fellow leftwing TV hosts have been spewing hatred, Thomas has been laying out a jurisprudence of faithfulness to the text of the Constitution that now represents a view held by the majority of justices on the Supreme Court. This view does away with the nonexistent constitutional “right” to abortion while reigning in out-of-control federal agencies and giving the Bill of Rights the respect it deserves.
Tiffany Cross criticized Thomas for not representing black men in his jurisprudence, but where did she get the idea that a supreme court justice is supposed to represent a constituency? In our system of government, a judge’s job is to decide cases according to the Constitution and the law, without regard to any person. Take, for instance, Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s views on affirmative action. It is certainly not her job to represent the median views of Hispanics, 68 percent of whom oppose race being a factor in college admissions, yet she continues to support racially preferential admissions systems that categorize people by their heritage and not their merits.
Contrary to Tiffany Cross’s claim, working-class black Americans historically have been in agreement with Thomas’ views on virtually every contentious issue. Thomas has long been opposed to affirmative action and racial preference programs, and so are most black Americans. According to a 2022 poll from Pew Research Center, 59 percent of black Americans are against race factoring into college admissions. It is unlikely Tiffany Cross is a part of this 59 percent.
Justice Thomas has opined for thirty years that there is no constitutional right to abortion. According to a 2020 Gallup article, from 2001-2007, only 24 percent of black Americans believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances. From 2017-2020, only 32 percent did. In a May 2022 YouGov poll, 81 percent percent of black respondents said that abortion should be banned after the 25th week. Tiffany Cross likely is unwilling to tolerate any limit on abortions up to the moment of birth, which would put her far outside the mainstream of black Americans.
Thomas has ruled that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage. While that is wholly different than whether one supports or supports same-sex marriage, it is notable that a large percentage of black Americans have, until very recently, been opposed to the practice. According to Pew Research, only 21 percent of black Americans supported same-sex marriage in 2004, only 30 percent in 2010, and 51 percent in 2019, and now it is 59 percent.
On topics where Thomas has not ruled from the bench, it is noteworthy that 81 percent of black parents support school choice, but the NAACP opposes school choice. Sixty-nine percent of black Americans support Voter ID laws. Only 28 percent of black Americans support leftist calls to defund the nation’s police.
Why do Tiffany Cross and black leadership groups, like the NAACP, continue to be so out of touch with the black Americans they claim to represent? Why do they prioritize the goals set by rich white socialists? Perhaps it is because the NAACP receives significant funding from a majority of white leftwing organizations and labor unions and, therefore, may feel obligated to parrot the views of their funders. Certainly, that’s what happened in 1991 when the NAACP opposed Justice Thomas’ nomination at the insistence of the white labor unions, despite his support in the black community. Tiffany Cross works for, in her own words, “a white-run media” company, and she pushes far-left views, whereas Thomas has a lifetime appointment and answers only to the Constitution and his conscience.
Elites have worked to destroy Thomas for years because, among other things, he exposes how out of step they are with the concerns of everyday black Americans. Thomas has argued for affirmative action programs that help students of all races from disadvantaged backgrounds, but the major beneficiaries of racial set-aside programs are wealthy blacks and Hispanics. A recent analysis showed that 71 percent of blacks and Hispanics at Harvard were from wealthy families. These wealthy individuals prevent the truly disadvantaged members of their communities from getting ahead.
During her tirade, Tiffany Cross also attempted to smear Thomas by mentioning the ridiculous “pubic hair on a Coke can” comment that Anita Hill bizarrely claimed Thomas made to her many years ago. But the majority of the American people – men and women – did not believe Anita Hill’s testimony at Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991. A New York Times/CBS News poll showed people believed Thomas by 58-24 percent. Only 26 percent percent of women believed Anita Hill.
In 1998, Anita Hill was interviewed by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” where she trashed two women who claimed to have been sexually harassed or assaulted by then-President Bill Clinton, one of whom Clinton later settled with out of court for $850,000. After Hill had zealously defended Clinton, Russert asked if there were a double standard on harassment allegations for liberals and conservatives. Hill said there is a double standard, saying, “We live in a political world, and the reality is that … there are … larger issues other than just individual behavior.” Hill meant that if you are pro-abortion, women’s groups will give you a pass if you sexually assault or harass women. Despite Hill being a blatant fraud, Tiffany Cross still used her antics to smear Thomas.
The left and the out-of-touch black leadership have attacked Thomas since he joined the Reagan administration forty years ago. Nevertheless, he does not care what they think or say. Tiffany Cross’s attacks may play well to her leftist audience, but that’s not a lot of people, given she is the second lowest-rated show on the lowest-rated cable news network.
Nevertheless, it’s important to respond to these attacks to demonstrate how out of touch she and her colleagues are. On the other hand, Thomas will continue building a long-lasting legacy by writing well-reasoned opinions and persuading a majority of his colleagues to join him in ruling in a manner that is faithful to the Constitution.
Mark Paoletta served as a lawyer in the George H.W. Bush White House Counsel’s office and worked on the confirmation of Justice Thomas. He is a senior fellow at Center for Renewing America, and partner at Schaerr Jaffe.
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