Commentaries, Global Warming, Opinions   Cover   •   Commentary   •   Books & Reviews   •   Climate Change   •   Site Links   •   Feedback
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  October 1, 2007
Print article - Printer friendly version

Email article link to friend(s) - Email a link to this article to friends

Facebook - Facebook

Topic category:  Other/General

Before Crystal, Anita Hill Targeted Justice Thomas

Like the Duke lacrosse players, now Justice Thomas became a victim of political correctness extremism. During the process that culminated in his confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice, he refused to be railroaded and set the right example for those victimized by the forces of political correctness extremism (including lacrosse players): speak up for yourself in the courtroom of public opinion, because, in Justice Thomas's words, "it is always worth it to stand on principle." Like Justice Thomas, the lacrosse players won despite all the lies. Also like Justice Thomas, their work is not done: an end needs to be put to political correctness extremism pollution and reform of the criminal justice system and higher education, in accordance with the Constitution, are big parts of the solution.

The political correctness extremists shamelessly used false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum to promote their agenda. But Ms. Mangum was not the first opportunistic black woman so used. Before Crystal, there was Anita Hill. Fortunately, like Crystal, Anita ultimately failed and Clarence Thomas became and remains an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and a stellar example of what is possible in America.

It is fitting that Justice Thomas's autobiography be released shortly after Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead finally apologized to members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team and Power to the People, the latest book by one of Justice Thomas's former law clerks, Laura Ingraham.

It also figures that political correctness extremists are eager to distort reality and to misportray Justice Thomas as usual.

The acutely astute Matthew J. Franck:

"Three Washington Post writers have wheedled an embargoed copy of Justice Clarence Thomas's autobiography out of a bookseller and collaborated on a quick read of it, on the newspaper's front page. Headline? 'Justice Thomas Lashes Out . . .' Lead sentence? 'Justice Clarence Thomas settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir . . .' "....I wonder...if the Post's scribes haven't found just about all the 'angry' bits in this 289-page book and put them in their 1,500-word story to give a certain impression about the book as a whole. We'll see. But it would fit the thesis of a book already published on Thomas by two of these reporters, Michael Fletcher and Kevin Merida—one whose existence is never mentioned in the Post article, and which has an Amazon rank of 7,771 compared to Thomas's position at #34. There wouldn't be an adversary posture here, would there—perhaps tinged with a little envy?"

Tell us what you really think, Mr. Franck. It was an adversary posture tainted by plenty of envy.

As Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, learned during Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.'s confirmation process, when you take a cheap shot at Justice Thomas, Wendy E. Long, legal counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network and a former law clerk to Justice Thomas, will expose YOU.

Mrs. Long's "Justice Thomas: Awesome, not Angry" (a Bench memo at National Review Online):

"Anyone who just saw the CBS 60 Minutes piece on Justice Thomas and his memoir, My Grandfather's Son... has now seen with his own eyes what some of us have been privileged to know for a long time: that Justice Thomas is summed up by the 'A' word — not 'angry,' but 'awesome.'

"To see the Justice actually walking the ground in Pinpoint, Georgia with CBS reporter Steve Kroft, telling him what it was like growing up in the Jim Crow South, what it was like hearing a white seminary classmate say when Martin Luther King was shot, 'good, I hope the SOB dies,' what it was like to have his Yale Law degree devalued because of his race, and to hear first-hand how the 'high-tech lynching' of his confirmation hearing unfolded — was riveting, and moving, and inspiring.

"It's amazing to see the Justice acknowledge so calmly that Anita Hill's lies 'were a weapon to destroy me, pure and simple.' But the man explaining all this to the nation is so obviously not an 'angry' man — not 'settling scores' or any of the other labels that have been slapped on him over the last two days amid the press leaks about his book.

"What one really takes away from this interview are the profound truths that he has expressed — with incredible candor, passion, and integrity — and with a subtlety that bears pondering and opens up new facets of the man and his story, even to those of us who have known him for decades.

"A few nuggets of this interview that stood out to me:

* His grandfather and the other hard-working, honest blacks in the segregated deep South who refused to see themselves as victims, but instead told him, 'Boy, get your education, because if you get it in here (pointing to his head), nobody can take it away from you.'

* Thinking he had made it to Yale Law School because of his hard work and outstanding academic record, only to learn that the affirmative-action mentality meant that others thought 'you're here because you're black' and then seeing 'the discounting of my degree before my eyes' when he had trouble getting a job after law school.

* His talk of the Black Power movement being 'uplifting and invigorating' and explaining that he was a 'radical' but never a 'liberal' — that 'liberal was too lukewarm for me.'

* His explanation that winning Senate confirmation to a seat on the Supreme Court was not what was 'worth it' in his confirmation battle; what was 'worth it' was fighting for truth and for what was right, because 'it is always worth it to stand on principle.'

* His beautifully simple explanation that no one seems to understand in judicial confirmations these days, whether in relation to abortion or anything else: 'The Constitution is what matters, not my personal views.'

"I've been asked several times over the last few days why Justice Thomas wrote the book, and why he is speaking out now. I have not asked him that question directly, but my own guess is two reasons:

"One, for the historical record to be accurate. Not for any egotistical reason — I've never seen anyone so brilliant be so empty of ego — but because the books and articles to date have been either inaccurate or incomplete. And much of his story is, as the book's title suggests, that he is his grandfather's son. He started out under the protection of his wings, and learned about hard work and virtue and faith. Along the way, his grandfather turned him out of the house, and Clarence Thomas had his doubts about the path he was on, but now, he says he has 'returned to my roots, to my grandfather, and the way he raised me,' and so in a sense it is a tribute to his grandfather.

"And two, it's a gift. I actually think this book will teach more about 'Giving' than another bestseller of that title by another towering figure of the late 20th century American political landscape. After the road he has traveled, Justice Thomas has a heart to reach out and extend a hand of encouragement to anyone who has felt the sting of racism, the burden of poverty, the trauma of being unjustly accused, or just despair, loneliness, or exhaustion. His story of courage, hard work, and perseverance is a great triumph, and it's a great gift to all of us.'

Like the Washington Post, Jeffrey Toobin, author of a recent book on the United States Supreme Court (advice: buy Jan Crawford Greenburg's book on it instead), is out to disparage Justice Thomas.

Mrs. Long deftly dealt with Mr. Toobin too.

Mrs. Long's "Justice Thomas Memoir: Toobin Distortion" (a Bench Memo too):

"As Ed [Whelan] has detailed, one can't expect much from Jeffrey Toobin in terms of straightforward analysis about the Supreme Court. Toobin is spinning wildly again — this time in anticipation of the Monday release of Justice Thomas's much-anticipated memoir, My Grandfather's Son.

'Toobin appeared on CNN today to talk about the book, based upon a CBS website piece plugging its '60 Minutes' interview of the Justice by Steve Kroft, airing Sunday night. CBS quotes Justice Thomas as saying that the abortion issue 'was really the elephant in the room' at his Senate confirmation hearings.

"Toobin used this comment to imply that Justice Thomas had been misleading in his confirmation hearings: '[H]e refused to say what he thought about abortion; he said he'd never even discussed abortion and Roe v. Wade. Yet, less than a year later, in the Casey case, he called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. So he's clearly right that abortion was a big deal, but the fact is, he didn't let on what his views were in the course of his confirmation hearings.'

"To unravel this spin, a few facts:

1. Justice Thomas did not testify that he had never 'even discussed abortion and Roe v. Wade.' He testified that he had never 'debated' Roe.

2. As Justice John Paul Stevens has recently said in an interview, this is entirely credible, because Roe was not a major focus of controversy when it was decided in 1973, or when Justice Stevens was nominated to the Court in 1975 — the year after Justice Thomas was graduated from Yale Law School.

3. Justice Thomas declined — like other nominees since the 1973 decision who were asked by Senators in confirmation hearings — to answer hypothetical questions about how he would rule on cases involving Roe or abortion. As Justice Ginsburg said in her confirmation hearings: 'no hints, no forecasts, no previews.' For Justices to opine in advance about issues that may come before the Court undermines judicial independence, both because it creates expectations about the Justice's views that may be incorrect, and because it allows Senators to try to substitute themselves for judges and effectively dictate the outcome of future cases by applying such specific test questions to nominees.

4. The whole metaphor of the 'elephant in the room' refers precisely to an issue that is not directly acknowledged, but is an invisible driving force behind events. By 1991, pro-abortion judicial activists had decided that any proponent of judicial restraint should be destroyed during the confirmation process, because they wanted only Justices who would perpetuate abortion-on-demand through the courts. They looked then, and continue to look now, for any way to bring down nominees who adhere to principles of judicial restraint. They tried it with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, and they will try it again.

5. To imply that, because Justice Thomas expressed no opinion on Roe in his confirmation hearings, it was somehow disingenuous for him to opine 'less than a year later' that it should be reversed when the Justices had to decide Casey, is absurd. He had an obligation to independently consider the law and the facts in every case or controversy that came before him, whether it was one week, one year, or one decade after he came on the Court. That is what he did.

"People need to read the book for themselves when it becomes available on Monday. In the meantime, they should watch '60 Minutes' on CBS Sunday night to see the Justice speak for himself. ABC News legal reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg will have an analysis of the book on ABC's website Sunday night at about the same time that the CBS interview airs, and she will have various interview segments with the Justice on ABC on Monday.

"Justice Thomas is a far more complex and nuanced person than many on all sides have appreciated to date. He has led an amazing, and inspiring, life of hardship, trial, perseverance, courage, and triumph. Let him tell his own story, without the spin and distortion, and without trying to twist every comment to serve some current political outcome."

That's a reasonable request, of course.

But the words "inspiring, life of hardship, trial, perseverance, courage, and triumph" ring a loud bell for one who thought the Duke case was Tawana Brawley Two from the beginning and confirmed that was true. Those words apply to the lacrosse players targeted by the political correctness extremists, real victims in the Duke case.

Mrs. Long also addressed the important subject of victimhood in her latest Bench Memo, "Black liberals, Justice Thomas, and the 'victim' metaphor."

Mrs. Long:

"I'm beginning to understand why Justice Thomas insists he was once a black 'radical' but never a black 'liberal.'

"Black liberals are essentially calling the Justice a hypocrite for analyzing the 'high tech lynching' of his confirmation hearing and other aspects of his life through the prism of race, as portrayed in several classics of American literature, including Richard Wright's Native Son and Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.

"Kevin Merida, a black Washington Post reporter who co-authored a recent book on Justice Thomas (and is likely the one who is really 'angry' and 'stewing,' because Justice Thomas has now eclipsed that book with his more authoritative account of his own life), says in a cynical essay in tomorrow's Post that 'Thomas's embrace of victimhood' is 'extraordinary' because he 'has often spoken publicly against self-pity.'

"Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill during the confirmation hearings, purports to find Justice Thomas's description of himself as a persecuted black man remarkable, given his 'persistent jurisprudence that strikes a colorblind tone.'

"Here is what these black liberals apparently fail to understand:

Justice Thomas's exhortation to blacks (and to all of us) to resist being 'victims' and to resist 'whining' is a call to avoid excuses for working hard and doing our best. It is a call, most specifically, to avoid dealing with the past evil of slavery and with lingering racism and bigotry by resorting to social engineering or government intervention to solve all our problems. Justice Thomas has never to my knowledge said, and I do not understand him to say now, that one should simply ignore actual, personal injustice or persecution and pretend that it doesn't exist.

"As for Ogletree's comment, Justice Thomas's jurisprudence does not 'strike a colorblind tone.' Justice Thomas has stated explicitly in Supreme Court opinions 'the simple, yet fundamental, truth that the government cannot discriminate among its citizens on the basis of race.' Justice Thomas is speaking of a fact about the Constitution. It is not something personal to him. And the simple truth that our Constitution is colorblind is completely consistent with a view of the world that says it is unjust to persecute people with lies based upon racial stereotypes or anything else.

"Moreover, the fact that the Constitution is colorblind doesn't mean that everything else must be; as Justice Thomas has acknowledged, for example, single-race schools are not necessarily evidence of state segregation, but can instead exist due to 'larger social forces or private choices.'

"But the main point is: Justice Thomas — his grandfather's son — learned early, and continues to live by, the principles of self-reliance, hard work, honesty, and courage, rather than claiming 'victim' status solely based upon race. This does not mean that a black person cannot be a 'victim' of actual misconduct by others — as Justice Thomas has been the victim of bald-faced lies, bigotry, and character assassination. Bigger Thomas in Native Son, and Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird, were actual victims — that is to say, real, actual injustice was visited upon them. As it was upon Justice Thomas.

"I don't have the book yet, but I doubt that Justice Thomas uses the word 'victim' very much even in describing these incidents — precisely because that word is practically copyrighted by the black liberals who own it, and everything it symbolizes.

"And that is precisely the point."

Like the Duke lacrosse players, now Justice Thomas became a victim of political correctness extremism. During the process that culminated in his confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice, he refused to be railroaded and set the right example for those victimized by the forces of political correctness extremism (including lacrosse players): speak up for yourself in the courtroom of public opinion, because, in Justice Thomas's words, "it is always worth it to stand on principle." Like Justice Thomas, the lacrosse players won despite all the lies. Also like Justice Thomas, their work is not done: an end needs to be put to political correctness extremism pollution and reform of the criminal justice system and higher education, in accordance with the Constitution, are big parts of the solution.

Michael J. Gaynor

Send email feedback to Michael J. Gaynor

Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

Read other commentaries by Michael J. Gaynor.

Copyright © 2007 by Michael J. Gaynor
All Rights Reserved.

[ Back ]

© 2004-2024 by WEBCommentary(tm), All Rights Reserved