Thursday, April 14, 2016

Justice Clarence Thomas in the News


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is not known for being particularly friendly to the claims of immigrants.  Justice Thomas is in the news, with a new HBO movie (Confirmation) being run this weekend on the controversial confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 in which law professor Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment.  For a review of the film Confirmation on Slate, click here.

NPR ran an extremely interesting extended interview with Nina Totenberg, who broke the story. 




Current Affairs | Permalink


Federal judges are subject to recusal (as are their counterparts from state courts) and generally should recuse themselves if there is an "inference" of bias or other disqualifying factor involving a case they are required to decide. The motivation behind this general rule is to prevent erosion of public confidence in the judicial system, which constitutes a strong motive behind recusal. I always believed that J. Thomas' tenure would be tainted by his insistence to remain a nominee in the face of the public exposure of his alleged misconduct. Today, that belief remains firmly settled in me. In fact, I speculate that the idea that he may fear the reality of that belief to some extent may form part of the platform of his silence in the bench. This is not too far fetched in my estimation. Be it as it may, a nominee for the high court ought to posses a minimum standard of self respect, character and legal integrity so as to recuse him or herself from the nomination process whenever the high court position he or she is aspiring for becomes tainted during the process of attaining it. J. Thomas will go down in American legal history as one such a nominee that had an opportunity to put country before his personal and professional goals. I have no knowledge that the allegations raised by Anita Hill were in fact true, and I do not intend to trash another man's character and/or integrity based solely on unproven allegations. But that is a separate and distinct matter. The issue I am raising here is that, which equates with what our laws come to expect from a judge whose refusal to recuse from a case on the face of substantial allegations of bias, or other disqualifying factor, will or may taint the outcome of the case she is deciding. The aim is the same. A judge should recuse herself from deciding a legal question in the interest of maintaining a higher goal -- the public confidence in the judicial system. J. Thomas should have voluntarily withdrawn his nomination in the face of such controversy purely to avoid casting a doubt in the integrity of the Supreme Court of the United State.

Posted by: J.D.Allen | Apr 15, 2016 9:41:25 AM

Post a comment