The Embarrassing Saga of Clarence Thomas

The Embarrassing Saga of Clarence Thomas


The unfortunate aspect of the latest string of allegations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is that he’s the only African American Supreme Court Justice.  In times like these, there are many who long for Thurgood Marshall and his legacy.  It’s not so much the perception that Thomas lacks the type of deep, thoughtful jurisprudence that’s expected from a judge on the High Court.  But, it’s a feeling of why does it have to be the brother?”

Retired SEC Administrative Law Judge and Thomas’ ex-girlfriend Lillian McEwen’s bean spill on Larry King LIVE recently sets in motion another tiring and embarrassing episode for the troubled Justice. McEwen, pressed for a book deal, talks about ‘[t]he Clarence I know …”  Reports The Washington Post’s Reliable Source gossip column:

McEwen didn’t make much news in her 30-minute interview.  Thomas wrote about his drinking in his 2007 memoir and how he quit cold turkey around 1982.  McEwen spoke for the first time about Thomas last week to the Washington Post, saying that Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony about alleged sexual harassment by the future Supreme Court justice rang true to her.  Thomas’s rep has said he’s not commenting.

In both interviews, McEwen has dropped little bits of startling personal news and then insisted she didn’t think it was a big deal.  Thomas’s porn habit, as she described it on CNN — nothing shocking to her, “I didn’t disapprove of it, I just didn’t care,” even considering his career goals at the time:  “I assume that many Supreme Court justices watch porn and enjoy porn.  I mean, it’s very popular on the Internet, that’s why most people use their computers, is to watch porn, especially men.”

McEwen, a retired Securities and Exchange Commission administrative judge now three years retired, has probably spent the better half of her professional life ready to blow this top.  It could be an insatiable tell-all, the Howard University law school grad engaging a public rebirth to give us the juicy details about the real Clarence. Sadly, many of us are not surprised…or particularly interested.

It may not have made as much news as expected, but the image of a hypersexual, alcoholic, porn-hungry Black man does not sit well with some.   The media circus makes it worse.  While there is an expectation that many will disagree with Thomas’ legal philosophy and policy stands, few will look favorably on the reoccurring theme of questionable conduct since the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings.  There is lingering resentment and embarrassment over the continuous and very public personal troubles of Thomas.

Meanwhile, wife Virginia Thomas’ bizarre call to Anita Hill also opens yet another murky chapter in what we thought was closed twenty years ago, fueling more speculation … which begets more innuendo … more gossip … and more melee for another two decades.  Perhaps “Ginni,” as she is nicknamed by her curmudgeon race-bait of a husband, is attempting to position herself with the Palins, Bachmanns and O’Donnell’s of the conservative movement, muscling her way into Grizzly-mama royalty, the Supreme Court Justice’s wife with the Proud Conservative White Woman badge violently beat into her chest.  In her mind, she has more important, much more meaningful and intelligent things to say – she is superior to gaffe-prone Red State feministas who don’t know Alaska’s proximity to Russia; she snubs the idiocy of a Senate candidate who didn’t bother to read the First Amendment; and she is, for the most part, screaming for attention.  Wanting, yearning to be the Head White Woman In Charge.  Her Liberty Central front needs donors, and darned if Sarah isn’t sopping up all the gravy. Starting a movement don’t come easy.  And, it don’t come cheap.  The problem here is that she can’t grab the mic from the new school divas hoarding it.

Thomas, on the other hand, embraces the victim-hood a lifetime spent deriding, immersed in his search of what new, wonderful way he can make folks feel sorry for Clarence.  What we do know for sure is that he’ll say little about it.   But, knowing him, he will be as publicly withdrawn as he is resentful of that Yale law degree he threw in the trash.  Maybe, we’ll see it in another autobiography, as stubborn as the first.

But, really, why pick on that scab?