Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was recently asked if there was any hope for Washington. He responded that there is always hope, but he added that Washington is completely broken. He points to the obstruction of the new Supreme Court justice nominee by the Republican Senate as an example of why people do not trust Washington anymore and why the city is in tatters.
He continued to tell the interviewer, a representative of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, that he has been on the Supreme Court for most of his adult life. Clarence even corrected himself, saying that he has been on the bench for most of his life, period. He expressed concern over the growing comfort for avoiding substantiative debate and a lack of thinking things through.
Justice Thomas sees a paradigm shift in our political system. Instead of sitting down and talking things through, perhaps even touching on some difficult subjects, people choose to simply annihilate their opponents. Justice Thomas does not believe that this new political paradigm will work for a civil society and expresses concern over the future of America itself.
He said, “I don’t think [obstruction]’s going to work in a republic or a civil society. At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions and undermining our institutions.”
Thomas points to his own work on the Supreme Court as an example of what America should aspire to. He asks the interviewer if he noticed that in his opinions he never includes personal attacks. He explained that he often disagrees strongly with his fellow justices but never stoops to the level of the current American political system. Thomas believes that it is important to leave them standing and to not annihilate them in order to leave the institution intact. After all, dissenting voices are how the best ideas come forward. The sharp contrast of different points of view within the Supreme Court, he says, is an incredibly important part of our justice system. That needs to be vibrant and left intact in order for our democracy to survive.
Thomas would like the country to return to civil discourse where the best ideas come forward through debate of logic and fact. Without that, he says, the country will be stuck in a rut. Thomas is hoping that we move away from the “nonsense”. In today’s political climate, the loudest person tends to win, or the person with the best meme.
It comes as no surprise that the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court is now bashing the Republican Party for the unprecedented obstruction of Pres. Obama’s pick for the court. Thomas has sat on the bench for more than 25 years, originally appointed by George HW Bush, and he has never seen Washington so broken.
What’s shocking is that the most conservative justice is expressing these views to the conservative Heritage Foundation. He wishes that the executive and legislative branches can come together in order to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his untimely death on a ranch in Texas.
Thomas takes a softer tone when talking about his old friend Antonin Scalia. He called the justice warm and caring, belying his tough exterior. The long-standing Supreme Court justice is now calling on the Republican Party to end it’s obstruction of Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.
Garland is a centrist federal judge that was chosen by Obama to appease the conservative Republican Party. But the GOP decided that it would wait months to confirm a nominee until after the new presidential election. But with Hillary having a commanding lead, it looks like their plan will backfire.