Your morning jolt: Clarence Thomas concedes U.S. Constitution didn’t originally include him

In a Sunday piece timed to mark the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post wrote of a recent question-and-answer session with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who conceded that the opening phrase of the nation’s founding document – “We the people” – didn’t originally apply to people like him.

The Georgia native said he often contemplates the gap between America’s promises and its delivery:

“I always think it’s so fascinating to think of these black kids in the segregated school in Savannah reciting the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States or standing out in the schoolyard saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day before school,” Thomas said.

“I mean, everything so obviously in front of you is wrong. You can’t go to the public library. You can’t live in certain neighborhoods. You can’t go to certain schools. But despite all of that, you lived in an environment of people who said it was still our birthright to be included, and continued to push, not only to change the laws, but to maintain that belief in our hearts.”

But as a college student, Thomas admitted, he would often insert “glib remarks” in his recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance. “Glad there were not these cellphones,” he said to a crowd at the National Archives. “People couldn’t YouTube you and it’s around forever.”

***
Salman Rushdie has been under a fatwah – declared “an enemy of Islam” by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini – since the 1988 publication of his book, “The Satanic Verses.” He’s now a professor at Emory University.

Rushdie was on NPR this morning to discuss the rash of violent protests at U.S. diplomatic stations across the world, in response to D-grade, U.S.-made movie about the Prophet Mohammad:

It is the “mindset of the fanatic, mindset of the tyrant” to respond to an insult to one’s religion with violence, Rushdie [said]. “To murder people who had nothing to do with it,” he added, is a “deeply uncivilized attitude.”

“Something has gone wrong inside the Muslim world,” Rushdie continued. Just a few decades ago, he said, major cities in the Arab and Muslim world were outward-looking. But “in the last half century, these cultures seem to have slid backwards into medievalism and repression. … It is one of the great self-inflicted wounds.”

***
Apparently, the Boy Scout laws have been somehow amended to include a ban on snitching. Look for this article from the Los Angeles Times to have serious repercussions:

Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

[A] review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.

Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, “chronic brain dysfunction” and duties at a Shakespeare festival.

***
Georgia Tipsheet reports that, last week, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, gently tip-toed around a move at his alma mater to extend employee health care benefits to domestic partners:

Lest an embrace of the benefits proposal be interpreted by social conservative voters in his district as a softening of his position on gay marriage, which remains broadly unpopular in the region, Barrow specifically reaffirmed his religious convictions on the sensitive issue.

“I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” he said. “However, under the 10th amendment to the Constitution, it’s up to the states to decide whether to extend equal benefits as a form of equal pay.”

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s description of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal as a “premium support” plan rather than a “voucher program.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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26 comments Add your comment

Andy Ross

September 17th, 2012
9:34 am

You know, Obama’s parents couldn’t get married in most states at the time he was born. Lot of states banned interracial marriage until Supreme Court ruling in 1967. Come to think of it, without that ruling, Clarence Thomas couldn’t have married his current wife!

Marlboro Man

September 17th, 2012
9:39 am

Gingrey is a pip.

Chi Town

September 17th, 2012
9:42 am

I hear Clarence enjoys the white women……

Anyone confirm?

kym

September 17th, 2012
9:43 am

@chi town…he is married to one…DUH..

Baron DeKalb

September 17th, 2012
9:45 am

Good point Andy. And consider this (from Wikipedia): “the active repeal of the laws was not complete until Alabama did so in 2001 after failing to do so in several earlier plebiscites on the matter.”

Chesley V. Morton

September 17th, 2012
9:48 am

Your headline “Clarence Thomas concedes…” conveys the impression that Clarence Thomas once took a position different from the one he now “concedes” to. If so, please add that information to your story. Otherwise, “Clarence Thomas acknowledges…” would be more appropriate.

hiram

September 17th, 2012
10:00 am

As a descendant of slaves in the Savannah area, no doubt, some members of Thomas’ family would’ve been effected by Sherman’s Special Field Orders, No. 15, and had to give back their 40 acres and mule.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_acres_and_a_mule

honested

September 17th, 2012
10:50 am

I’m glad Justice thomas finally recognizes there IS a Constitution and it applies to all Citizens.

Now if he only didn’t think corporations were Citizens!

Ivan Cohen

September 17th, 2012
11:01 am

I too know of the so-called “segregated schools in Savannah”. I also attended them. As I look back on it, I don’t see them as inferior just because they were “segregated”. That is someone else’s preception. Justice Clarence Thomas and some of his peers had it drilled into them by the elders who were involved in the local Civil Rights movement about inclusion. Truth be told these elders were fixated on inclusion. The white man’s ice was colder, his sugar was sweeter and somehow his schools were better. I too was one of those black kids in “the segregated school” standing out in the schoolyard saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day before school and singing either the Star Spangled Banner or America the Beautiful before we entered the building. The particular time period Justice Thomas is referring to black people could not go the main library on Bull Street but they did have a Carnegie library on Henry Street to patronize. I wonder if it will take the 226th birthday of the U.S. Constitution before Justice Thomas goes on the record with his contemplations. They probably won’t be through the pages of the Washington Post. you know, “been there, done that. To me, anyone who talks about how glad they were that YouTube and cellphones weren’t around when really “expressing themselves” are obviously still enslaved mentally. I met Justice Thomas when he came to Savannah a few years ago for the dedication of the wing of a newly remodeled Carnegie Public library, the same library he used as a youth. In the course of our conversation, we discovered that we had a common denominator St. Pius X High School. We did not attend that school at the same time. Justice Clarence Thomas and I will never be on the same page philosophically speaking. We won’t even have the same hymn book.

Weetamoe

September 17th, 2012
11:44 am

If Ryan’s premium support proposal is a voucher proposal, Obama’s premium support law affecting 2 million low income Medicare recipients forces those recipients to rely on a voucher system.
Boy Scout officials obviously did not want to be accused of homophobia.
Margaret Thatcher, whom Rushdie had vilified, took immediate measures to protect him after the fatwa was announced; Obama had his brownshirts drag the maker of a third rate porn film that hurt the feelings of the Brotherhood from his home in the middle of the night.

honested

September 17th, 2012
11:48 am

weetamoe,

New to the concept of grammar?
I’m sure you meant to make sense, maybe you want to try again.

pb

September 17th, 2012
12:37 pm

Nice that Clarence admitted there were mistakes and injustice in the way original Consititution applied to blacks and slaves. Glad he is coming around. But has not changed his ultra conservative interpretation in rulings on Supreme Court.

Billbb

September 17th, 2012
1:17 pm

Interesting that Thomas’s originalism insists on making decisions based on (his interpretation of the intent of) the original framers of the Constitution yet doesn’t remove himself from the Court and citizenship even though it was the framers’ intent that only white men would be citizens. He lacks integrity in this. If the definition of citizenship can evolve, as it rightly should, as our consciousness evolves, so should other factors relating to the mindsets of the framers and current paradigms.

InAtl

September 17th, 2012
1:30 pm

I agree with Chesley’s point above. My first thought when I read the headline was “concedes”? Jim let slip his true feelings by using that word, I think. Here’s the definition of “condede.”
v., -ced·ed, -ced·ing, -cedes. v.tr.:
To acknowledge, often reluctantly, as being true, just, or proper; admit. See synonyms at acknowledge.
To yield or grant (a privilege or right, for example). v.intr. To make a concession: yield: The losing candidate conceded at midnight after the polls had closed.

So please explain to us, Jim, why you attempt to make it sound like Thomas was defeated, yielded or reluctantly acknowledged his point about the constitution.

Class of '98

September 17th, 2012
1:49 pm

Thirteen comments in four hours. Another banner day for ole Jim.

What exactly is your point about the Constitution, Jim? Why won’t liberals like you just be honest for once and admit they would love to see the Constition wadded up and thrown away?

Class of '98

September 17th, 2012
1:52 pm

honested, if corporations aren’t people how can they be “greedy”? Ever had a greedy toaster? How about a greedy garden hose? Only people can be greedy, right?

This isn’t the only way liberals are hyporcrites about Citizens United. They see no problem with unions donating unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, but for some reason think corporations shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

Dimwits.

honested

September 17th, 2012
2:11 pm

classless of 98

Corporations have no qualification as ‘citizens’ under any aspect of ‘original intent’.
Therefore, clinging to the notion of ‘corporate rights’ when it was never an intended concept would make one what?…..Oh yeah, a hypocrite!

Assemblage of Citizens to present grievances (unions) on the other hand was never precluded or intended to be precluded. The contributions that pass through Unions come from CITIZENS.

I’m certain you must have some concept of the difference, if not:

Corporations = stacks of money (the money belongs to Citizens who are welcomed to do what they will individually, once they pay the appropriate taxes on the funds).

Union= groups of Citizens

Retired Soldier

September 17th, 2012
2:29 pm

honestead-

Your augument fails in at least one respect as far as unions are concerned. In many states joining the union is required in oeder to accept employment. They are forced to contribute regardless of political outlook.

Corporations don’t require their employees to contribute, yes there are examples where the opposite has happened but it was illegal.

The difference, voluntary vs. forced. Big difference.

td

September 17th, 2012
2:50 pm

honested

September 17th, 2012
2:11 pm

“Assemblage of Citizens to present grievances (unions) on the other hand was never precluded or intended to be precluded. The contributions that pass through Unions come from CITIZENS.”

What in the h3ll do you think a corporation is? Who are stockholders? Are they not an association of citizens bound together for a common interest?

Justice Kennedy stated in Citizens United: “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

retiredds

September 17th, 2012
2:52 pm

Premium support is another hoax being foisted upon the American people. Other hoaxes include: supply-side economics (more widely known as voo-doo economics), trickle-down economics, and revenue neutral.

td

September 17th, 2012
2:54 pm

Kennedy also wrote: “majority also noted that since the First Amendment (and the Court) do not distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs.”

If you outlaw all corporations from political speech then you also have to outlaw media corporations like the AJC and these blogs because they are engaging in political opinion and not political facts and news.

td

September 17th, 2012
2:57 pm

retiredds

September 17th, 2012
2:52 pm

Oh yes, Keynesian economics, demand side or government spending has not been proven to be a failed philosophy

retiredds

September 17th, 2012
3:03 pm

Class of 98 @1:49: Why won’t liberals like you just be honest for once and admit they would love to see the Constition wadded up and thrown away?

I tend to be liberal on many issues. I have never thought that the Constitution should be wadded up and thrown away. I don’t know where you get your ideology from but you are categorically wrong. If you would have stated that some liberals (and by the way some conservatives too) might want to do that you would have an argument. But your global statement is false, period.

retiredds

September 17th, 2012
3:05 pm

td, I would be willing to throw that in if you would accept mine. But somehow I don’t think you will. So I’ll hold back to see your response.

Committed to freedom

September 17th, 2012
3:58 pm

And now thanks to virtually every president since Lincoln, it doesn’t protect any of us anymore. Bush and Obama have been the worst of course. It is to be seen just how little respect is shown for the constititution once the economy, dollar, and empire collapse.

retiredds

September 17th, 2012
4:29 pm

Committed to Freedom: Would you please elaborate on your 3:58pm statement. I am interested in your specific (not overgeneralized) view(s) of how, “it doesn’t protect any of us anymore”.