Controversy over Justice Thomas

I call BS on this:

Some University of Georgia faculty are concerned having U.S Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the institution’s graduation speaker sends the wrong message after a year of sexual harassment scandals on campus.

The university announced Friday that Thomas would be the commencement speaker, setting off rounds of angry and frustrated e-mails between faculty members. Thomas, a Georgia native, faced a bitterly contested confirmation process for his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1991 after his former employee, Anita Hill, accused him of sexual harassment.

Some faculty members said they were outraged that the university would ask Thomas to speak when UGA has been facing criticism that administrators have been slow to address sexual harassment complaints filed against faculty members.

“What a slap in the face this is to everyone who has been working to bring to light the realities of sexual harassment, and to establish appropriate methods and offices for addressing this significant problem on our campus,” Chris Cuomo, director of UGA’s Institute for Women’s Studies, told The Red & Black student newspaper.

This everything to do with the fact that he is a conservative.


  1. Doug Deal says:

    UGA doesn’t deserve Thomas. I hope he cancels. Instead of spending his time at a glorified Chuckie Cheese, he can preside over the graduation at an actual school for grownups, like Georgia Tech.

  2. Progressive Dem says:

    It may have to do with Thomas being a conservative, or it may have to do with three faculty resignations since September for sexual harassment. That does seem like a particularly high number for one year.

    BTW have you seen Garland Pinholster lately?

  3. Skeptic Tank says:

    Everything to do with the fact that he’s a conservative? Let’s not forget that he’s also a harasser of women who lied to Congress during his confirmation for the Supreme Court. Those are pretty good arguments against inviting him to speak at graduation.

  4. boyreporter says:

    Good for those at UGA who want to cancel Mr. Coke Can. The others looked around and found him to be the best speaker they could book? Just like George H.W. Bush looked around and found this guy to be the best appointee to the Court that he could find?

  5. drjay says:

    i am always amazed at how contraversial justice thomas remains even to this day–the fact that he is a supreme court justice born and raised in ga makes him a good choice as a commencement speaker regardless of politics–just like hamilton jordan, a politico and cancer survivor and activist, was a good choice as a commencement speaker when i graduated from the medical college of ga regardless of politics–finding speakers that don’t offend or challenge at least some group would make for an even more boring commencement than they already generally are–doug i would expect the uproar to be the same at tech and you are naive if you think it would not be…

  6. ugalawman says:

    A similar controversy arose when Justice Thomas spoke at the UGA law school commencement; my graduation. As a student I was thrilled to have a sitting Supreme Court Justice speak when I graduated law school. His speech that day was in no way political. He gave a very moving speech about working hard and achieving your goals.

  7. Live Free or Die says:

    Thomas is a lighting rod; for better or worse, there is just a lot of baggage with him. The man when sitting on the bench never asks a question and he is not known as one the great legal scholars on the Court. I do think however this is another political attack (they happen to the left and the right). Regardless, he is a Supreme Court Justice and I think any school should be gratefull to have thier presence (even if the Justice was a liberal too!)

  8. Doug Deal says:


    You know very little about Justice Thomas. It would serve you well to learn more about him before commenting on his judicial scholarship.

    He speaks rarely out of a belief that oral arguments are unnecessary and as a courtesy to the parties of the appeal. Unlike justices such as Scalia, who love to hear himself talk he lets them present their case. I hope you do not confuse verbosity for intelligence.

    As for his scholarship, he has written plenty of decisions abnd dissents, but people who want to disparage the black conservative as an idiot chose to ignore them. This is true racism, if you ask me.

    His dissent in GONZALES V. RAICH

  9. Skeptic Tank says:

    He speaks rarely because he is an unqualified jurist who does whatever Nino Scalia tells him to do.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    Skeptic Tank,

    He speaks rarely because he is an unqualified jurist who does whatever Nino Scalia tells him to do.

    Well, don’t let us stop you from allowing your racism show through.

  11. Progressive Dem says:

    It isn’t that he doesn’t speak, he doesn’t ask questions. Asking a question shows an inquisitive and active mind. It also displays some self-confidence. I’m certain the parties on appeal would welcome a question.

    I will say that Thomas gets an inordinate amount of criticism, and some of it is because he is black. If Justice Sandra Day O’Connor took positions that were harmfull to woman, she would have been criticized. Is that anti-feminist? Don’t think so. If Ruth Bader Ginsberg supported rulings that promoted Christain prayer in schools, she would be criticized. Is that anti-semetic? Don’t hink so. And the criticism of Thomas is not racist.

    For what it’s worth, I think Thomas is a thoughtful man, and his life is an American success story. He is certainly an excellent graduation speaker. I just wish that was the most influence he had. He is often wrong.

  12. Eureka says:

    Should be interesting to see what happens at the University Council meeting this afternoon. It starts at 3:30 and President Adams will address the concerns of faculty and students.

  13. Kelley says:

    Students at the University of Georgia should be honored to have a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice speak at their graduation ceremony, and most are. It is a shame that, as is usually the case in our far-left academic community, liberal professors are given a louder voice than is warranted by popular sentiment.

    Any allusions to allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas are a shameless attempt to justify liberal hypocrisy. Let’s be honest – a questionable sexual harassment accusation from seventeen years ago hasn’t a thing to do with the value of a commencement speaker who has been otherwise influential in the ongoing shaping of our nation. The same individuals who are crying outrage over the fact that the University of Georgia is hosting a conservative speaker with views opposite their own are those who claim to believe in free speech.

    When will the world grow up and realize that life is rarely fair, much less politically correct? It is impossible to please everyone all the time, and my right to academic freedom shouldn’t be restricted to preserve the feelings of a select few with big mouths.

  14. Doug Deal says:


    You do realize that both sides and “friends of the court” submit briefs ad nauseum to the court long before oral arguments?

    Valid criticisms of Thomas (which include disagreements about his interpretation of the law and the Constitution) are fine. Calling him stupid, unqualified, a token, Scalia’s “boy” and many of the other things liberals hurl at him is clear cut racism, and it should be called out whenever it happens.

  15. Progressive Dem says:

    Nobody on these posts called him boy, stupid, a token or unqualified except Doug.

    The fact is that Thomas is anything but a conservative. According to Scalia, Thomas doesn’t believe in stare decisis. He believes the Court can change any law without much concern about precedent. This is a radical position that not even Scalia can stomach. I believe Thomas has written something like 30-40 lone dissents in which he has failed to convince any other justice of his views. The guy is pretty far out there, and when you are to the right of Scalia and Alito, you probably deserve a lot of criticism. Last time I checked it was ok to criticize radical positions and not be considered racist for doing so.

  16. boyreporter says:


    I’ve always thought it was funny that the heirs to racist Democrats (the current Republican Party) are so quick to yell racism when a black jurist or politician is criticised. Is there guilt in there somewhere? Guilt that you guys took over where the Dixiecrats left off and built on a power base of segregationists and KKK-types? You have a lot of work to do before the stain of the origins of your Party (the Southern wing) are cleansed away.

    In other words: You rush to the defense of the rare black Republican because you know they’re bogus to begin with, and you have so few to showcase.

  17. Mouth of the South says:

    He’s a crap Justice, but that hardly matters. The goal of a the committee that gets the speaker is to 1-8) Get the biggest name they can get and then 9) Not embarrass the school.

    I attended the UGA School of Law Graduation in 2003 and graduated from the school of law in 2004 (where we had Leah Sears, another crap African-American Justice who had the added benefit of not giving a very good speech). The 2003 graduation speech was fine, attracted attention to the school and for the most part everyone was happy with that save Donald Wilkes and the people who had difficulty removing the plastic wrap from atop their beverages.

  18. Eureka says:

    Today at the University Council Meeting President Adams defended Justice Thomas and his right to speak at Commencement. He argued that the University must bring speakers of all political spectrums. He said that the outrage of this was not due to the allegations of Sexual Harassment, but solely partisan politics.

    One interesting thing from the meeting, he said that that comments like those in the AJC today hurt UGA’s efforts to prove that their is no ideological bias in the classroom. Maybe this is evidence that their is ideological bias in the classroom?

  19. rugby fan says:

    Except for the most partisan of conservatives, you will be hard pressed to find someone who thinks of Justice Thomas as an intellectual heavyweight.

    If you compare him only to previous Justices he would still be in the lower percentiles.

  20. boyreporter says:

    Just as I begin to be depressed by the stupid, rightwaing, know-nothing-but-thinks-knows-everything “conservative” posters, along comes a ray of light. Thanks, MoftheS. Where’s “hillbilly ragger” when we need him?

  21. boyreporter says:

    “rightwing,” of course, but come to think of it, “rightwaing” sounds about right.

  22. Doug Deal says:


    You say that no one on this forum except me called him unqualified; perhaps you can tell me why this following quote from “Skeptic Tank” does not qualify as calling him unqualified?

    He speaks rarely because he is an unqualified jurist who does whatever Nino Scalia tells him to do.

    Also, you know as well as I do that it is a very common practice on the left to call Thomas everything from an “Uncle Tom” to suggesting he is Scalia’s “boy”. You can try to deny it here, but you will just lose credibility.

    As for stare decisis, you have, of course, misrepresented his opinion on it.

    He believes in stare decisis to the extent that lower courts should be bound by the opinion of a higher court (one part of it) and that precedent should be followed where correct, but he has stated many times in interviews that the “Seperate But Equal” would stand today if stare decisis were taken as an absolute.

    As an originalist, as Scalia also purports to be, he should oppose precedent, no matter how long standing, when it is in direct conflict with the written text of the Constitution or applicable law, otherwise the court is in violation of the principle of separation of powers, as they are in fact making law.

  23. Doug Deal says:


    In other words: You rush to the defense of the rare black Republican because you know they’re bogus to begin with, and you have so few to showcase.

    So, you do not see your own racism in believing a black has to believe and act as your pre-concieved notions say he must?

  24. Doug Deal says:


    Except for the most partisan of conservatives, you will be hard pressed to find someone who thinks of Justice Thomas as an intellectual heavyweight.

    And you think the 4 liberal justices are anything but intellectually dishonest charlatans? I suppose you think that Kelo stands as the finest example of judicial thought in the modern era.

    Thomas is one of the strongest defenders of free speech and property rights on the bench. His is the most libertarian of the Justices, and the only reason that you guys on the left criticize him so strongly is that a strong willed intellectual black man threatens the Dem domination of the black vote.

  25. Demonbeck says:

    “Can you imagine the uproar if he was to speak at Coca-Cola Emory?!”

    Wat? Is Jimmy Carter not available?

    Frankly, I think this folks would protest if a jar of mayonnaise were scheduled to speak.

    “How dare the administration allow transfats on campus with the high level of eating disorders amongst the coeds?”

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