Thursday, June 20, 2013

Clarence Thomas as a liberal

Some principles cut across the left/right political divide. For example, CT has his own way of looking at things. Of course it's a Slate article so they see things through a rather particular lens, but it does get to the core of the issue:
All of these votes arise from the same philosophy that drives Thomas to rule for unlimited and anonymous corporate electioneering, astonishingly torturous methods of capital punishment, and the deprivation of gay people’s rights. More than any justice in history, Thomas is an originalist, ruling exclusively by the letter of what he views as the Founders’ original intent in writing the Constitution. Because the Founders, for example, condoned “public dissection” and the “embowelling [sic] alive, beheading, and quartering” of prisoners, so too does Thomas. But because, in Thomas’ view, the Founders felt Americans had a right to view graphic sexual material, we still hold that right today. Liberal justices attempt to apply the Constitution’s strictures to the present, adapting its liberties to the needs of modern society. When society proposes a new liberty, like a right to be gay, Thomas rejects it out of hand. But when it begins to encroach on an old one—private property, for instance—Thomas emerges as a defender of freedom.
If you want to amend the Constitution, amend the Constitution, I say. The needs of modern society should be determined through a political process, not by five dudes or chicks being lobbied. Regardless, I'm more an admirer of Thomas sticking to his guns than his particular positions.

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