Clarence Thomas: Despite My Usual Silence, I, Too, Am Empathic

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So let’s try and keep track. First Barack Obama said he wanted his Supreme Court nominee to bring a quality of empathy to the bench. Then he picked Sonia Sotomayor, who claimed to embody this quality. Then Republicans and movement conservatives alike launched a possibly ill-advised war on empathy (at least as it applies to Supreme Court nominees).

Now, though, it seems most recent Republican Supreme Court picks are, or claim to be, pretty empathic creatures themselves. There’s Samuel Alito, and Sandra Day O’Connor, and now, it turns out, Clarence Thomas.

And I believe, Senator, that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does. You know, on my current court I have occasion to look out the window that faces C Street, and there are converted buses that bring in the criminal defendants to our criminal justice system, bus load after bus load. And you look out and you say to yourself, and I say to myself almost every day, “But for the grace of God there go I.”

Unfortunately for conservatives, though, this laughably transparent double standards has forced many on the right to up the ante, calling Sotomayor a racist, while making an issue of her race and gender. And it’s creating some problems for them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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