As any public figure, whether they are politicians or CEOs of large corporations, judges from the Supreme Court and the lower courts should be respected. Every day, judges make decisions that have a profound impact on the lives of many people.
Due to this, as well as the politics of the elections and nominations for judges to various courts throughout the country, the judicial philosophy of these individuals can and should all be addressed in the open, including pros and cons as well as their well-funded advocates and all of the rest.
But there’s a huge difference between legitimate scrutiny of a member of the court versus leaning into despicable and dated racial/gender stereotypes as a basis for one’s “argument” for or against one, and the Washington Post definitely crossed the line into the latter in a Wednesday report in which they all but used the term “Uncle Tom” to describe Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
In essence, the article was a puff piece about House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and how he has become President Biden’s go-to voice on possible Supreme Court nominees to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. But several paragraphs into their original “report” (archived here), here’s how the WaPo describes Thomas’ judicial point of view (bolded emphasis added):
“Nobody that I’m aware of feels that opposing Clyburn’s nomination would be the wise thing to do,” [Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)] said. “If you know that a person has been vetted by Jim Clyburn, you know that person won’t go to the court and end up being a Clarence Thomas,” This refers to Black justices whose rulings are often very similar to White conservatives’ political thinking.
Keep in mind that this wasn’t an opinion piece nor an editorial. This was ostensibly a “straight news” report that strongly insinuated that a black conservative Justice was a traitor to his race.
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) caught wind of the story and went off, pointing out that the paper was “staying on brand with racist stereotypes”:
There is nothing to be seen here. Only the Washington Post sticking to racist stereotypes. pic.twitter.com/QYNyKbTLfd
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) February 17, 2022
Owens, naturally, is right. This isn’t a one-off for the Washington Post. It’s something they routinely do to black conservatives or any other black person who dares to have a different point of view than Democrats.
One example that instantly comes to mind was the insane “fact check” they did of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) last year where Glenn Kessler actually tried to whitesplain and downplay inspiring stories Scott had told about his ancestors and how his family “went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime”:
Glenn Kessler trying to Whitesplain that, Actually, Tim Scott’s Ancestors Had It Pretty Good is one of the most profoundly stupid things on this website today https://t.co/EJtQMzuEik
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) April 23, 2021
For what it’s worth, the paper issued a “clarification” on their story in the aftermath of all the criticism they received and took out the most offensive part:
A previous version of this story imprecisely referred to Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinions as often reflecting the thinking of White conservatives, rather than conservatives broadly. This reference was removed.
Although people are understandably outraged by such things, there is a way to view it as a thankfulness that they spoke the quiet portion out loud. Sounds weird, but when news outlets do this sort of thing where they suggest people should only think one way based on their physical characteristics, they’re exposing themselves as “woke” frauds, reminding us all over again of who they really are in the process.
Flashback: Classic ‘Never Bend a Knee’ Moment From Clarence Thomas’ SCOTUS Hearing Resurfaces Just When We Need It