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Clarence Thomas’s court of diversity The Supreme Court justice will depart in disgrace

Clarence Thomas is sworn in during his confirmation hearings (J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images)

Clarence Thomas is sworn in during his confirmation hearings (J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images)


May 3, 2024   4 mins

As the case of Donald Trump v. United States continues to chafe America’s social fabric, an unlikely character threatens to steal the ex-President’s limelight: the ever-taciturn Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. The demands for his recusal from the insurrection trial arrive almost daily, with critics pointing to his wife Virginia’s calls to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and her presence at the rally before the January 6 Capitol protests. Thomas, by contrast, has remained resolutely silent on the matter. And nor should we be surprised: this is a man who has rarely felt compelled to justify his often-unconventional positions — or even his occasional disappearances from public view.

The past year has been particularly rough for the once-robust but now-obese and physically frail Thomas, beset by investigations into financial improprieties and heightened scrutiny over gifts and favours from wealthy benefactors. The oldest member of the Court at 74, he doesn’t seem to be long for the bench. And when he finally departs, not only will it mark the exit of the Court’s most polarising — and, perhaps surprisingly, most relatable and down-to-earth — figure, but could also alter the trajectory of American jurisprudence.

Thomas’s journey to the Supreme Court bench was, as lawyers might say, sui generis. Raised in poverty in Pinpoint, Georgia, his early life was framed by hardship and resilience. He was reared by his grandfather, Myers Anderson, a self-made man who built his own home and instilled in Thomas a rigorous work ethic and staunch moral code that the young man has, at times, struggled to follow.

After entering a seminary with the intention of becoming a priest, Thomas’s path dramatically shifted: he swiftly developed a pornography addiction so profound he wallpapered his apartment with nude pin-ups. To accommodate his less religious tendencies, he moved to the College of the Holy Cross, a liberal arts school in Massachusetts, where he embraced and then critically questioned the radical ideologies prevalent during the Seventies. His shift to conservative thought crystallised during his time at Yale Law School, where he began to question the efficacy and morality of affirmative action and other liberal policies he felt patronised rather than empowered African Americans.

“He swiftly developed a pornography addiction so profound he wallpapered his apartment with nude pin-ups.”

Though one of America’s few black conservative intellectuals, Thomas’s ascent to the Supreme Court was anything but smooth. Nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, his confirmation hearings — conducted in a rushed fashion by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden — were nearly derailed by accusations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, a former colleague at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They soon became a national spectacle that polarised public opinion and highlighted deep societal rifts around race, gender and power.

Largely because Biden closed the hearings before more witnesses could come forward, Thomas was confirmed by an exceedingly close Senate vote, 52-48. However, the scars of the process left a lasting imprint on his tenure and public persona: rarely speaking during oral arguments in the decades thereafter, Thomas adopted a jurisprudential approach that favoured colourful written opinions, where his advocacy for an unorthodox conservative interpretation of the Constitution could be fully articulated without immediate rebuttal.

Crudely speaking, Thomas could be considered an “extreme originalist”, often seeing cases through a lens that emphasises the Declaration of Independence and its revolutionary principles (instead of the later Constitution, which actually established the government). Along the way, he has freely taken peculiar positions — such as his opinion in Virginia v. Black (2003) that cross-burning constitutes racially intimidating conduct rather than mere speech, and should be unequivocally banned — aligning him unexpectedly with more liberal views on this issue.

But these were rare occasions. In United States v. Lopez (1995), by contrast, where the Court evaluated the constitutionality of the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act — which banned the possession of firearms in school zones — Thomas concurred with the majority that this act exceeded Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. He argued that regulating guns in schools was a fundamentally local matter that had insufficient impact on interstate commerce to justify federal oversight. However, in doing so, he potentially provided the grounds to invalidate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a host of other landmark federal laws enacted under the Commerce Clause that helped end state-based segregation in the South.

A decade later, in another significant case, Kelo v. City of New London (2005), Thomas dissented from the Court’s decision, in which the combined liberal-conservative majority ruled that the city could legally seize private property without the owner’s consent — in this case, someone’s actual house — and sell it to private developers as part of an economic development plan. Thomas criticised this decision, arguing that it strayed far from the founders’ intent that “eminent domain” be used only for direct public uses, such as the construction of roads or bridges, not to coercively transfer property from one private owner to another under the guise of economic development. His dissent underscored his deep scepticism of expansive government powers. “Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution,” he wrote.

As well as presenting himself as an advocate of a more restrained interpretation of federal authority, Thomas is the most relatable justice in another critical respect: he was born poor and always sought material comfort. Over the past year, ProPublica has highlighted multiple embarrassing instances where Thomas received gifts that included international vacations on private jets and luxury yacht trips, financed by billionaire donors who, depending on one’s interpretation, were either sympathetic friends or cynically buying access.

Early in the 2000s, for example, Thomas found himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, his financial strain coming to a head after he borrowed $267,000 from a friend to buy a high-end RV. Eventually, mounting political pressure sparked discussions about his potential resignation from the Supreme Court; in response, Justice Thomas advocated, albeit unsuccessfully, for the lifting of restrictions on paid speeches by justices. This change was necessary, he argued, to alleviate the financial challenges faced by public servants like him, who he felt were paid significantly less than they could earn in the private sector for comparable roles. In reality, his perspective has indeed been valuable, but at what cost?

These late-life controversies all but ensure a miserable end for Thomas. As health challenges and ethical controversies cloud the twilight of his four-decade career, Thomas likely won’t leave with his held high, regardless of whether he retires due to infirmity or is forced to step aside. Nevertheless, his story — tragic though it might be — highlights the importance of genuine diversity in government, in thought and approach as well as background. For while his legacy will be a subject of intense debate and reflection, he has already ensured his place in the annals of American legal history as a common-man justice so silent on the bench that he almost wasn’t there — at least in the conventional sense, but profoundly present in every other. He will be replaced by another elite in disposition and background. And we can rest assured that we will never see his like again.


Oliver Bateman is a historian and journalist based in Pittsburgh. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts at his Substack, Oliver Bateman Does the Work

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Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 days ago

Well, it is sort of noticeable that he has been systematically grabbing goodies from rich donors, and that his wife is a highly partisan activist in one of the most controversial cases likely to come before the court. You might argue that all politicians do that and worse (it is called ‘campaign contributions’, I believe), but for someone with immense power in a role that is supposed to be impartial and above the fray it is not really a good look. As they say “Justice must not only be done; it must be *seen* to be done”.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
11 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Justices are appointed, not elected, and appointed for life, to precisely insulate them from the need to appeal to a constituency or fear losing their position because they annoyed their constituency.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 days ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

Sure, but the reason for that is that they should be free to express their judicial opinions without having to court popularity. Not that they should be free to rake in the money or take political sides. If a Supreme Court judge used his life appointment to take a high-paid consultancy job with George Soros or to join the Klan, would you still defend it as a just use of his position?

T Bone
T Bone
11 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Literally the same argument can be made for two of the three “Living Constitution” Justices. You’re applying Repressive Tolerance. Ignoring your own side…and you absolutely do have a side.

It’s quite rich listening to progressive and progressive-adjacent folk complain about “Partiality” and “Fairness.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

And you don’t have a side?! Look at all the comments from beginning to end. Talk about flagrant bias. The comments are like a broken record. Read one and you’ve read them all.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Thank you Rasmus.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
11 days ago

“one of America’s few black conservative intellectuals”

Clarence Thomas may seem rarer than he actually is as a black conservative intellectual because that cohort is persona non grata to the Grievance Industrial Complex. It also includes Thomas Sowell, Coleman Hughes, Robert Woodson, Walter Williams, Condolezza Rice, Shelby Stele, Randall Kennedy, Orlando Patterson, Jason Riley, Glen Loury, and many others who are mostly ignored by liberal media despite their unique, thoughtful, and cogent perspectives on current and historical issues.

If you need to be further disgusted by Joe Biden, go online and find some video clips of his statements in the Senate hearings for the Clarence Thomas confirmation.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

I don’t consider Thomas an intellectual, far from it.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
8 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

By that you mean he’s not on your side. His academic and professional accomplishments certainly exceed yours. Get real; you aren’t posting in the comments section of an online alt news source because of your meteoric success and neither am I. So if you’ve nothing more than insult to offer about Clarence Thomas why not spare us the hate.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 days ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

Oh my goodness!! If your comment isn’t personal and hateful I don’t know what is.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
9 days ago

Those of us outside of the US look in at your political arguments around your Supreme Court & wonder why you actually put up with a system constantly mired in controversy.

Here in the UK few people would know who the Justices of the Supreme Court are, let alone their political leanings.
They’re normally judges with a long track record of hearing difficult cases & get appointed to the Supreme Court at an advanced stage in their careers because of their experience & wisdom.

Politics(correctly) is kept well away from the Court.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
12 days ago

…just the sort of invented “controversy” nonsense that Thomas has had to put up with his whole life.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 days ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

And the man doesn’t mention even once that the exact same mud is thrown every non-left person nominated to the court.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 days ago

True.
Every non-leftwing nominee to any position who has to go before a house or senate committee has the same accusations leveled at them by, usually women, who appear out of obscurity and claim this, that or the other offence… usually something that allegedly occurred ten or twenty years previously that is therefore completely unverifiable, unprovable and undocumented.
The orchestrated mud throwing is so predictable and the left wing media make sure it is treated as gospel truth and receives maximum exposure.

Stephen Feldman
Stephen Feldman
11 days ago

These haters rarely read full opinions and recognize sound legal reasoning can lead to a result the reader disagrees with. The Court doesn’t do popularity as a standard of finding legal foundation. The Court like US Senate is not direct democracy. That is wonderful.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago

Not true. Before Thomas, nearly every justice, liberal and conservative, was approved with a significant majority. For example, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, who was very liberal and supported Roe v Wade, was approved with 97 votes — that included nearly every Republican in the Senate.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You haven’t heard of “Borking”? The US has had multiple generations since the Warren court of judges operating on the premise of a “living constitution”, in effect legislating in the guise of interpretation. The current court operates largely on a basis that the constitution and the laws mean what they say, not the current preference of some group.
The groups, mostly Democrats, were happy with a “living constitution” because they largely achieved their objectives without the requirement to pass legislation. Thus they focused on controlling appointments to the Supreme Court, often by foul means.
Please note that Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who opined that “Roe” wasn’t correct) and Katangi Jackson Brown were appointed without a bizarre circus, unlike all recent proposals by a Republican president.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 days ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

The fat shaming is particularly enlightening.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
9 days ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

And the struggles with pornography as a young man.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
9 days ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

If you trust the stats, can you imagine the extent of hypocrisy involved.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
5 days ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

No where does the writer reference Thomas’s “struggles” with pornography, only his addiction to it. He enjoyed porn, obviously, and also was known for crude and graphic references to sex; both are consistent with later confirmation hearing testimony about his sexual harassment of Anita Hill. It’s a shame Biden closed down the hearings before that aspect of Thomas’s character could be fully investigated.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
5 days ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Stating the fact of obesity is not “fat shaming.” Thomas’ health is relevant to the writer’s point, and obesity is relevant to health.

Rob N
Rob N
12 days ago

Just hoping that he does not retire before Feb 2025 and under a different President. A, mostly, great Man.

Peter B
Peter B
12 days ago

So, this article starts out with a slur on Thomas based on the fact that his wife has views that the author considers objectionable.
But if the author believes that a man is legally or morally responsible for his wife’s views, his knowledge of the law is, shall we say, sketchy.
If this is the best mud that Mr. Bateman has to sling, I think I’ll be giving Clarence Thomas the benefit of the doubt.
At least the second personal vendetta piece in UnHerd this week (following the Julie Bindel hit job on Billy Bragg). Come on UnHerd, you’re better than this !

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Agreed! This is nothing but a guy from the left rehearsing ALL of the left-wing baloney that has been slung at Thomas and conservatives- including the slur about porn “addiction” and the weird allegations from that left-wing activist from central casting at his hearings.

Justice Thomas’ hearing also helped underscore that Joe Biden has ALWAYS been a doofus

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Biden supported Thomas! That’s why so many women were angry with him.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Agreed, nothing BUT a hit job from a reliably left-wing author who does nothing here but rehearse the checklist of hit-pieces Justice Thomas has suffered at least since his confirmation hearing (right down to the unsubstantiated and quickly rebuked accusations of Anita Hill – a reliable left-wing agitator from central casting).

That hearing (which I remember well) was an early reminder that Joe Biden was ALWAYS a doofus.

Justice Thomas has remained over 40 years, the most well-reasoned, consistent follower of the Constitution that we’ve had in a long time. THAT is what inspires the sense of urgency by writers like Bateman to take him out.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Having reread the article, following reading your comment, I can’t see that the writer is doing a ‘hatchet job’ on Clarence Thomas. Saying, “…his story highlights the importance of genuine diversity in government, in thought and approach as well as background,” does not sound detrimental to me. The fact that some of Thomas’s personal failings were mentioned doesn’t condemn him either. Did I miss something? Please explain your accusations.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago

Well, let’s start with the needless mention that Thomas is “obese”. How precisely is that relevant, whether true or not ? Is Mr. Bateman obese ? Are any other US Supreme Court justices ? I neither know nor care. It’s irrelevant. Should BMI be a criteria for selecting judges ?
I’m sure plenty of other students had nude pin-ups on their walls 55 years ago. Different times, different standards. So what ?
How about his statement that Thomas’s story is “tragic” ? How does that fit with his earlier statement that Thomas dragged himself up from poor beginnings ? What precisely is so “tragic” about this ? What is tragic here is this author’s idiotic attempt to define the value and meaning of someone else’s life. But apparently Mr. Bateman considers himself to be the judge here.
I hope that helps !

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago

I made a reply which seemed to be accepted – and has now disappeared … it’s hard to know what UnHerd’s censorship is doing sometimes. I’m assuming that will reappear in due course.
To summarise:
1) Thomas is obese. Noise. Added only as a slur. Not a selection criteria for Supreme Court judges. Perhaps Mr. Bateman is obese – or indeed other judges. Who knows ? Who cares ?
2) A student 55 years ago had some girlie posters on his dorm room wall. Bit deal. Different times, different standards.
3) Thomas’ life story is apparently a “tragedy”. Says who ? Mr. Bateman seems to think he’s the judge of the value and meaning of Thomas’ life – and more so than Thomas himself or his family and friends. Yeah right. So Thomas hauling himself up from a very poor background is “tragic”. Perhaps it is to those who pretend to promote social mobility and meritocracy, but actually feel threatened by it and despise these things.
Does that help ?

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thanks. I appreciate your effort, and agree that the things you mention could all be seen as negative. The overall tone of the article, however, is not negative, nor sarcastic. Many positive things are also said, leading to the writer’s conclusion that Thomas has been a unique figure in American justice, a man from an unpriveleged background, who quietly promoted just causes and saw them through. The author laments that he will not be replaced by someone similar, but by a member of an elite. If I’m wrong about the things, so be it, but I prefer to err on the side of positivity in this particular matter.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago

That’s a fair point and on re-reading your interpretation is also possible.
I think on balance the overall tone is negative as the balance of responses here shows. Unless we’re all trigger-happy over-sensitive souls (not impossible !). But we must also assume that the author and any editors who reviewed this were well aware of the interpretation it’s getting here and did nothing to rebalance the article if it was not intended in the spirit in which it’s been received.
So, for me, the best case for the defence here is that the writing and editing was merely careless, rather than malicious.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Unherd tries to select essays from the right and the left. That’s why people who have open minds and a desire to expose themselves to a variety of viewpoints subscribe.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I have no objection to a diversity of views. I hope it’s quite clear from my comment that this is not what I was commenting about … most readers seemed to understand it as I intended.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’ve noticed a change in the comments though unfortunately, whilst it’s always leaned more conservative you used to have a much more diverse mixture of viewpoints and discussion. Now any story that vaguely leans left or any criticism of anything to the right is simply shouted down as biased or the comments full of people who claim they couldn’t finish the article

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Aren’t there are multiple “Unheard Readers” ? Someone suggested this was a default account for people who didn’t choose a name.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, that’s the case.

N Forster
N Forster
11 days ago

This article seems to be largely composed of gossip.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
11 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

You got it!

Stephen Feldman
Stephen Feldman
11 days ago

It sounds to me that
the author is jealous of
a successful black male
professional…

James Gray
James Gray
11 days ago

This is an absurd and inconsistent hatchet job of the sort black conservatives have to face all the time. I’m no huge fan of Thomas, but this article is ridiculous, and below the standards of UnHerd.

Michael Connor
Michael Connor
11 days ago

What a hit piece. Nothing more. Disappointing to see this drivel in UnHerd.

Terry M
Terry M
11 days ago

This is a racist, slanderous hit piece, not worth the 4 minutes to read it or the 30 minutes it took the fool to write it.
Unherd, do better.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago

I think Thomas has been painfully naive (or arrogant, take your pick) about the need for judges to be free from bias as well as free from the appearance of bias. But, what about RBG/Sottomayor, etc.? I would like someone to do a deep dive into how much they made through speaking engagements and the like. Who cares if they “gave” the money away? They would have done so to curry favor with favored groups and people, all of whom want the Court to push left-wing views, who then would invite the justices back for yet another award ceremony with honorarium, etc.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Now *that* would actually be interesting. It would show if this is just a smear job, or if Clarence Thomas really is worse than his colleagues.

Alexander van de Staan
Alexander van de Staan
11 days ago

Oliver Batemen’s political hit job on one of the greatest Supreme Court justices simply reflects the longstanding infantilizing, patronizing, and racist approach of the Progressives towards independent minded Black people, clearly articulated by Biden back in 2020: ‘Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.’

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 days ago

It is pretty humourous democrats can support racist tropes like Biden comments. Makes it real easy to dislike the whole organization.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
11 days ago

Bateman and his Left wing cronies just can’t stand that a black man, born into poverty and deprivation, could, largely by his own efforts, overcome those disadvantages, forge a successful career, and then assert that other black people have the agency and abilities to exercise responsibility and make their own lives more successful. Thomas’ example threatens the lucrative careers and grandstanding status of the race grifters, built on ‘championing black people against white privilege’, when in fact the policies they demand ensure that victims stay victims.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Rubbish! Thomas played the race card to the hilt, guilt- tripping Congress by claiming he was the victim of a modern-day lynching by questioning him about his past, a process that all Supreme Court candidates undergo. It certainly wasn’t as grueling as the interrogation ketanji Brown Jackson endured.

Kat L
Kat L
8 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Asking her what a woman is seems like a softball question to me.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 days ago
Reply to  Kat L

That was a silly question that said more about the person who asked it, don’t you think? It was only one of many over days.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
11 days ago

If Thomas were a man of the left, the author wouldn’t be able to carry his water long enough or far enough. This is the same court with a woman who cannot define the word “woman,” a person foisted on us solely by virtue of being black, female, and most of all, leftist.
Maybe Thomas should have tried forcing school districts to buy his books, like that allegedly ‘wise Latina’ Sotomayor has done. But his “sin,” along with a black conservative, is having a couple of rich friends, not that anything those friends provided can be traced to a Court decision. If it could, and Thomas could be linked in some way, the author would have mentioned it. But he didn’t. Because this is more the usual slime.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago

If this were written on actual paper, I would use it to wipe my hiney, Ridiculous!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
11 days ago

Justice Thomas’s reputation as one of the all-time great jurists is secure.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 days ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

What are some of your favorite examples of his judicial leadership or jurisprudence?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Oh please!

Unwoke S
Unwoke S
11 days ago

I thought Bateman was beginning to grow up since last year but with this piece Batemanese returns in full force. He is so permeated by CDS he abandons any claims to research, fact-checking or even basic intelligence. [CDS – Conservative Derangement Syndrome]

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 days ago

So Mr. Bateman takes not one, but two predictable swipes at two men who he obviously doesn’t approve of: Tucker Carlson and Clarence Thomas. Not only does he disparage Thomas, he gleefully points out the justice’s alleged ill health, practically proclaiming that he would be thrilled to see him die for his alleged offenses. If this writer possessed even a tiny fraction of the intelligence and integrity of either of his targets, he would understand and admit that he is qualified, just barely, to be a gossip columnist and he would get out of political reporting altogether. This low level of smear journalism is just not worthy of Unherd.

Robert Doyle
Robert Doyle
11 days ago

“And we can rest assured that we will never see his like again.”

Why not? The authors point of view mirrors my impression of Biden’s. The “you ain’t black unless…” mindset. Which in a sane world would rightly be considered racist.

There is so much to admire in Clarence Thomas.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Robert Doyle

Like what?

James S.
James S.
11 days ago

A hit piece worthy of MSNBC, but hardly Unherd.

Stephen Feldman
Stephen Feldman
11 days ago

Pornography addiction is disgraceful? To whom?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago

Your wife?

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 days ago

Just a hack publishing a pretentious hit piece that he was paid to write. Keep them coming, excellent fodder.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
11 days ago

This piece is helpful because it retails the liberal line on Justice Thomas.
My own take is that, over the years, Thomas has been an independent justice, bringing his own judgement about “life, the universe, everything” to the law. Generally, I tend to assume that people with independent ideas got that way by reading books rather than ingesting regime narrative.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago

His position is “my way or the highway”.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
11 days ago

Tawdry piece not worthy of Unherd.

Tom Condray
Tom Condray
11 days ago

As per usual, I cannot believe the extent to which people who call themselves journalists cast vile aspersions on conservative members of our governing institutions.
“. . .he swiftly developed a pornography addiction so profound he wallpapered his apartment with nude pin-ups
THIS statement is the only one highlighted in gigantic bold type in the article? And, one is to presume the author is schooled in psychiatry such that he can diagnose from afar Thomas’ purported “pathological pornography addiction”, versus the story relating a harmless example of delayed adolescent behavior. All this while the “evidence” the links show consists of unsupported recollections by two people of past encounters with Justice Thomas that took place decades ago and may, or may not, have actually taken place.
But, this absurdly cruel declaration is the one considered most important to emphasize in the whole disgusting assault on Thomas character?
I only see a hack sloppily oozing back in forth between personal insult and condescending commentary on Thomas’ tenure in the court.
And then there’s a mention of his being overweight. I won’t even bother to point out any one of the innumerable important public officials who, somehow, have escaped this observation on their Body Mass Index in any article allegedly reviewing their careers in public service.
I’m confounded that UnHerd considers this a serious essay worthy of discussion.
It’s despicable.
Shame on everyone involved in bringing this into print.
And Mr. Bateman will be the first example I present to anyone disputing the terrible decline in the quality of contemporary journalism.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
11 days ago

Thomas will go down as the most crooked Supreme Court justice of modern times. The swivel eyed loons that make up this most judicially active court in decades are bad enough without being crooks as well.
Good riddance to Thomas whenever he finally goes and I delight in the fact that he will be replaced by a very liberal justice after Biden thrashes Trump again and the Democrats retake the Senate. I hope he chokes on that.

N Forster
N Forster
11 days ago

Your wisdom and compassion is an example to us all.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
9 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

CS will go down as the most downvoted and lazy contrarian commenter on Unherd of all time.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago

Oh darn. I was hoping I might claim that honor.

N Forster
N Forster
9 days ago

He’s a troll. Any attention is better than none.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

What’s compassion got to do with it. I hope Thomas croaks soon.

N Forster
N Forster
9 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Poor punctuation.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

Is that all you’ve got! Please correct me, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

N Forster
N Forster
7 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’ve done it again. Thicket.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago

Well said.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
11 days ago

What a nasty, smearing, little piece this is.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
11 days ago

Ah. That Oliver Bateman …
This essay doesn’t pass the “It’s not even wrong” threshold.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
9 days ago

Excellent screen name. I’ve a message for Raphael from a young gentleman btw….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 days ago

The American Supreme Court has to be the most ridiculous institution going in terms of how people are appointed. Relying on pure luck as to when somebody drops off their perch to give it a liberal or conservative majority for a court that holds such power to me seems idiotic.
Surely a better system would be for each term the President of the day gets to choose a new judge, with the longest serving one vacating their role. That way leanings of the court would represent the voting patters of the last three decades

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 days ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What’s worse is they’re there for life!

R E P
R E P
11 days ago

A smear piece. Rich friends, a crime? Joe Biden’s cross investigation where Thomas Sowell trounced the intellectually challenged Senator. His wife challenged the election results which is never a crime when the Democrats do it or say a President is illegitimate – Hillary Clinton does it daily using her own Russian sourced disinformation to make the media repeat the lie that Trump is Putin’s puppet. No one in the press seems to have read the Durham report. The aim is to get him out and get a rubber stamp Democrat who will allow the President to become the source of legislation – such as student debt forgiveness.

William Miller
William Miller
10 days ago

Oliver is jelly

Walker Wade
Walker Wade
10 days ago

Test

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 days ago

Mr. Bateman is a pundit of such extraordinarily modest intellectual gifts that nothing should disappoint us.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 days ago

The most intelligent question asked at his confirmation hearing was…”how did the pubic hair get on the coke can?”

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
9 days ago

What a mean-spirited, one-eyed hit piece!

Really not what I’d expect to find published here.

Odd how it’s only the right-wingers in US public life who have these rumours, innuendo and unproven accusations repeated in every article about them, whilst anyone on the left seems to get a free pass from the liberal media … right up until they’re actually found guilty.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
9 days ago

There was no insurrection. There was a riot. It doesn’t matter how many times people say “insurrection”. Repeating that claim doesn’t make it true.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
9 days ago

Nice hit piece.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 days ago

Bateman is among your least reliable contributors. His hatchet jobs always sets sail on a port side course.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
6 days ago

I hope the author is sued.