Tag Archives: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

The Supreme Court’s Road to Redemption

By Gordon Davis
 
I have been following my former friend from Holy Cross college (we were undergrads there), Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, since Justice Scalia’s death. Thomas voted on April 4, 2016, with the “liberal” Justices on the Supreme Court without comment. I believe that the individual can be redeemed and that Thomas is on the road to redemption.
 
On April 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that being registered to vote does not make us persons. As you know, the Supreme Court has the legal right under the Constitution to determine who among us are persons. In 1860s it said that freed Black people and their children are persons. Later in the 19th Century it said that corporations are people.

In this most recent case it ruled that people not registered to vote can continue to be persons.

A person is usually a human being. However in the USA it is what the Supreme Court says we are.

The recent case heard by the Supreme Court involved a challenge to the so called One Person One Vote principle found in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  The number of persons has traditionally been determined by the U.S. Census, which takes place every 10 years. The states usually follow the U.S. Census when determining redistricting of state legislatures.

A right wing group, that some consider racist, in Texas challenged the constitutionality of using the U.S. Census to determine the number of persons and the One Person One Vote Principle. This group wanted a separate census in Texas based on voter registration.

As relatively more persons are registered to vote in the rural areas of the United States than in the urban areas the change sought by the right wing group would make the state legislatures more white and more rural.

However, it had other implications as well. It would mean that children would become non-persons as they could not be registered voters. It would mean permanent residents would be non-persons as they could not register to vote. Anyone who could not meet the difficult voter ID laws would be a non-person, too.

Fortunately for humanity, the Supreme Court without Scalia voted down the right wing challenge and took the road away from perdition.

The Supreme Court in a back-handed manner has affirmed that like corporations, children, immigrants and those of us who do not have a birth certificate or can afford a government ID are still persons.

As persons we (all residents of every American town, city and suburb) are entitled to representation by our state legislatures.

There is a message here for Worcester and Massachusetts which hold that only citizens can vote in an election. We should allow adult residents the right to vote. Adult residents could be able to vote in Worcester School Committee and Worcester City Council elections in Worcester – if there was a home rule petition allowing it.

The voting results of our November 2015 elections for Worcester School Committee suggest a need for residents, not just citizens, to vote in Worcester. The Worcester School Committee is entirely White, while the Worcester School District is majority Latino, Black and Asian.

In 2016 Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, at the urging of a City Councillor, wrote a Home Rule Petition for the eviction of certain lesees. This petition lacked substance. 

The Manager should now write another petition that allows residents of the City of Worcester to vote in City of Worcester elections. I hope he has the moral character to do so. 

Sex, love – and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

By Gordon T. Davis

Clarence Thomas and I were classmates at the College of the Holy Cross. We used to be friends, but now I feel betrayed.

The feeling of betrayal was reinforced last week, on February 9, 2015, when he dissented from the denial of the stay that would have halted the enforcement of the Appeals Court’s ruling that Alabama state laws were in violation of the United States Constitution in the matter of same sex marriage.

At Holy Cross we called Clarence “Cooze,” after Bob Cousy.  Back then, as students at Holy Cross, “Cooze” was a political leftist. During our time there he modeled himself in many ways after the Black Panthers. He wore the army boots, leather jacket and beret. During his first year at Yale Law School Cooze was mistaken for a street youth. When he came back to Worcester to visit we told him to buy a suit!

I knew Clarence Thomas to be a gentleman with women, especially Black women. It came as a surprise, when during his nomination to the Supreme Court, I learned that he had divorced his first wife and remarried. I was also surprised when he rejected his sisters who had been at one time on welfare. I was also hurt when he attacked affirmative action and started to blame Black people for poverty and racism.

Homosexuality during our college years was looked down upon. It might have even been a crime back then. Whether you were homosexual or not,  there was a fear of being called a homosexual. I am happy that the cruelty and bullying that once was aimed at people who loved or were perceived to love other people of the same sex has decreased.

Discrimination against homosexuals is now illegal in most areas of our society. The logic of the equal protection of the Constitution found in the Fourteenth Amendment is a compelling argument for same sex marriage. When Justice Thomas wrote his Dissent I was not too surprised – I thought it was just Clarence being Clarence.

That feeling changed when at the Political Artist fundraiser for the legal defense of Black Lives Matters protesters.  One of the poets talked of his personal life. His father is Native American and his mother is White.  He told us that when he was a boy, he told his father he did not want to marry a White woman. His father told him to shut up – his mother is White. His father then said, “You will marry the person you love.”

That story cuts through the pretext of Justice Thomas’ Dissent. For me, the old feeling of anger toward Justice Thomas had its scab removed. It motivated me to read his Dissent and write this column.

People should be able to marry anyone they love when consent is given.

Justice Thomas’ Dissent stated that Alabama should be allowed to discriminate against homosexuals, based only on the fact that it was past practice. There was no logic, theory, nor socially redeeming value found in his Dissent.

It also contained a conundrum for Justice Thomas: He said he was defending the people of Alabama. Somehow, he forgot plaintiffs are people, too.