News and Analysis

Clarence Thomas, According To The Washington Post, Is ‘The Black Justice Whose Rulings Often Resemble The Thinking Of White Conservatives’
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 16: A view of the logo on the new home of The Washington Post via Getty Images, on December, 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington Post took some heat Thursday for an article referring to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “the black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of white conservatives.”

The article, titled, “Jim Clyburn saved Biden’s candidacy — and now has the president’s ear on Supreme Court picks,” details how the South Carolina congressman could drive the nomination process.

“So the Washington Post just casually refers to Clarence Thomas as an Uncle Tom and it’s just something that the rest of the journalists just let happen without speaking out. It’s just a thing that happens and they are fine with it,” Stephen Miller said in a tweet, adding, “If a sentence like that makes it to print, it’s because the Washington Post and its editors are fine with it.”

“A woman who owns a private business and donates $40 to a political cause is automatically a white supremacist. A Washington Post journalist who causally calls Clarence Thomas an uncle tom in print is fighting for anti-racism,” Miller continued.

The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy noted that the article was written by The Washington Post’s White House reporter and Congressional reporter, which suggested that the piece was not intended to be an opinion piece.

“WaPo WhiteHouse reporter & WaPo Congress reporter (so this is purportedly a news article & not just a bad opinion piece) dismissively describe Justice Clarence Thomas as “the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives,” he tweeted.

Later in the day, The Washington Post removed that particular claim and issued a topline “clarification” stating, “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. That reference has been removed.”

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley laid out his thoughts on the issue in a brief series of tweets, pointing out how different the reaction would have been if those same comments had been made about a liberal justice.

“After an outcry, the Washington Post has removed a reference to Justice Clarence Thomas as ‘the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives.’ It was a disgraceful but revealing reference…,” Turley began.

“If such racial characterizations were made about a liberal justice, it would be denounced as deeply racist and offensive. The Post and the White House continue to emphasize race in this nomination despite opposition from the public as a threshold criteria,” he continued, adding, “…Again, this is most unfair to those on the short list who have distinguished careers that deserve review on their merits.”

The left has often invoked race when targeting Thomas for his conservative political views. “The View” host Sunny Hostin said just a few weeks ago that it was important for President Joe Biden to choose a black woman to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, claiming that Thomas did not really “represent” the black community.

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