Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas triggered laughs from his audience when he uttered a terse statement regarding the way those in the media do their job.
Thomas spoke at the Old Parkland Conference in Dallas, Texas, last Friday.
Prior to the remark that triggered laughter, Thomas was asked about a statement from then-Missouri GOP Senator John Danforth, who said regarding the way Thomas had been treated at his nomination for the Court, “If we ever get a chance to do to that side what they have done to us we should never do it.”
“And we have never done it,” Thomas said of conservatives’ treatments of Supreme Court nominees. “You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn’t go our way; you wouldn’t throw temper tantrums.”
“It is incumbent on us to always act appropriately and not to repay tit-for-tat,” he contended. “And I have to thank all the people, the regular people … the regular people showed up. It was always us against the elites. And that’s the way it has been for the last 40-plus years I’ve been in public life: us against the elites.”
“And one of the things you will see in my opinions is I never go after anybody personally,” he stated. “There’s nothing insulting in there; it goes after the argument. But you’re right: we are to conduct ourselves better than they conduct themselves.”
Then came the remark eliciting laughter. Thomas quipped, “One of the things I say in response to the media is when they talk about, especially early on, is about the way I did my job. I said, ‘”I will absolutely leave the Court when I do my job as poorly as you do yours.’”
“And that was meant as a compliment, really. It really is good to be me; it really is,” he laughed.
Some recent examples of the media attacking Thomas include The New York Times writing that he and other conservatives SCOTUS justices have been “whining about public outrage at their rulings,” New York Magazine claiming Thomas “was credibly accused of sexual harassment by former colleague Anita Hill during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991,” and The Washington Post sniping that Thomas was “the black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of white conservatives.”
This is the most disgusting thing I can remember seeing in a newspaper in sometime.
The Washington Post and @MariannaReports should apologize.
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 17, 2022
Justice Thomas to the media:
"I will absolutely leave the Court when I do my job as poorly as you do yours." pic.twitter.com/2V7h9vtoLt
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 16, 2022
Danforth was Thomas’ great champion during the confirmation hearings. He recalled years later that Thomas was “terribly upset” about the vicious attacks leveled at him and told Danforth, “You know what this is, Jack? This is a lynching. This is a high-tech lynching.”
Danforth replied, “Well, Clarence, if you feel that way about it, when you go up to the committee, you say that.”
He added, “The Thomas thing was sui generis and it was just a totally out of the blue, grotesque thing. It was really bad. And to know somebody as well as I know Clarence, and know what it did to him and to see it.”