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Justice Thomas Maligned

I thought the comments that minority leader Reid said about Justice Thomas was so full of ignorance that I felt compelled to comment on them. The only problem was that although I have read many arguments against what Senator Reid said I still didn't feel comfortable directly commenting. So I'll recognize my limits and let Gabe from A Handful of Sand carry the water.

I don't know how it is that I so often end up defending Justice Clarence Thomas, but I think Senator Harry Reid's latest comments are way out of line:

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday had harsh words for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

When asked to comment on Thomas as a possible replacement for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Reid told NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.

"I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice."

The first thing that ought to be clear to anyone is that Reid's attacks have little to do with the intellectual or literary quality of Thomas' opinions. Even if Reid took the time to read and understand the issues underlying the cases in which Thomas has written opinions, a doubtful prospect, they are of course largely drafted by clerks drawn from the same pool of genius law students as all the other justices. Sure, Thomas' opinions often lack the rhetorical flourish of a Scalia or a Brennan, but there is no way to throw that label at Thomas yet exclude Kennedy or Breyer. Likewise, Thomas brings just as much principled jurisprudence to the bench as any other current justice. Of course, I still think it is not enough, but that is a brush with which to paint the whole Court. Read the rest.