May 3, 2009

Did Arlen Specter mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person?

On "Meet the Press," David Gregory questioned Arlen Specter about who President Obama should pick to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court:
SEN. SPECTER: He should be looking for someone with a strong academic and professional background. It would be my hope that he would choose someone with diversity. Women are underrepresented on the court. We don't have an Hispanic. African-Americans are underrepresented. I would hope that he would look beyond the circuit courts of appeals which now populate the Supreme Court and pick someone with greater world experience and diversity.
African-Americans are underrepresented on the Supreme Court? There is 1 African-American on the Supreme Court, which has 9 Justices. 1 is 11.1111 percent of 9. 2 is 22.2222 percent of 9. African-Americans make up 13.4% of the U.S. population. Is Arlen Specter ignorant of these facts, or does he mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person?

In answering the question, take this into account:

66 comments:

LonewackoDotCom said...

Let me rush to Althouse's defense and note that she means this post as a satire of ThinkProgress.

EnigmatiCore said...

He meant that Thomas does not hold black views.

AJ Lynch said...

Specter is mimicing his new favorite President (Obama) cause that is what Obama said last summer (we need more empathy on the courts is how I would paraphrase what Prez Obama said before he became Prez). I wonder if Specter voted for Obama in November?

BTW- I hereby suggest Althouse for the SCOTUS bench. Hot babes are underepresented there.

Or maybe Susan Boyle- shouldn't we have afew singers on the court?

AJ Lynch said...

And re Althouse, I assume bloggers are also under-represented on the court?

Heh- I bet Trooper could use a third or fourth job!

NKVD said...

Democrats are racists.

Paul Snively said...

I prefer the most parsimonious explanation—Occam's razor, and all that—which is that Arlen Specter is innumerate.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

I think David Souter was one of the most fascinating Supreme Court Justices.


Nothing about his opinions interested me.

What interests me is his life.

Yogurt and Eating an entire apple, core and all for lunch every day. Never on the tv. Hardly ever speaking at colleges. The home in New Hampshire. Never leaving the country. I find that cool in this day and age. He was and is very unique. Is he going to come out as gay? I hope not, that wouldn't be unique.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

I also live the fact that Souter was a very private person.

Privacy is a wonderful trait and one that is sadly lacking in this world.

I just pinched a loaf.

Thank you.

PatCA said...

"Someone with diversity." LOL, that's a stupid (and telling) way to put it.

I get diversity sometimes, and boy does it itch!

Lem said...

I would hope that he would look beyond the circus....

A dolphin perhaps?

Oh wait.. He said circuit - not circus.. my bad ;)

Maguro said...

Specter just isn't used to pandering to blacks yet so he's a little off his game. Give him a few weeks and he'll get it right.

Lem said...

Looking at the first big choice Obama faced, he's choice of Biden gives me something to look foward too.

A supreme gaffter.

Lem said...

Also, look for someone 'behind' or a flat out tax cheat.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Yes, he did mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person. Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me.

Joe said...

Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me.

Your stupidity never ceases to amaze.

Larry J said...

Yes, he did mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person. Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me.If you mean that, Zach, then you're a racist. You think that blacks have to all think and act alike.

jeff said...

Hey ZPS doesn't consider a black guy a black guy. Who knew? I can truthfully say it would never occur to me to identify someone's race based entirely on ones politics. How progressive and full of nuance of you. Black America take note, make sure you run yourself by that white kid to make sure you are authentically black.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me."

Never let reality get in the way of the reality based community, I always say.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Remember, Condi isn't a black person either.

EnigmatiCore said...

And you would base this on the number of freckles she has?

jeff said...

"Remember, Condi isn't a black person either"

Well of course not. Everyone knows race is based on passing some white kid purity test.

Tom said...

Why does everyone so delight in slinging the racism term around?

Clarence Thomas clearly, inarguably, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of black people. Why is it other than obvious to say then, that blacks are not well represented on the Court?

Thomas counts as a black person, but obviously does not count as someone who represents the views of most black people. Thats all he said. Obviously true.

You may argue that racial, or other demographic groups should not be represented on the Court - that the criteria for choosing justices should be blind to such considerations, but that is a separate issue.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

Clarence Thomas is a physically very unattractive man.

I have a thing for black men.

When I see him I think of pubes on coke cans.

I hope Arlen Specter loses. He needs to go away. His excuse for changing parties was bullshit.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Why does everyone so delight in slinging the racism term around?"

That it is often misused is not a reason to avoid using it when it clearly is being properly used.

"Clarence Thomas clearly, inarguably, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of black people."

True.

But if you hold the opinion that this makes him somehow 'not black', then you are 100% certifiably racist.

Do you hold the view that Clarence Thomas is not black, because he holds views that are diverse from the majority of blacks? Do you think that to be black, you need to think a particular way? If so, then you are, without even the slightest bit of doubt or wiggle room, a racist.

Are you?

AJ Lynch said...

Well Tom, you take the quota /diversity holy grail to another level.

If I understand you correctly, you would require an actual pigment analysis plus litmus tests on policy beliefs.

jeff said...

Possibly because the Supreme Court is supposed to decided things based on the Constitution. Not rule for me because I am white. Or black. And I find it extremely interesting that you first complain about people bringing up race and then in the second say that most black people think in lockstep and therefor there is no one representing the black interest on the court. Which position has Thomas taken on the court that isn't authentically black and why was the opposing position the actual authentically black position, and what did he get wrong in the Constitution or case law that makes his position wrong?

EnigmatiCore said...

"Well Tom, you take the quota /diversity holy grail to another level."

Tom wouldn't know diversity if it bit him on his left nut.

Palladian said...

"Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me."

Says a 30 something lily-white faggot who lives with his mother. Honestly, I used to think you were misguided but probably ok at heart. Now not only do I think that you're misguided, I realize that you're as venal and repugnant dumbass as well. What a disgusting thing to say.

Does Obama pass your black purity test, white boy? Of course he does.

Maguro said...

Thomas counts as a black person, but obviously does not count as someone who represents the views of most black people.

If holding liberal views is what marks one as an authentic black person, then there are already 4 African-Americans on the court, so no need to worry about underrepresentation.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Clarence Thomas clearly, inarguably, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of black people. Why is it other than obvious to say then, that blacks are not well represented on the Court?

You can't be serious!!

A Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to interpret the law according to the Constitution, not be a representative of a political viewpoint, race, gender or anything else. THIS is what is wrong with the Democrats and trying to politicize the courts.

BUT.....if you insist on having what YOU think is a representation of the black community, please let us know who YOU deem suitable. Just what stereotype do you hold of what black people or hispanic people should be in order to be deemed by you as authentic.

Who is representing the trans gendered gay albino Vietnamese community...hmmmm?. We can parse this idoicy into infinity and beyond when we insist on racism and race as a litmus test for jobs and 'representation' as the Democrats do.

The Supreme Court is not, or should not, be a political football. The jurists should be chosen because they have the ability to interpret the law IMPARTIALLY and according to the CONSTITUTION.

THE END.

AJ Lynch said...

The amusing thing about young liberals and Justice Thomas is they are too young and don't even remember his confirmation hearings. Simply put these young liberals have been told Thomas is an evil race-traitor and they should hate him.

Like all good fascists, they follow orders without questioning the facts or fairness of it all. The good news is Thomas has certainly taken the high road in all this.

Palladian said...

"Thomas counts as a black person, but obviously does not count as someone who represents the views of most black people. Thats all he said. Obviously true."

So that means that Obama needs to nominate an aggrieved, functionally illiterate, racist, gay-hating, evangelical Christian to the Bench?

Gee, that sounds like a Justice more up the Rethuglican's alley.

Palladian said...

"The Supreme Court is not, or should not, be a political football. The jurists should be chosen because they have the ability to interpret the law IMPARTIALLY and according to the CONSTITUTION."

What a white colonialist way of thinking you have!

The Supreme Court is to be America's Supreme Empathy Organ, doling out big slabs of authentic, "diverse" empathy wherever enchantment and empathy is in short supply.

Henry Buck said...

Listening to Specter's statement on the radio the other morning, my die-hard-democrat-of-a-wife simply said, "They need more diversity in the Senate, too, so Specter shouldn't run for re-election."

MayBee said...

If holding liberal views is what marks one as an authentic black person, then there are already 4 African-Americans on the court, so no need to worry about underrepresentation.Brilliant!

traditionalguy said...

Thomas thinks for himself and was raised in a world where only work, not political negotiations gave people dignity and self respect. So he is a black man that has been educated like a white man. Therefore, Thomas is useless to the Players in the game of black vote sales and service.

rhhardin said...

Who was the woman California judge that testified? All of her vowels were long e's.

Is there audio of it somewhere?

It was her testimony that proved Hill was lying, though nobody noticed. I'd like to re-listen to it.

Lem said...

Maybe ZPS meant to say that as a color blind person that he is (not for affirmative action, believes in merit) he doesn't believe Thomas is a black man, nor a white man nor any other color.

You see? ZPS is really a closet ultra conservative ;)

Peter V. Bella said...

Democrats are racists.


They always have been and always will be.


Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me."


Remember, Condi isn't a black person either.



ZPS just proved it. He also proved just how stupid he really is.

Peter V. Bella said...

Arlen Specter is just emulating the retarded court jester, Joe Biden. Say stupid things and lie your ass off. No one will pay attention.

birdie bob said...

@ rhhardin
"Who was the woman California judge that testified? All of her vowels were long e's."I believe you are referring to Susan Hershner.

JAL said...

Anyone read Thomas's My Grandfather's Son?

ZPS?

Funny how Obama counts as a black person, and a black guy raised by his black grandfather in Mississppi doesn't.

And Condi Rice, raised by her black parents in Birmingham, Alabama, and whose black friend, (one of 4 girls) was killed on a Sunday morning at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963, isn't black either.

Liberals are truly a weird bunch.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Remember, Michael Steele is not a black person either.

EnigmatiCore said...

Trolling, trolling, trolling. Keep those blog comments trolling... Rawhide!

Patm said...

"Is Arlen Specter ignorant of these facts, or does he mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person?"

In truth, he is a sad, scared man pandering to his president. Period.

Peter V. Bella said...

Remember ZPS is not a White person. He is not even human. His exact species is undetermined as of this date.

JAL said...

Of course! How could we forget Michael Steele! He went to parochial school, so he doubly isn't black.

I think the chairman of the local county Republicans is black. And as I am in the South, we know doubly he is not black, too.

Seems there are a whole bunch of people who are black who aren't.

Who will represent them?

Geeze.

JAL said...

BTW -- what are "black views?"

I've heard that many blacks are pro-life. So is that a "black view?"

Just askin.

Palladian said...

"BTW -- what are "black views?"

I've heard that many blacks are pro-life. So is that a "black view?"

Just askin."

Black views are apparently whatever an underemployed white homosexual living in California with his mother says they are.

If you don't subscribe to these "views" then you're apparently "not black". And considering what you'd have to think and believe in order for Zachary to consider you not only merely black but really, most sincerely black, I'd guess that Thomas, Rice and Steele are quite happy that they're not "black".

former law student said...

"We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges,"

Clarence Thomas meets at least two of the Obaman judicial nominee criteria, and is certain to add a third. But as of yet there is no lesbian former teen mom on the Supreme Court, so that would be Obama's first pick.

Unless someone could make the argument why Clarence Thomas could not empathize with himself.

Argent Paladin said...

There are so many things wrong with Specter's statement that the hidden racism is the least of it.
To me, the main problem is that Specter, one of the longest serving members in the Senate Judiciary committee and Scottish law expert, apparently believes that the Judiciary branch is the REPRESENTATIVE branch of government. Apparently, judges are there to represent their constituencies.
The second absurdity, of course, is that their constituencies are not defined by congressional district, political party or even state, but by skin color and configuration of genitalia.
It is difficult to avoid the frightening conclusion that those who have authority in the matter of nominating and selecting the next Justice of the Supreme Court believe it to be some sort of negotiating table where racial and gender representatives fight for their own kind (while white males are not allowed to do so, since *that* would be racist).
Obama and his Senate supermajority might as well just call a press conference at the National Archives, defecate on the Constitute, wipe with the Bill of Rights and light them on fire.

Helen said...

"Zachary Paul Sire said...
Yes, he did mean to say that Clarence Thomas doesn't count as a black person. Who really considers Thomas a black person? Not me."

So, if a man works hard, he's no longer black? If a man has brains and uses it, he's no longer black? If a man thinks for himself, he's no longer black? If a man is a clear and rational thinker, knowledgeable of the law and respectful of the Constitution, he's no longer black? If a man does not march in lockstep with the ill-informed and the race-baiters, he's no longer black? If a man has not been in trouble with the law/incarcerated, he's no longer black?

Damn! Then I guess Obama is totally authentic cuz he's a lazy so-and-so who can't think his way out of a bucket and parrots the socialist/communist teachings of his mentors (Frank and Ayres), disregards law and dismissive of the Constitution, semi-literate on non-socialist/communist matters, a prating race-baiting coxcomb with a fondness for coke.

ZPS, is Obama black enough for you? Nice view you have of blacks there. Guess I'd better tuck away my GNT and BHS lest you bleach white my bottom "black from foolishly sitting down."

Michael Wotka said...

My favorite thing about whiny leftists who claims Clarence Thomas doesn't represent real black Americans and pine for a black justice that represents most black people is that such a person would most likely, according to polls and actual votes, be pro-life, anti-gay, anti-welfare and an evangelical Christian. Doubt that is who they have in mind though (your typical Hispanic justice would hold the same views, but would probably oppose illegal immigration as well). I don't expect reality to intrude on the discussions though.

kmg4 said...

As a Gullah, Clarence Thomas is actually MORE black than 99% of the African Americans in America today.

Gullah's have much less white mixture than other blacks, and have their own indiginous language that is distinct from English.

Clarence Thomas belongs to the small group that is blacker than most other blacks. Literally.

Sissy Willis said...

They are so stupid. There is nothing we can do. I am gasping for breath.

Peter said...

And it sure is strange how the black folks who live where the Democrats are strongest, ie the the big cities, have the worst quality of life. Where are the schools worst? Where is black unemplyment highest?

Boy, howdy, those Donks sure do take good care of their strongest constituent group. It warms the heart.

Lee said...

> "Clarence Thomas clearly, inarguably, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of black people. Why is it other than obvious to say then, that blacks are not well represented on the Court?"

By that view, Hillary Clinton is black and Clarence Thomas is white.

When did ideology start determining color?

And so, why bother having a traditional black position on the Supreme Court? Why not appoint all white liberal women?

Isn't it an insult to the black community to suggest that they are not capable of intellectual and political diversity?

Mike said...

Maybe Sen Specter meant Justice Thomas counts as 3/5ths of anyone else. Not sure if that works out mathematically. Then again, math was never my strong suit. Much like critical thinking skills and non self-serving decisions were ever the Senator's. By the way, the judicial is not a representative branch (or the judiciary in general)other than representing the law itself. It's supposed to interpret laws irrespective of race, social "class," etc.

LargeBill said...

"Clarence Thomas clearly, inarguably, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of black people. "

Allow me to explain this for those unfamiliar with our form of government. We have three branches of government - legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative branch includes the House of Representatives. The members of the House should represent the interests of the people of their district. Judges are in the judiciary and they are not supposed to represent any particular constituency but rather should rule base on the Constitution, existing case law and the facts of a particular case. A judge that feels they are representing a constituency should be impeached.

Separately, I doubt Scalia, Ginsberg, Alito, Roberts, Stevens, Breyer, Kennedy or Souter hold views that represent the overwhelming majority of white people. Who cares?

Mike S said...

The views of Blacks (13% of the population) are only under-represented on the court if they are on the LOSING end of an 8-1 or 9-0 decision. If they are on the losing end of 7-2, 6-3, or 5-4 decisions, or on the winning side of any decision, they are over-represented.

The views of whites (60% of the population,) on the other hand, are under-represented if they are on the LOSING end of ANY decision.

Therefore, to be fair, all supreme court cases should be decided by a nationwide poll of white people.

Frodo Potter said...

Helen, beautifully written, but you lost me on the last sentence. What are GNT and BHS? I looked them up in acronymfinder, but nothing made sense in context. Could you please enlighten me? kmg4, you present an intriguing take on this subject; you indeed have a point.

A few years back, Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Constitution (no conservative she) took to task the defenders of misogynist rap (who were of course alleging racism against anyone who dared to criticize them). I don’t recall the exact wording, but her last sentence in the column went something like this: “We have to start wondering who the real Uncle Toms are.” In essence, she was arguing that it was the rappers and their promoters who were selling out their own people. So I would say in this case.

Maybe it is Clarence Thomas who is the true heir of men like Frederick Douglass and MLK and Malcolm X. Maybe it is the Congressional Black Caucus (notice that the CBC and others of their ilk defend the very people who are committing genocide in the Sudan) who are the true heirs of Uncle Tom, Stepin Fetchit, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and the appalling Butterfly McQueen.

Kudos to Palladian and the rest who took ZPS to the woodshed. As for ZPS himself: he’d better be careful; he is starting to make DTL look good.

Korla said...

No "community" is supposed to be "represented" by the Supreme Court. They are supposed to be interpreting the CONSTITUTION. Not appeasing CONSTITUENTS.

Boy, oh, boy, do we need to clean out the Washington cesspool next year. If this isn't stopped soon, we will become another third-world failed state, with a Stalinist thug at the top, and dissent crushed with financial and legal intimidation.

Joe the so-called Plumber was only the first obvious example. They will go after everyone they feel is a threat to the completion of their criminal takeover of the country.

The Supreme Court is the last of the three branches targeted in their quest for absolute power. And now I don't see any way that it can be kept from their clutches.

Those conservative Justices better hire food-tasters and body doubles and extra security guards. Obama and his owners want them out of his way.

JackOfClubs said...

Technically, he's right since 11.11...% is less than 13.4%. To get an accurate representation, we would need 0.134 * 9 = 1.206 black people on the Court. This could be achieved if the next candidate were 13/64 = .203125 black, i.e. if 13 of his or her great-great-great-great grandparents were black and the other 51 were some other race. This approximation would be precise to the 2nd decimal place which is really all we can expect given that the original statistic of 13.4% is probably rounded. A slightly more precise approximation could be achieved by looking for someone 53/256 = .2070312 black, but that would just be silly.

Helen said...

Frodo P:

Greek New Testament. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia = Hebrew Bible.

Now I've lost all color. Sigh.

Korla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Korla said...

Maybe he is advocating having fewer black people in the country, or more whites, I dunno. But he's saying the population needs to be adjusted to reflect the diversity of the court.

Of course, we will need to expand the Supreme Court to include several million Justices, if you really want accuracy. And don't forget we need to represent skinheads.

What a racist.