So it caught my eye when the New York Times — in "Groups Blanket Supreme Court on Health Care" — chose a haloed image of Clarence Thomas:
I exclude the possibility that this is an accident. The selection of photographs in the NYT is exquisitely deliberate. I exclude the possibility that the NYT adores Thomas. The halo cannot possibly reflect the religious awe that we sense in the Obama halo pictures. I doubt that is has anything to do with race, though Thomas, like Obama is black. That is, maybe strange notions of spiritualism arise in the minds of white photographers and editors when they gaze at images of black people. Maybe!
I can only come up with 2 explanations I think are plausible:
1. The Clarence Thomas halo is a really messed up halo, constructed of fuzzy dots and sagging at either end. It vaguely calls to mind a UFO. It therefore conveys a negative opinion of the man, especially if you also think of the extremely well-formed haloes that appear around the sainted President's head.
2. The NYT is trying to butter up Clarence Thomas. They'd like to influence him to uphold the health care law. The article begins with an elaborately set-up quote from Thomas, likening Supreme Court decisionmaking to shooting free throws in basketball: You focus on the rim and ignore all the crowd noise.
With three days of arguments scheduled for this week, the nine justices will need the steely nerves of a clutch free-throw shooter to block out all the noise surrounding a case that has generated perhaps the most intense outside lobbying campaign that the court has ever seen.The article itself is part of that campaign, no?
Proponents of the sweeping 2010 law, working with the White House, have also developed “talking points” to emphasize the potential harm if the law is thrown out, including the reduction in coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and for young adults who wish to remain on their parents’ policies.Yes, it will take an immense amount of nerve to throw out this uniquely momentous law. I don't think they can exclude all the noise. Maybe Thomas can, but none of the others. Maybe Scalia. But the question is whether the pressure against the law feels greater than the pressure for it. It's momentously valuable/momentously destructive. The noise could cancel itself out, leaving the Justices to decide using a purely legal methodology.
And if they could do that, they would all deserve haloes. But sophisticated legal folk don't think there is any such purity to be found among mortals.
“All that other background noise, I never — I don’t listen to all this stuff,” [Clarence Thomas] said. “I don’t read the papers, I don’t watch the evening news.” If justices let outside pressures distract them, he said, “in my opinion, you have no business in the job.”Jesus said: "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." And Paul wrote: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."