Hillary Clinton disparaged Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday, calling him a “person of grievance.”
What did Clinton say?
Speaking with Gayle King on “CBS Mornings,” Clinton personally attacked Thomas and claimed that he is essentially using his position on the highest court in the land to enact his personal agenda.
“He’s signaling, as people often did — I went to law school with him. He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I’ve known him. Resentment, grievance, anger,” Clinton claimed.
“And he has signaled in the past to lower courts, to state legislatures, ‘Find cases, pass laws, get them up [to the Supreme Court]. I may not win the first, the second, or the third time, but we’re going to keep at it,'” she added.
Elevating her rhetoric even further, Clinton claimed that “women are going to die” because of Thomas’ rulings.
Hillary Clinton on what Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion could mean
What was the response?
In response, Clinton was accused of “playing the angry black man card.”
“If this were the other way around, we’d hear endless lectures about the perils of ‘tone policing a black man who grew up under segregation,'” conservative writer Charles C.W. Cooke also noted.
Meanwhile, National Review editor Philip Klein observed several problems with Clinton’s statements. First, Clinton and Thomas were not in the same class at Yale Law School; Clinton graduated in 1973, while Thomas graduated in 1974. Second, Klein noted that Thomas’ conservative views were not fully formed when he attended Yale.
“Among other things, the law school reference isn’t plausible. Not only was she in a different graduating class from Thomas, but to the extent they overlapped, he wasn’t even a conservative in law school — that was just the beginning of his ideological transition,” Klein explained.
Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s recent comments about Thomas refute Clinton’s claims.
While speaking to progressive lawyers earlier this month, Sotomayor described Thomas as “a man who cares deeply about the court as an institution” and “about the people who work there.”
“Justice Thomas is the one justice in the building that literally knows every employee’s name, every one of them. And not only does he know their names, he remembers their families’ names and histories,” Sotomayor said of her colleague.
“He’s the first one who will go up to someone when you’re walking with him and say, ‘Is your son OK? How’s your daughter doing in college?'” she explained. “He’s the first one that, when my stepfather died, sent me flowers in Florida.”
Sotomayor later said that she and Thomas “share a common understanding about people and kindness toward them,” which is “why I can be friends with him and still continue our daily battle over our difference of opinions in cases.”