"Far Right" Clarence Thomas Afraid to Speak for Showing His Ignorance?

Editorial board member and reliable ultra-liberal Adam Cohen attacked Justice Clarence Thomas in a signed editorial for the Sunday Week in Review, "The Next Big Thing in Law? The Harsh Jurisprudence of Justice Thomas," making the old liberal play ofequating Thomas's bench rectitude as ignorance.

"In the last 100 Supreme Court arguments, Clarence Thomas has not uttered a word. Court watchers have suggested a variety of explanations. Among the least flattering: he is afraid that if he speaks he will reveal his ignorance about the case; he is so ideologically driven that he invariably comes with his mind made up; or he has contempt for the process.

"In their provocative new book, 'Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas,' two Washington Post journalists, Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, ponder Justice Thomas's extraordinary silence, and many other puzzles. They offer a wealth of insight, but they have no answer to the central enigma he poses: why the justice who has faced the greatest hardships regularly rules for the powerful over the weak, and has a legal philosophy notable for its indifference to suffering.

"It is a particularly timely question. For 15 years, Justice Thomas was a marginal figure, rarely assigned to write major opinions because his views were so far right that he would have had trouble attracting five votes. But Justice Thomas is a lot less marginal with the recent changes in the court - particularly the replacement of Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative, with Samuel Alito, a more extreme one. He appears poised in the next few weeks to achieve his longstanding goal: dismantling the integrationist vision of his predecessor Thurgood Marshall."

Near the end Cohen condemnedBush'sSupreme Court Justices, John Roberts and Samuel Alito:"With its new members, the court is also likely to make prisons less civilized, and workplaces, elections and criminal trials less fair."