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Race-Baiting Don Lemon: ‘Fair’ to Call Clarence Thomas a ‘Sellout?’

Thursday night on CNN, Don Lemon and his guests devoted an entire discussion to bashing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for daring to say the Supreme Court should stay out of politics.

The host opened by sneering at the conservative justice for warning about the influence of politics creeping into the Court, while speaking at the University of Notre Dame Thursday.

With an exasperated look on his face, Lemon asked CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, “;Does it surprise you to hear one of the most conservative political justices on the court saying politics is the biggest threat?”;

Honig tried to smear Thomas and the other conservative justices as just partisan political players: “;It is lovely to tell us, we on the Supreme Court are not political, but how about acting like it? I mean, we can all see what’s going on here,”; he sneered, before falsely claiming the Bush v. Gore election ruling was strictly partisan:

It goes back to really 2000, Bush v. Gore, when the five conservatives took this side and the four liberals took that side. That”;s not happenstance. That is not coincidence. We can do the math on that. Then we saw it again just a couple weeks ago with the Texas abortion case. The five justices who said, they said, well, we can’t touch it now because of procedural issues, just so happened to be five conservative justices that most of whom are on record as being, you know, in favor of striking down Roe v. Wade. We can’t ignore that.

Actually, liberal justices joined the conservative justices in ruling that the Florida Supreme Court had violated the Equal Protection Clause in that case, so it wasn”;t one-sided.

Lemon and fellow legal analyst Areva Martin then got nasty, bashing Thomas as a betrayer to his race. With a scowl on his face, he asked Martin if it was “;fair”; to call Thomas a “;sellout”; to blacks:

So Justice Thomas has been criticized by some Black Americans for his decisions related to race, Areva. I spoke with Harvard Professor Randall Kennedy, who said, hey, it is okay. He understands why some Black Americans call Clarence Thomas a sellout. Is that fair?

Unsurprisingly the liberal analyst agreed with the nasty smear, dismissing the respected justice as someone you should mock:

“;I think it’s absolutely fair. When you listen to Clarence Thomas, in some ways, Don, all you can do is laugh,”; she began, adding that he was being disingenuous in saying he keeps his personal beliefs out of court decisions.

But Martin”;s nonsense was the laughable part. She defended the media”;s lopsided reporting on Supreme Court Justice nominations and confirmations depending on who was president and claimed Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett”;s confirmations were “;rushed.”;

Furthermore, she fulfilled what Thomas warned about in his speech about the media trying to destroy faith in the Supreme Court by constantly labeling their actions as political. She urged black Americans to not trust Thomas because of his “;despicable”; comments on race and abortion: “;So, I don’t think we can take anything that Justice Clarence says. We have to take it all with a grain of salt. He is not to be trusted and his comments about race and his comments about choice are all in many ways despicable.”;

Lemon acknowledged these comments would get criticism but didn”;t seem bothered by it. He urged Martin to double down on her gross remarks: “;You are saying that you think it is fair for some folks to be, especially Black folks, to be skeptical of Clarence Thomas, especially the way that he has ruled on issues of race.”;

“;Oh, absolutely, Don. Yes, you’re going to be criticized and I’m going to be criticized. That’s okay. It comes with the job. We have to speak truth to power,”; she bragged

Before bashing Thomas because he defended himself against Anita Hill:

He was so dismissive of the claims of Anita Hill during his speech tonight and said that this whole confirmation process, he called it craziness and said that it was politicized and it was about abortion, would not recognize the legitimate claims that Anita Hill made. So, again, every time he opens his mouth, I think we have to be very skeptical about anything that he says.

Imagine that, being dismissive of someone accusing you of things you didn”;t do!

Since the Supreme Court didn”;t strike down Texas”;s heartbeat law, CNN has ramped up their effort to destroy the public”;s faith in the conservative justices. Earlier this week they were attacking Amy Coney Barrett for making similar remarks to Thomas”;s.

Read the transcript below:

CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight
09/16/21
11:24 p.m. Eastern

DON LEMON: And just weeks ahead of the Supreme Court’s new term in October, Justice Clarence Thomas, who rarely speaks in public, giving a big lecture today at the University of Notre Dame on the subject of some people wanting to make changes to the Supreme Court. Thomas is warning people not to try to change it.

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I think we should be careful destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want when we want it. I think we should be really, really careful.

(….)

LEMON: The Supreme Court’s deeply controversial decision not to block Texas’s new restrictive abortion law is leading to new scrutiny over the role of the court. But tonight, one of the court’s most conservative and famously silent justices is speaking out. When asked what is the biggest threat to the courts in the coming years, Justice Clarence Thomas is saying that it is their own politics.

THOMAS: When we do that and we begin to venture into politico, the legislative or executive branch lanes and resolving things that are better left to those branches, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble. I think a lot of the pressure, the nomination and selection process, is because of that. I think the court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous.

LEMON: Hmm. Well, that certainly gives us a lot to discuss with CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, he is back with me, and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin.

Okay. Elie, welcome back. Areva, evening. Good to see you. Elie, I’m going to start with you. We almost never hear from Justice Clarence Thomas. Does it surprise you to hear one of the most conservative political justices on the court saying politics is the biggest threat?

HONIG: It does surprise me to hear Justice Thomas say anything, but especially here to say that. I mean, this is a growing thing. Just in the last few weeks, we have heard similar sentiments from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, even Justice Stephen Breyer. My reaction to this is, it is lovely to tell us we on the Supreme Court are not political, but how about acting like it? I mean, we can all see what’s going on here. It goes back to really 2000, Bush v. Gore, when the five conservatives took this side and the four liberals took that side. That”;s not happenstance. That is not coincidence. We can do the math on that.

Then we saw it again just a couple weeks ago with the Texas abortion case. The five justices who said, they said, well, we can’t touch it now because of procedural issues, just so happened to be five conservative justices that most of whom are on record as being, you know, in favor of striking down Roe v. Wade. We can’t ignore that.

LEMON: [scowling] Yeah. Areva, so, he talked about his experience growing up in segregated Georgia in the 50s and 60s. Let’s listen.

THOMAS: There was, of course, quotidian and pervasive segregation and race-based laws, which were repulsive and at odds with the principles of our country. Despite that, there was a deep and abiding love for our country and a firm desire to have the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship regardless how society treated us. There was never any doubt that we were equally entitled to claim the promise of America as our birth right.

LEMON: So Justice Thomas has been criticized by some Black Americans for his decisions related to race, Areva. I spoke with Harvard Professor Randall Kennedy (ph), who said, hey, it is okay. He understands why some Black Americans call Clarence Thomas a sellout. Is that fair?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I think it’s absolutely fair. When you listen to Clarence Thomas, in some ways, Don, all you can do is laugh. He made a very bold statement in the speech tonight that justices don’t make decisions based on their personal decisions. But what we have seen from him is exactly that, that he does make decisions based on his personal political preferences and beliefs.

He says that he is against Roe v. Wade. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, he is not in support of abortion, and he has ruled consistently with that. There are at least five decisions where he has ruled against abortion and we can’t find any decisions where he has ruled in favor of choice.

So at a time when he wants us to think that it’s the media that is causing faith in the Supreme Court to be undermined, he ignores the actions of Mitch McConnell, he ignores the rush confirmation process of [Brett] Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

So, I don’t think we can take anything that Justice Clarence says. We have to take it all with a grain of salt. He is not to be trusted and his comments about race and his comments about choice are all in many ways despicable.

LEMON: People are going to say, oh my gosh, they are up on CNN and, you know, Don Lemon is allowing the justice to be called a sellout and Areva is calling — those are words from a Harvard professor that you are discussing. You are saying that you think it is fair for some folks to be, especially Black folks, to be skeptical of Clarence Thomas, especially the way that he has ruled on issues of race.

MARTIN: Oh, absolutely, Don. Yes, you’re going to be criticized and I’m going to be criticized. That’s okay. It comes with the job. We have to speak truth to power. We would be remiss if we did not call out Clarence Thomas for the way that he has handled himself, comments that he makes, and the rulings that he has made while sitting on the court.

He is the oldest sitting judge. He has been on the court longer than any other justices. He was appointed. And one of the other things, let me just say this about the speech.

LEMON: You mean the longest sitting justice, not the oldest, but go on, sorry.

MARTIN: You’re right, the longest sitting justice. He was so dismissive of the claims of Anita Hill during his speech tonight and said that this whole confirmation process, he called it craziness and said that it was politicized and it was about abortion, would not recognize the legitimate claims that Anita Hill made. So, again, every time he opens his mouth, I think we have to be very skeptical about anything that he says.

LEMON: Elie, the Texas decision by the court is driving more calls from democrats who feel that the court is enforcing minority rule and want to add more justices. Thomas spoke to that tonight as well. Here it is.

THOMAS: We have lost the capacity even I think as leaders to not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcomes that we like when, for example, President Roosevelt threatened to pack the court, there was enough sense of what the court meant and what separation of powers meant to criticize him.

Today, you see almost no criticism or very little when you have those kinds of conversations. And I have been on the court for 30 years. It’s flawed. But, you know, I will defend it. It works. It may work sort of like a car with three wheels, but it still works. You know? Somehow, you sort of hobble along and you recognize its imperfections. And I think we should be careful destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want when we want it.

LEMON: Elie, hasn’t the destruction already begun? Mitch McConnell has played politics with the selection of Justice Gorsuch, refusing to even meet with President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland.

HONIG: Yeah, it’s easy to say the kind of things we just heard Justice Thomas says when you are part of a 6-3 majority, right? Then you are perfectly happy with how things are. And people may not know, the nine, the number nine justices, that is not set in stone. That can be changed by Congress.The question is: Are Democrats going to have the political will to do that? Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House right now. If they were willing to change the filibuster rules, they could do something about it. But thus far, the political will is just not there from the president and others.

Read more: newsbusters.org

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