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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Justice Thomas Calls Americans Too 'Self-Indulgent.'

Ashley Jones for the Wall Street Blog does a nice piece today on Justice Thomas. Here it is:

Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t do much public speaking, from either the bench or elsewhere. But when he does speak publicly, for us it’s worth listening, if only because he is a man of fervent convictions and beliefs.

The latest from Justice Thomas came during a speech on Monday at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. According to the AP, Thomas said that Americans today are self-indulgent and don’t make the sacrifices that their parents and grandparents did, and the nation’s leaders don’t ask people to act for the higher good.

“Our country and our principles are more important than our individual wants,” Thomas told close to 400 people. Invoking President Kennedy’s, “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech, he said Americans today are more likely to say, “Ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country but what your country can do for you.”

Speaking in the school’s Lee Chapel, where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is buried, Thomas told a questioner that Lincoln was his favorite president.

“We always saw Lincoln as the great emancipator,” he said.

Thomas told the crowd he declines most invitations, but was persuaded to accept the one from W&L student Robin Wright. He had met her as a young child, he said, and had known her mother, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright of Arkansas.

For years, my favorite comic strip was Pogo. One line always jumps out at me, 'We have met the enemy, and they is us.' I believe there is a ripple of reality and more than a grain of truth in Mr. Justice Thomas's comments and criticisms of the American people. I know as a nation we are up for almost every challenge, but I know also too many of us are only up for a tv remote and a beer. I do not see a population passionate for change. I see a population comfortable with complacency. I am like Frederick Douglass, I want the waters to roar, the skies to thunder, and our nation to be driven. Am I done yet?

Generally, I am not thrilled with Thomas, the court's most conservative justice. But interestingly, a week ago it was Justice Thomas who ripped the Bush administration legal policy on drug companies such as Wyeth.

Here is the LA Times link to the story you may not have seen:

Is he really becoming a liberal? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened on the Supreme Court.

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