While folks are up in arms over Donald Trump’s racist views, most recently witnessed by violent protests in New Mexico, racism is not limited to skin color. Like many, I was appalled to learn Clarence Thomas—the only African American Supreme Court Justice—was also the sole dissenter in a case involving racism in jury selection.
As a black man and a judge, he should be all too familiar with injustice as it relates to African Americans on trial—even if he, personally, may have never been in legal trouble. Surely he must know that the disproportionately high rate of incarcerated black men does not align with a jury selection process that is fair.
On Monday, seven justices—even the most conservative of the bunch—ruled in favor of black death row inmate Timothy Tyrone Foster in a case involving racial bias in jury selection. Foster was convicted for the 1987 murder of an elderly white woman. The jury that convicted him was all white.
Now, almost 30 years later, Foster’s lawyers have reportedly obtained the original notes written by the prosecution. Names of potential African-American jurors were highlighted and marked with a “b” for black. The evidence came about because attorneys gained access to prosecutors’ notes under Georgia’s open ¬records laws.
According to the Washington Post, one prosecutor told jurors they had to convict Foster in order to “deter other people out there in the projects.”
Foster’s attorneys say the notes clearly show the prosecution’s intent to eliminate prospective black jurors. Chief Justice John Roberts—considered one of the most conservative justices—wrote: “The State’s new argument today does not dissuade us from the conclusion that its prosecutors were motivated in substantial part by race.”
But Thomas said: “Foster’s new evidence does not justify this court’s reassessment of who was telling the truth nearly three decades removed…”
According to legal experts, new evidence does not mean that Foster’s conviction has been overturned. But while Foster will have to face a new trial (if granted), the point remains that there were enough smoking guns on the prosecution side to at least admit that racial bias was involved in jury selection.
So why couldn’t Thomas just concede that some injustice had been done? Is he afraid Foster and a few other black men on death row, might actually be innocent?
One has to wonder what is in that brain of his, because it sure ain’t common sense. In my opinion, Thomas is the ultimate racist—more racist than Donald Trump. He votes against justice for black people, and being black, he votes against himself.
A few good folks on Twitter agreed. CNNs W. Kamau Bell tweeted:
“7 Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of a Black man on Death Row. The 8th, Clarence Thomas, ruled in favor of the Original 13 Colonies.”
Fat @Bloke wrote: “Clarence Thomas, you gotta respect his literal dogmatic interpretation of law, he'd happily send himself back to slavery without hesitation.”
Carolyn Hyppolite @ CKHyppolite said: “Clarence Thomas has serious psychological problems. That man has Stockholm syndrome like no body I have ever seen. He needs help.”
With justices like Thomas on the Supreme Court, we need help!