CLARENCE THOMAS SEES TOO MANY RIGHTS…. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t say much. According the NYT‘s Adam Liptak, he hasn’t even asked a question from the bench in over three years.
But he answered some questions the other night in a D.C. ballroom from winners of a high school essay contest. Thomas noted, among other things, that he thinks Americans have too many rights.
The evening was devoted to the Bill of Rights, but Justice Thomas did not embrace the document, and he proposed a couple of alternatives.
‘Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “Indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights.”
“I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances,” he said. “Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”
It’s not at all encouraging when one of the nine members of the Supreme Court complains publicly about a “proliferation of rights.” I hesitate to even wonder which protections Americans currently enjoy that Thomas would like to see taken away.
In fairness, I should note that I didn’t hear the full context. According to the NYT piece, Thomas went on to complain that “many” Americans have to come to believe “they’re owed air conditioning, cars, telephones, televisions.” He forgot to tell us to stay off his lawn.
All kidding aside, when Thomas said there’s been “a proliferation of rights,” was he talking about a perceived “right” to modern amenities and conveniences? If so, I’m afraid the high court justice doesn’t know what a “right” is. After all, when was the last time you heard someone above the age of 14 claim the “right” to have 10,000 BTUs and a 50-inch flatscreen, as opposed to say the “right” to vote or to a fair trial?
At an event devoted to the Bill of Rights, one would like to think a sitting Supreme Court justice wouldn’t throw around rhetoric like this.
As for Thomas’ call for “our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities,” Adam Serwer added, “Funny, I don’t remember there being a ‘Bill of Obligations’ or a ‘Bill of Responsibilities’ in the Constitution of the United States of America. But since Thomas is an originalist who interprets the Constitution the way the founders intended, I suppose it must be in there somewhere.”