Monday, September 24, 2007

Controversies over Speeches

This Washington Post article discusses some of the controversies over Justice Thomas's speeches.
Two years ago, officials in Prince George's County invited, disinvited, then reinvited Justice Clarence Thomas to speak at a school ceremony. Last year, the Maryland NAACP protested and derailed a speech Thomas was to give at a youth festival. And now some members of the nation's largest organization of black lawyers are trying to withdraw an invitation to the Supreme Court's only African American justice.

Seven years after Thomas was appointed to the high court, the ambivalence and animosity the now-graying justice engenders continues unabated. It has become almost ritual: A predominantly black group attempts to recognize Thomas, and a vocal faction rises up in protest.
Here's another article: Justice Thomas Takes On His Critics, by Joan Biskupic:
He was on the podium one day this summer, challenging a group of black lawyers who complained he had forgotten his roots, when Justice Clarence Thomas softly confessed, "It pains me ... more deeply than any of you can imagine, to be perceived by so many members of my race as doing them harm."

A few weeks later, before a sympathetic audience of black conservatives, he began to weep after mentioning a friend whose reputation was damaged during Thomas's explosive 1991 confirmation hearings. This old college chum, a man who introduced Thomas to his eventual accuser, Anita Hill, "was trashed in order to destroy me." Wiping the moisture from his face, Thomas added, "That, my friends, was wrong."

Just last week Thomas was lashing out at "smart-aleck commentators and self-professed know-it-alls" whose only real purpose, he said, is to sow the seeds of cynicism.
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