Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the political waters formerly infested by Donald Trump, someone left the gate open and in swam Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
As we all know, there remains a fringe faction that continues to exhibit wantonness at our erstwhile ex-president’s decisive defeat at the hands of President Biden in the 2020 election. They do so by suggesting that the whole election was a sham and Trump was robbed of a second term. Of course, it was Trump’s demagoguery that served as the nexus for this narrative, which persisted unchecked until the entire internet basically blackballed him.
This fringe’s latest L came Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to challenge election results in Pennsylvania. The cases against the state court involved the constitutionality of continuing to count ballots for a few days following Election Day, which was done to offset challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Heaven forbid we do what we can to make sure everyone’s votes are counted during an unprecedented global crisis.
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Thomas, along with other conservative justices Samuel Alito andthe Trump-nominated Neil Gorsuch, dissented (if one more of the 12 judges had dissented, the case would have moved forward). Thomas took it to the next level by cooking up a written version of his dissent, using his words to shake his old-man fists at clouds in the sky.
Thomas writes: “One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling.”
He suggests that such a departure from the constitutional norm of counting ballots on election day might set a bad precedent for future elections. Thomas also suggests that a lack of evidence of fraud might just mean fraud was not easy to detect, which is judicial gaslighting of the highest order. (You can read the entire 11-page dissent here, if you must.)
Conservative Twitter and every politician with a verified check mark, #GodFirst and an eagle emoji in their profile, creamed their collective shorts over the dissent. Thing is, these cases are all part of a grasp at straws in several states to challenge results where there was no reasonable suggestion of voter fraud whatsoever.
Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes – the extra 10,000 or so allowed after Election Day wouldn’t have made a lick of difference, even if they were all for Trump.
Thomas didn’t outright suggest that the election was stolen from Trump, but a written dissent from the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court justice is all the catnip low-information troglodytes need to suggest tampering in the 2020 election, and he knows that.
The plot thickens when we consider that Thomas’ wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas – who looks exactly like you’d expect her to – was a hardcore Trump supporter during the election and publicly supported the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection that left five dead.
Ginni’s outspokenness regarding the election results, as well as her connection to the insurrection, suggests a clear conflict of interest considering she shares a bed (or a coffin, perhaps?) with a man in such an elevated political position, to the degree that eyes are now on her.
This is just the latest in Thomas’ decades-spanning string of disappointments that make Black folks everywhere disappointed that this is the only brother on the Supreme Court. His name has been “mud” for those of us of a certain age who remember Thomas’ original shenaniganry: Allegations of sexual harassment when he was a supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education in 1991.
Because he’s a man (and social media didn’t exist yet), Thomas managed to survive Anita Hill’s groundbreaking testimony. (Fun fact: Biden hindered Hill’s progress in bringing Thomas to justice as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time – something for which he tried to cover his ass during the 2020 election.)
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It’s important to see Thomas’ dissent for what it is: garden-variety base pandering designed not to get people to reconsider the complexities of managing a democracy during a pandemic but instead a means to make a group of people who are big-mad about losing a contest feel better about it. Or, perhaps, it’s simply a means of making his wife happy…I was married, so I understand.
But if Thomas and his wife are dragged into the sun for all of this, I’ll be in the front row with glasses on.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at wafflecolored.com.
Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski / AFP