Clarence Thomas on Washington, DC: “This City is Broken”


If you feel like this political cycle is torching your friendships, you’re not alone. In a rare public appearance, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sounded off on his frustration with the D.C. political process.

Thomas has never been liberal with his words, but when he speaks, people listen. The Supreme Court justice was confirmed under George H. W. Bush in 1991, and just celebrated his 25th year on the Court. Despite his status as the second African American justice in the history of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas was recently in the news because of a blatant slight from the Smithsonian’s ever-political National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thomas sat down with the Heritage Foundation recently and vented his frustration with the whole political process, saying people have become much too used to simply attacking a person with whom they disagree than simply debating solutions:

Questioner: "Your thoughts on if there's any hope to improve the confirmation process?"

Thomas: You know, there's always hope. But this city is broken in some ways. I've been here most of my life, and I think we have become very comfortable with not thinking things through and debating things. 

That's one of the things I love about the court. You can actually talk to people about things. And I think we have decided that rather than confront the disagreements and differences of opinion, we will simply annihilate the person who disagrees with me. I don't think that's going to work. I don' t think that's going to work in a Republic or in a civil society. If you notice in my opinions, I don't personally attack my colleagues. I disagree with them strongly because I think it's important for me to leave them standing and to leave the institution standing and to sharply have the contrast in the points of view. But I don't think that's going to change in the city until we get back to a sort of a notion that we argue, that we debate, that we decide things based on logic and facts and reason, as opposed to who yells the loudest, or who has the best narrative or best meme or some other nonsense.

 You can watch the Heritage Foundation’s entire discussion with Clarence Thomas here.



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