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Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on May 21, 2020 21:36

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Bottom-line: This workman-like two-hour production allowed Justice Thomas to speak directly to the PBS audience, revealing a sympathetic and intriguing side they probably had not seen before.

Michael Pack's PBS documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words reminded me of my own 1991 baptism of fire in Washington. 

Confirmation hearings began in September, as I arrived at the Heritage Foundation. Surprisingly, about half the staff watching in the conservative think-tank's conference room seemed sympathetic to Anita Hill. Washington was clearly deeply divided.

After his bitter confirmation, Justice Thomas took a vow of silence.  

Publication of his 2008 memoirs, My Grandfather's Son, raised his profile somewhat, but he remained low-profile compared to Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Antonin Scalia, whose celebrated friendship was dramatized in an opera by Derrick Wang.

Before the broadcast, I had wondered how forthcoming Justice Thomas might be.

However, he exceeded expectations, perhaps because he talked to a friendly interviewer.

Michael Pack has made conservative documentaries since Hollywood's Favorite Heavy: Businessmen on Prime-Time TV in 1987. He is a Republican insider, former president of the Claremont Institute, director of the Voice of America's Worldnet TV channel for President George H.W. Bush, and VP of Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Program Fund under President George W. Bush. He also served on the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He was nominated by President Trump to serve as  CEO for the US Agency for Global Media, overseeing a $1 billion operation. Democrats announced their opposition, slowed his appointment, and the DC Attorney General recently started an investigation.

Perhaps because Pack was getting a taste of his own treatment, Justice Thomas appeared to let his guard down talking about his past as a Yale Law School Black Power activist who supported Angela Davis, Huey Newton and H. Rap Brown, organized a Black Student Union, and once believed that all African Americans in jail were nothing but political prisoners.

His views seemed to change after he could not find a job following graduation, other than working for Missouri's Republican Attorney-General John Danforth, who eventually sponsored his Supreme Court nomination. 

That experience taught him that African-American criminals preyed mostly upon African-American victims, a "tough on crime" approach helped the African-American community, and not all whites were racists.

A brief stint working for Monsanto, in what sounded like an affirmative-action position, soured him on that option, so when Thomas returned to work with Danforth, he rejected his Leftist past.

Justice Thomas seems to have been encouraged by Stanford economist Thomas Sowell, to the point where Juan Williams attacked him in the Washington Post for attending a 1980 conference in San Francisco where Sowell was the keynote speaker. Ironically, Williams subsequently defended Thomas during his 1991 confirmation.

Although Pack's subtitle was "Clarence Thomas in His Own Words," it featured supporting testimony from the current Mrs. Thomas, a former staffer for GOP Congressman Dick Armey, which added a personal angle.

The bottom line: This workman-like two-hour production allowed Justice Thomas to speak directly to the PBS audience, revealing a sympathetic and intriguing side they probably had not seen before.

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on May 21, 2020 21:36

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Source: Politico
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said he takes “responsibility” for the treatment of Anita Hill during Supreme Court...

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