Justice Clarence Thomas, Radical?

Justice Clarence Thomas and studentStar Parker isn’t the only conservative around here who supports removing limits on individuals’ campaign contributions. In her recent column, she cited Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that limiting an individual’s campaign contributions violated the First Amendment. Justice Thomas contended that the majority’s opinion didn’t go far enough. The Hill wondered whether Justice Thomas “could be dragging the court toward his way of thinking.”

Thomas used his opinion to argue in favor of scrapping individual contribution caps altogether by reversing the court’s post-Watergate decision known as Buckley v. Valeo, which held that limits are justified as a measure to stave off corruption.

“This case represents yet another missed opportunity to right the course of our campaign finance jurisprudence by restoring a standard that is faithful to the First Amendment,” Thomas wrote. “Until we undertake that reexamination, we remain in a ‘halfway house’ of our own design.”

“He is not one for half-measures,” appellate advocate Tom Goldstein said. “He, on more questions than most justices, he is willing to stake out the strongest position.”

One could say Justice Thomas’s view on the issues is radical. In Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007), the Supreme Court struck down a school district’s racial assignment scheme. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas said that a colorblind Constitution bars racial discrimination, period, regardless whether the purpose of the discrimination is benign. Unlike mainstream liberals of any color, Justice Thomas doesn’t believe that the only way black students can learn is if they’re sitting beside white children.

A black man who believes black children can achieve in majority-black schools is vilified for such principles. What color is irony?

Photo credit: WFULawSchool (Creative Commons)

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