Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 12, 2002
LAW: Thus Sayeth Justice Thomas

Here's advice I'm not good at following: when you speak infrequently, your words carry more weight. This account of yesterday;s oral argument in the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of a law banning cross-burning suggests that rare comments by Justice Clarence Thomas at oral argument - castigating the Justice Department for taking too narrow a position in defending the law rather than making explicit the unique symbolism of cross-burning as a trigger to terrorism against African-Americans - made a deep impact on the tenor of the entire argument. (Link via How Appealing).

UPDATE: Slate Court-watcher Dahlia Lithwick has the definitive, and sidesplittingly funny, account of this case; she notes that "Some of the alleged cross-burners in this case were either too drunk, racist, or stupid to actually set a wooden cross on fire, even with the help of lighter fluid." And this:

Out of nowhere booms the great, surprising "Luke-I-am-your-father" voice of He Who Never Speaks. Justice Clarence Thomas suddenly asks a question and everyone's head pops up and starts looking madly around, like the Muppets on Veterinarian Hospital. "Aren't you understating the effects ... of 100 years of lynching?" he booms. "This was a reign of terror, and the cross was a sign of that. ... It is unlike any symbol in our society. It was intended to cause fear, terrorize."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:10 PM | Law 2002-04 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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