Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas lashed out at Democrats and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden who oversaw his confirmation process when he was a senator.
Thomas targeted the former vice president and members of his party over the handling of his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings in an upcoming documentary, “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” according to ABC News.
(Video: YouTube/Manifold Productions)
The 71-year-old, normally averse to public appearances and usually quiet during Supreme Court oral arguments, speaks about his life and career in the upcoming film in which he notes that the “biggest impediment” he faced along the way was not the Ku Klux Klan, but the “modern-day liberal.”
“I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it’s gonna be the Klansmen; it’s gonna be the rural sheriff,'” Thomas said in the film, set for theatrical release in early 2020.
“But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern day liberal,” he added. “They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you.”
More than 22 hours of interviews conducted over six months in 2018 went into making the documentary produced by conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and Manifold Productions and includes a look at Biden who oversaw Thomas’s confirmation process as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Biden has come under fire from fellow Democrats in his 2020 campaign for his treatment of Anita Hill, the African-American law professor who testified before the committee during the 1991 hearings, accusing Thomas of sexual harassment – allegations which he has continued to deny.
“Do I have like stupid written on the back of my shirt? I mean come on. We know what this is all about,” Thomas said in the film. “People should just tell the truth: ‘This is the wrong black guy; he has to be destroyed.’ Just say it. Then now we’re at least honest with each other.”
“The idea was to get rid of me,” he added.
“And then after I was there, it was to undermine me,” he said, noting that Democrats plotted against him “because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you.”
Thomas was confirmed in the Senate by a 52–48 vote and said those opposing him cared only about “one thing.”
“Most of my opponents on the judiciary committee cared about only one thing,” he said. “How would I rule on abortion rights. You really didn’t matter and your life didn’t matter. What mattered is what they wanted and what they wanted was this particular issue.”
During the hearings, Biden tried to ask Thomas about “natural law” in what the justice saw as an attempt to discuss his views on abortion, something he has been vocally opposed to.
“I understood what he was trying to do. I didn’t really appreciate it,” Thomas said of Biden, though he did not mention him directly by name. “Natural law was nothing more than a way of tricking me into talking about abortion.”
“One of the things you do in hearings is you have to sit there and look attentively at people you know have no idea what they’re talking about,” he said about Biden’s questioning during the hearings.
Biden’s deputy communications director responded to the comments in the film by saying Thomas’s feelings were “no surprise.”
“Then-Senator Biden voted against Clarence Thomas in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he argued against him on the Senate floor, and he voted against his confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court,” Bill Russo said in a statement to ABC News. “It is no surprise that Justice Thomas does not have a positive view of him.”
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