In Defense of Clarence Thomas: A Rebuttal to Steve Lubet

My friend from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law faculty, Steve Lubet, has politely but firmly disagreed with my recent post about Justice Clarence Thomas. While he does not doubt Thomas’s intellect, he questions my claim that Thomas is the best of the 116 Supreme Court Justices. I stand by my assertion, as it is not an isolated opinion. The Federalist Society, of which I am a co-founder, has a membership of 70,000 and is present in every major city and law school in the country.

The overwhelming view among Federalist Society members is that Justice Thomas’s judgements were more often correct than those of Justice Scalia. This is also reflected in his longevity on the Court, having already served for 33 years.

The current Supreme Court members, as well as those who have served between 1790 and 1986, do not command the same admiration. Many of the older Justices were criticized for their approach to the law, and it is a widely held view that most of the Justices have been disappointing.

Liberal professors often overlook Justice Thomas’s opinions, but I truly believe that following the original meaning of the Constitution is the best approach. I have read hundreds of his opinions and have always found them to be consistent and well-reasoned.

While Steve Lubet criticizes my argument regarding Supreme Court justice salaries, it is a valid point to consider the importance of high salaries in removing financial barriers and promoting diversity in government service.

I believe Justice Thomas’s approach to deciding cases makes him incorruptible, unlike other Justices who may have been influenced by outside factors. His failure to disclose gifts is a minor issue compared to the compromises made by other Justices due to external influences.