Texas Paul REACTS to New Bombshell Ginni Thomas Scandal

The Ginni Thomas plot to overthrow the United States government is so much deeper than most people realize. Texas Paul reacts to the latest bombshell developments surrounding Ginni and Justice Thomas and lays out the case as to why Clarence Thomas must be impeached to save our Republic.

hey folks this is old texas paul i want

you to take a look at this video of

clarence thomas

and uh i’ll i’ll be right back one of

the things i say

in response to the media is when they

talk about especially early on about the

way i did my job i said i will

absolutely

leave the court when i do my job as

poorly as you do yours

and that was meant as a compliment

really

you hear that smoke some

do you hear that

can you listen to that and not tell me

that you believe that every word anita

hill said

was

absolute gospel

absolute gospel

you know i i want to read you another

quote

from and i wrote it down so that

made sure i got a word for word okay i

want to read you another quote from

clarence thomas

as a society we are becoming addicted to wanting
particular outcomes not living with the outcomes we don’t
like we can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you the outcome you
want

says the man that is overturning 50 years of legal

precedent by voting to drag down roe v wade
and whose wife is engaging in insurrection against our country

yeah i want to

just add a disclosure here okay this

isn’t just politics this this is

personal

i don’t just politically disagree with

clarence and jenny thomas

i

personally dislike them

they are a cancer on our country

and it is time to do something about it

it is time to do something about it you

know you go back to

take a look at clarence thomas

and he has been the worst

supreme court justice that i i i can you

know i’m a history buff and i i it’s

hard

to come up with one that has been worse

than clarence thomas he spent 10 years

10

years as a supreme court justice

and never asked a question

you know every once in a while

during the oral arguments a justice will

sit and listen

you know

maybe the questions that they had on or

whatever will be asked by another

justice whatever it’s not unheard of for

for a justice to sit quietly through

oral arguments occasionally but 10 years

10 years without a question that is a

record people

no one has ever even come close to that

just did not contribute to oral

arguments at all

and it’s not just lazy stupidity i mean

it’s it’s

he is a horrible

person

you look at the decisions

that that he’s he’s made you know like

flowers versus mississippi this was a

case that was clear clear-cut

this is a case that brett kavanaugh in

the majority opinion

said

the prosecutors were cartoonishly racist

brett kavanaugh called them cartoonishly

racist yeah clarence thomas said no that

was fine what they did was fine

yeah no no big deal

i mean he is

by far the worst

supreme court justice we have ever had

and his wife

has been flirting with the line between

activism and and just straight up

bribery

for a long time it goes back way back

when she worked with for the heritage

foundation if you remember if you’re old

like me you remember

the bush administration asked the

heritage foundation to give them a list

of

appointees the person at the heritage

foundation that was employed by the

heritage foundation and did that work

for bush

was jenny thomas while her husband

was listening to oral arguments

in bush v gore

i mean really that’s not a conflict i

mean you’ve got your wife working for

one of the people that is a complainant

it gets worse than that she started a

consulting company called liberty

consulting and she’s on

all of these radical right-wing

organizations boards

all i mean just

like turning point usa

if you don’t know who they are

they’re a group

that wants to recruit young people into

the conservative movement so they’ve set

up

you know organizations in on college

campuses all over the country

they just set one up in my grandson’s

college

um they’ve had a real problem they’ve

had a real problem they’ve had some

uh racism scandals

uh you know people that work there using

the n-word stuff like that but

by far the worst to come out was a woman

by the name of crystal clayton she just

flat out in one of her snapchats says i

hate black people

and bacon a day will keep the islam away

and she thought that was hilarious

that blew up and you know turning point

usa had had so many scandals

they ended up having to actually fire

her although actually they

guess they really didn’t because

uh jenny thomas was

on the advisory board for turning point

usa and crystal clayton went to working

from here

to working for jenny thomas

and she travels with her

she does some media work for her and

she’s

been to her home out in fairfax station

virginia and

taking pictures with her and you know

these are the kind of people that

that jenny thomas

works with and represents all the damn

time it’s really starting to get clouded

with her husband because

you know it’s like you’ve got this uh uh

center for security and policy there’s

another one uh the guy by then frank

gaffney runs that he’s paying jenny

thomas two hundred thousand dollars

for something

you know something we don’t know we

don’t know what kind of consulting she

does for him but at the same time frank

gaffney who has a real muslim problem

has been

identified by the anti-deaf defamation

league as putting forward conspiracy

theories about muslims and whatnot it

files an amicus brief

in trump’s muslim ban

yeah

the center for security policy files an

amicus brief on a case that’s before the

supreme court and has paid jenny thomas

two hundred thousand dollars and

clarence thomas uh

upheld the muslim play voted to uphold

the muslim ban it was uphill yeah

i mean

i i don’t know how more clear-cut that

that gets i mean you know i mean

you pumped two hundred 200 000 into the

thomas household

and you’re

filing amicus briefs on a case

that

thomas is hearing

yeah

and it gets worse people it gets worse

i mean

you think that’s bad i mean but it gets

they’re really a cancer on our society

it gets worse

we know that it had come out that jenny

thomas and all of her activism and

whatnot had been if you want to call it

that i call it insurrection had been

bombarding mark meadows with complaints

after the election she wanted sidney

powell

to represent

donald trump

she wanted to release the kraken and she

was putting forward all these q and on

conspiracy theories all over facebook

social media everywhere just bombing it

was just

nut balk and conspiracy theories and

blowing up mark meadows phone now i

i

don’t exactly know why the wife of a

supreme court justice would have the

president chief of staff’s phone number

but she did she’s just texting the

out of him trying to get him to

to overturn that election and not only

is jenny thomas telling mark meadows who

needs to lead trump’s legal defense

she’s telling him who to purge who to

fire in various departments and that she

wants to

to vet people and provide him with a

list of people she she is going to tell

the trump white house who to hire who’s

loyal to trump she wants to go through

and fire all the disloyal is that not

fascism i mean is that not pure fascism

she wants to go through and vet people

that she considers herself to be

disloyal to trump and provide them with

a list of people that she thinks will be

sufficiently loyal not loyal to the

constitution loyal to trump oh and

just an fyi one of the people on that

list serve

is john eastman

he’s a former clerk

of clarence thomas and if you

haven’t been following things john

eastman is trump’s lawyer

yeah he he just

was the one that lost his court case

uh to keep his coup memos he planned the

coup for donald

trump yeah

another

winner around

the uh

thomases

didn’t stop there she also got in touch

we find out with shauna bolek who is

at the time

right after the election working real

hard to get things overturned in arizona

she

being jenny thomas had contacted bolick

who is a good family friend her husband

clint bolick is on the arizona supreme

court and clarence thomas is their kid’s

godfather so jenny thomas is badgering

her to

set aside the

certification for the election just

undeclare biden the victor and create

their own slate of electors

i’m not even kidding

i’m not even kidding meanwhile clarence

thomas hears a case regarding

communications between the white house

and everybody trying to overthrow this

damn election and he doesn’t recuse

himself are you telling me that you

believe that clarence thomas didn’t know

his wife was contacting the bola

household i mean he’s he’s godfather to

their child you’re telling me he didn’t

know that he was contacting them asking

shauna bullock to to overturn this

election and shawna bullock didn’t shy

away either i mean she immediately told

jenny thomas how to protest you know

file protests and stuff in arizona and

the side note she’s running for

secretary of state now

yeah

good news there right because she

absolutely failed because she tried to

pass bill shauna bullock tried to pass a

bill in arizona that said the

legislature

could legally

just set aside

certifications

you know that was the problem they had

before is they couldn’t legally do it

they wanted to make it legal thank god

that got voted down but now she wants to

be secretary of state yeah folks these

people are a cancer they are a real

cancer

and we’ve got to root it out clarence

thomas needs to be impeached

he does

you know there there’s a

real problem

in our supreme court

it’s no longer

just calling balls and strikes

we’ve got people in that supreme court

that are

absolutely politically involved

they’re absolutely crossing the line

with where their money

and whatnot comes in blurring those

lines and jenny thomas is the worst of

it she had to apologize did you if you

don’t list service listserv is a lot of

people don’t listserv is just a service

where you

batch together a bunch of people on

emails and it and and you

create groups and you have discussions

back and forth

uh between people well all of clarence

thomas’s clerks are in a listserv group

together

jenny thomas just took over

clarence thomas’s

supreme court justice clarence thomas’s

list serve and tried to push this crazy

q anon

nut ball let’s overthrow the election

conspiracy

on the supreme supreme court justices

lister this is going out to judges these

former clerks are

all over the place she ended up having

to make a public apology for it but yeah

i mean think about that this is part of

his job now

she is getting involved in

all of his former clerks it’s insane

people it is just insane

this

is beyond the pale this has to stop

we have to impeach clarence thomas and

we have to impeach him now thanks folks

i

appreciate you texas paul out

Ginni and Clarence Thomas Have Done Enough Damage

What did Justice Clarence Thomas know, and when did he know it?

The question usually gets directed at politicians, not judges, but it’s a fair one in light of the revelation on Thursday that Justice Thomas’s wife, Ginni, was working feverishly behind the scenes — and to a far greater degree than she previously admitted — in a high-level effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

As The Washington Post and CBS News first reported, Ms. Thomas, a supremely well-connected right-wing agitator, was in constant communication with the White House in the weeks following the election, strategizing over how to keep Donald Trump in office despite his incontrovertible loss. “Do not concede,” she texted to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, on Nov. 6, the day before the major news networks called the election for Joe Biden. “It takes time for the army who is gathering for his back.” (To date, Mr. Trump has not conceded.)

In dozens of messages with Mr. Meadows over several weeks, Ms. Thomas raged over baseless allegations of voter fraud and shared unhinged conspiracy theories, including one that the “Biden crime family” was in the process of being arrested and sent to Guantánamo Bay for “ballot fraud.”

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Ms. Thomas wrote at one point. “The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Ms. Thomas had already acknowledged some involvement in the fight over the 2020 election count, recently confirming that she attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally in Washington, but she said she went home before Mr. Trump spoke to the crowd and before a mob of hundreds stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to block the certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory. The texts reveal that her efforts to subvert the election were far more serious than we knew.

Now recall that in January, the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s request to block the release of White House records relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Mr. Meadows had submitted a brief in the case supporting Mr. Trump. The court’s ruling came as an unsigned order, with only one noted dissent: from Justice Thomas.

Perhaps Justice Thomas was not aware of his wife’s text-message campaign to Mr. Meadows at the time. But it sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

And that’s precisely the problem: We shouldn’t have to wonder. The Supreme Court is the most powerful judicial body in the country, and yet, as Alexander Hamilton reminded us, it has neither the sword nor the purse as a means to enforce its rulings. It depends instead on the American people’s acceptance of its legitimacy, which is why the justices must make every possible effort to appear fair, unbiased and beyond reproach.

That may seem naïve, particularly in the face of the crippling assaults on the court that Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans have carried out over the past six years in order to secure a right-wing supermajority that often resembles a judicial policy arm of the Republican Party — starting with their theft of a vacancy that was President Barack Obama’s to fill and continuing through the last-second confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett while millions of voters were already in the process of casting Mr. Trump out of office.

And yet the public’s demand for basic fairness and judicial neutrality is not only proper but critical to the court’s integrity, as the justices, whoever nominated them, are well aware. Partly in response to the court’s tanking public-approval ratings, several of them have grown increasingly outspoken in defense of their independence. (Though not all of them.)

The most obvious way for justices to demonstrate that independence in practice, of course, is to recuse themselves from any case in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. It does not matter whether there is, in fact, a conflict of interest; the mere appearance of bias or conflict should be enough to compel Justice Thomas or any other member of the court to step aside.

Many of them have over the years, out of respect for the court as an institution and for the public’s faith in their probity. Just this week, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson vowed that if confirmed she would recuse herself from an upcoming case challenging Harvard’s affirmative-action policies, because of her multiple personal and professional connections to the university. Legal-ethics experts are not even in agreement that her recusal would be necessary, but Judge Jackson is right to err on the side of caution.

Justice Thomas has paid lip service to this ideal. “I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference,” he said in a speech last year. “That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.”

Bench memo to the justice: You know what jeopardizes public faith in legal institutions? Refusing to recuse yourself from numerous high-profile cases in which your wife has been personally and sometimes financially entangled, as The New Yorker reported in January. Especially when you have emphasized that you and she are melded “into one being.” Or when you have, as The Times Magazine reported last month, appeared together with her for years “at highly political events hosted by advocates hoping to sway the court.”

Ms. Thomas’s efforts, and her husband’s refusal to respond appropriately, have been haunting the court for years, but this latest conflagration shouldn’t be a close call. “The texts are the narrowest way of looking at this,” Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and one of the nation’s foremost legal-ethics experts, told me. “She signed up for Stop the Steal. She was part of the team, and that team had an interest in how the court would rule. That’s all I need to know.” He said he has over the years resisted calling for Justice Thomas’s recusal based on his wife’s actions, “but they’ve really abused that tolerance.”

Yes, married people can lead independent professional lives, and it is not a justice’s responsibility to police the actions of his or her spouse. But the brazenness with which the Thomases have flouted the most reasonable expectations of judicial rectitude is without precedent. From the Affordable Care Act to the Trump administration’s Muslim ban to the 2020 election challenges, Ms. Thomas has repeatedly embroiled herself in big-ticket legal issues and with litigants who have wound up before her husband’s court. All the while, he has looked the other way, refusing to recuse himself from any of these cases. For someone whose job is about judging, Justice Thomas has, in this context at least, demonstrated abominably poor judgment.

If Justice Thomas were sitting on any other federal court in the country, he would likely have been required by the code of judicial ethics to recuse himself many times over. But the code does not apply to Supreme Court justices, creating a situation in which the highest court in the land is also the most unaccountable.

This is not tolerable. For years, Congress has tried in vain to extend the ethics code to the Supreme Court. For the sake of fundamental fairness and consistency, the code must apply to all federal judges; it would at the very least force the hand of those like Justice Thomas who seem unmoved by any higher sense of duty to the institution or to the American people who have agreed to abide by its rulings.

The court is in deep trouble these days, pervaded by what Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently called the “stench” of partisanship — a stench arising in no small part from the Thomases’ behavior. It is hard to imagine that the other justices, regardless of their personal politics, aren’t bothered.

No one should have to choose between their devotion to their spouse and their duty to the nation. But Justice Thomas has shown himself unwilling or unable to protect what remains of the court’s reputation from the appearance of extreme bias he and his wife have created. He would do the country a service by stepping down and making room for someone who won’t have that problem.

This Justice Is Taking Over the Supreme Court, and He Won’t Be Alone

After he took his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court 30 years ago this month, Justice Clarence Thomas assured his law clerks, “I ain’t evolving.”

What he meant was that he would not soften his sharp conservative edges or change ideological stripes as did some of his fellow justices, including Harry Blackmun and David Souter.

Justice Thomas has certainly kept his vow. Indeed, some legal analysts say he is the most consistently conservative member of the court since the 1930s. He has written a raft of concurring and dissenting opinions that are so far to the right that it is common for him to issue them solo, without any of his colleagues signing on.

Now, with a new term underway, what is remarkable is the extent to which the Supreme Court, with the addition of three Donald Trump nominees who create a 6-to-3 conservative majority, seems to be reshaping itself in Justice Thomas’s image. With hot-button social issues on the docket, including gun rights, abortion rights and religious freedom, as well as a decision on whether to hear another big affirmative action case, we may be witnessing the emergence of the Thomas court.

It’s fool’s work to predict how individual justices will vote, but it’s not hard to make an educated guess in Justice Thomas’s case. The restrictive Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks (long before fetal viability), which is being challenged in a case this term, aligns with his dim view of abortion rights, as did an unsigned ruling recently issued by the court that declined to block Texas’ punitive and even more restrictive abortion law.

In the last significant Supreme Court victory for abortion rights, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, decided in 2016, Justice Thomas wrote a separate dissent (joined by no other justice) denouncing the court’s past rulings that upheld a woman’s right to abortion. “I write separately,” he noted, “to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights — especially the putative right to abortion.” Emphasis on “putative.”

His low opinion of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established the right to abortion, emerged soon after he joined the court, despite his claim during his confirmation hearings that he could not recall ever discussing the case. In 1992, during his first term, the court decided the second most-important abortion rights case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the constitutional right to abortion but allowed certain state restrictions. Justice Thomas signed on to separate dissenting opinions written by Justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia. (Justice Rehnquist said there was no “right of privacy,” contesting a central contention in Roe v. Wade, and Justice Scalia said abortion was not a protected constitutional right.)

Justice Thomas has been a stalwart champion of gun rights, too, chastising the lower courts and his fellow justices for showing lower regard for the Second Amendment than for other rights, like abortion. On Nov. 3, the justices will hear arguments in a case testing whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.

It’s easy to imagine that Justice Thomas would want to protect such a right. In 2008 and in 2010, he voted with the majority to allow guns in the home for self-defense. In 2020, he was irate after the court declined to hear an array of gun rights cases, including one challenging New Jersey’s restrictions on handgun permits.

“One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review,” he wrote in a dissent. “But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the court simply looks the other way.”

In religious freedom cases, Justice Thomas has stood out for his willingness to weaken the separation of church and state. Last year, he repeated his radical argument that the Establishment Clause doesn’t apply to the states. He even suggested that each state could establish an official state religion.

This term the court will decide whether it’s unlawful to prevent students participating in a financial-aid program from using the money to attend schools that provide religious instruction. Justice Thomas attended a variety of Catholic schools, and last month he spoke fondly of that education. “To this day I revere, admire and love my nuns,” he said in a talk at the University of Notre Dame. “They were devout, courageous and principled women.”

In another area where he has personal experience — he was admitted to Yale Law School after it adopted an affirmative action policy — the court could decide to hear a challenge to the admissions policy at Harvard. That case was brought by a group representing Asian American students who say that they were disadvantaged by the school’s consideration of race in admitting students.

It’s clear that Justice Thomas would take great satisfaction in writing an opinion eliminating affirmative action. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the use of race as a factor in student admissions, he wrote a dissenting opinion that said the policy, by discriminating on the basis of race, was a clear violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Several years into his Supreme Court tenure, Justice Thomas told the National Bar Association, a network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges, that as a justice he would always “think for myself, to refuse to have my ideas assigned to me as though I was an intellectual slave because I’m Black.”

Those defiant words echoed his frustration after his 1991 confirmation hearings, when the law professor Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment nearly derailed his appointment. He’s been angry about those hearings ever since — he famously called them “a high-tech lynching” — and his opinions are noteworthy for the tone of outrage that suffuses them.

It is too early to know whether the members of the court’s conservative wing will vote as a bloc in any of the big cases this term, though in picking his new justices, Mr. Trump said that Justice Thomas was one of his models.

All eyes are on Chief Justice John Roberts, who may be emerging as the court’s swing vote. When a chief justice votes with the majority, he gets to pick who writes the decision; when he votes in dissent, he forfeits that prerogative, which goes to the senior justice in the majority. That would be Justice Thomas if Chief Justice Roberts sides with the three liberal justices in dissent.

Worried that the Supreme Court is seen as too political or ideological, a handful of justices, including Justice Thomas, fanned out before the current term began to make speeches insisting that they follow the law, not their personal beliefs. Recent opinion surveys show public trust in the court plummeting, in part because it is viewed as partisan.

That’s not likely to change if we’re entering the era of the Thomas court.

Biden Wants to Work With ‘the Other Side.’ This Supreme Court Battle Explains Why.

In the clash over Robert H. Bork’s nomination, Joe Biden’s moderate instincts defined a winning strategy.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was on the brink of victory, but he was unsatisfied.

Mr. Biden, the 44-year-old chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was poised to watch his colleagues reject President Ronald Reagan’s formidable nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert H. Bork. The vote was unlikely to be close. Yet Mr. Biden was hovering in the Senate chamber, plying Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, a Republican of modestly conservative politics and regal bearing, with arguments about Bork’s record.

Rejecting a Supreme Court nominee was an extraordinary act of defiance, and Mr. Biden did not want a narrow vote that could look like an act of raw partisan politics.

“We already had Bork beat,” said Mark Gitenstein, who was then chief counsel to Mr. Biden’s committee. “But Biden really wanted to get Warner because he had such stature.”

Mr. Biden’s entreaties prevailed: Mr. Warner became one of 58 senators to vote against Bork, and one of six Republicans.

The Senate’s resounding rejection of Judge Bork in the fall of 1987 was a turning point, the first time it spurned a nominee to the high court for primarily ideological reasons. The vote ensured that the court’s swing seat would not go to a man with a long history of criticizing rulings on the rights of African-Americans and women. It also enraged a generation of conservatives and transformed the judge’s name into an ominous verb: Fearful of getting “Borked,” no nominee would ever again speak so freely about his views as Bork did.

The Senate’s resounding rejection of Judge Robert H. Bork in the fall of 1987 was a turning point, the first time it spurned a nominee to the high court for primarily ideological reasons.

It was also a personal turning point for Mr. Biden. In the Bork debate, Mr. Biden’s political ethos found its most vivid and successful expression.

A review of Mr. Biden’s conduct in the debate — including interviews with 16 people directly involved in the nomination fight, and a review of the hearings and Mr. Biden’s speeches — yielded a portrait of Mr. Biden as an ambitious young senator determined to achieve a vital liberal goal by decidedly unradical means.

The strategy Chairman Biden deployed then is the same one he is now proposing to bring to the White House as President Biden.

In the 1980s, as today, he saw bipartisan compromise not as a version of surrender, but as a vital tool for achieving Democratic goals.

Then, as now, Mr. Biden saw the culture and traditions of the Senate not as crippling obstacles, but as instruments that could be bent to his advantage.

And in both defining moments — his leadership of the Bork hearings and his third presidential campaign — Mr. Biden made persuading moderates, rather than exciting liberals, his guiding objective.

Mr. Biden, whose campaign declined to make him available for an interview, has strained to defend this approach in the 2020 presidential primary, offering only a halting rationale for a political worldview that other Democrats see as out of date. His rivals have branded him as a timid and even reactionary figure — a creature of the Senate cloakroom who partnered with former segregationists to pass draconian anti-crime legislation and joined with the business lobby to tighten bankruptcy laws.

And Mr. Biden’s opponents point not to the Bork hearings but a different confirmation battle as proof that his instincts are flawed. Four years after Bork was defeated, Mr. Biden would again take an accommodating approach to his Republican colleagues during Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings, allowing harsh and invasive questioning of Anita Hill, the law professor who accused the nominee of sexual harassment. Mr. Biden would later express “regret” for the treatment she endured.

But he has never regretted the conciliatory style that led him to triumph against Bork. In that process, every important decision Mr. Biden made was aimed at winning over conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans — men like Mr. Warner.

Now 92, Mr. Warner said in an interview that his memories of the Bork hearings had grown foggy over the years. But two impressions were indelible, he said. The first concerned Reagan’s nominee: “I never encountered a man with a shorter temper,” Mr. Warner said.

The second concerned the caliber of the Senate’s deliberations.

It was a real, solid, good debate, led by Biden,” Mr. Warner said. “He showed extraordinary leadership.”

The outcome was not foreordained, for either Bork or Mr. Biden. The debate unfolded at a moment of humiliation for Mr. Biden, whose first campaign for president unraveled as the Bork hearings approached their climax. And the judge was no timid adversary, as the journalist Ethan Bronner wrote in a book on the nomination.

Robert Bork,” Mr. Bronner wrote, “was a man of war.”

Mr. Biden was seated behind a desk in a spacious living room adjoining his study at his Wilmington, Del., home. A few aides sat or stood around the room, where pizza was in generous supply. Squared off against Mr. Biden was Robert H. Bork — or rather, a convincing simulacrum played by the constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe.

Mr. Tribe and Mr. Biden would spar for hours in a series of sessions that August, joined occasionally by other legal experts who would help Mr. Biden hone his queries on subjects from antitrust regulation to sexual privacy.

Biden’s questions were really smart, and they also needed some sharpening,” Mr. Tribe said in an interview, citing Mr. Biden’s tendency to “ask one thing and mean something slightly different.”

Mr. Biden came to those training sessions by a jagged path, shaped by pressure from progressive activists and the delicate politics of the Judiciary Committee. He was arming himself to oppose Bork, but not with the methods of the left.

On the day Bork was nominated, liberals viewed Mr. Biden with suspicion. Taking over one of the Senate’s great committees at a boyish — for the Senate — age of 44, Mr. Biden had already split with progressives on the issue of busing as a means of desegregating schools. Until Bork, the authors Michael Pertschuk and Wendy Schaetzel would write, Mr. Biden “had been reluctant to challenge Reagan’s transformation of the federal judiciary.”

The previous November, the soon-to-be chairman had given liberals new reason for concern, suggesting to The Philadelphia Inquirer that he might one day vote to put Bork on the Supreme Court, should he be Reagan’s next nominee.

“I’m not Teddy Kennedy,” he told the newspaper.

When Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., a flexible conservative, resigned from the court in late June, Mr. Biden found himself in the shadow of Kennedy, the party’s leading liberal, and laboring to reconcile his own moderate instincts with a mood of alarm on the left. When the White House announced Bork’s nomination on the first day of July, Kennedy delivered a thunderous warning from the Senate floor: In “Robert Bork’s America,” Kennedy said,

  • women would be forced into back-alley abortions,
  • blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters.”

The scathing address was a call to arms for the left, and it helped animate a coalition of progressives — led by feminists, civil rights activists and labor unions — that applied pressure to undecided senators throughout the summer.

His record was so extensive, and it touched almost every issue of importance to American life,” said Nan Aron, a leading anti-Bork activist. “It wasn’t simply a single issue that caused people to be alarmed.”

Another purpose of Kennedy’s speech, his allies have said, was to ensure Mr. Biden would not cave.

One of the reasons for ‘Robert Bork’s America’ was to freeze Biden,” Jeffrey Blattner, a Kennedy aide, would say decades later, in an oral history for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. “He’s running for president. We didn’t want to leave him any choice.”

Mr. Biden quickly aligned himself with Kennedy, and, at his liberal colleague’s urging, secured an agreement from Senator Strom Thurmond — the 84-year-old former segregationist who was the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican — to delay Bork’s hearings until September.

Biden was under a lot of pressure, particularly from the liberal senators,” said former Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, a centrist Democrat who said he began the confirmation process favorably disposed toward Bork. “At first, I was leaning strongly to vote for him.”

Even as he pledged to oppose Bork, Mr. Biden made clear to progressive leaders in a private meeting that he saw his role as sharply distinct from theirs. He would play an inside game aimed at swaying Senate moderates, starting with the four undecided members of his committee:

  1. Mr. DeConcini and two other Democrats,
  2. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and
  3. Howell Heflin of Alabama, and a Republican,
  4. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Ralph Neas, a civil rights activist who joined the liberals’ initial meeting with Mr. Biden, said the chairman conveyed “that he would take the lead and we would try to put together a bipartisan coalition.”

Biden’s street cred with a lot of the centrists was quite high,” Mr. Neas said.

Mr. Biden was blunter with his aides: He would not adopt Kennedy’s rhetoric or make abortion his central cause. According to a book Mr. Gitenstein published in 1992 about the confirmation fight, Mr. Biden feared Bork would overturn Roe v. Wade but told aides he did not see the case as “great constitutional law.” More disturbing to him — and, he believed, more likely to sway undecided voters — was a Connecticut case on contraception that revealed Bork’s doubts about a broader right to privacy.

“It really concerns me more than abortion,” Mr. Biden is quoted as saying in the book.

In their sessions, Mr. Tribe said, the future vice president wrestled not just with Bork’s record but also with the idea of disqualifying nominees based on individual issues.

“I remember pushing back on Biden, saying, ‘If you think Roe v. Wade really ought to be the law of the land, shouldn’t that count?’” Mr. Tribe recalled. “He said, ‘Yes, it should count a lot, but I still don’t want to have a flat litmus test.’”

Mr. Tribe remembered thinking: “This guy’s a little bit more cautious than I am. But that’s fine, he’s playing a different role.”

Mr. Biden’s self-assigned role was readily apparent as the Bork hearings began in mid-September. Beaming down at the judge from a crowded dais, Mr. Biden praised him as man of towering achievement and “provocative” views. Flanked by Kennedy at one elbow and Thurmond at the other, Mr. Biden said the hearings should not be “clouded by strident rhetoric from the far left or the far right.”

Anytime you feel you want to expand on an answer, you are not bound by time,” Mr. Biden encouraged Bork, adding in a tone of levity, “Go ahead and bog us down.”

In the Bork hearings, every important decision Mr. Biden made was aimed at winning over conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.
In the Bork hearings, every important decision Mr. Biden made was aimed at winning over conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.CreditJose

The judge, bearded and broad shouldered, did not recognize the trap.

Few men could have been more prepared to face a constitutional interrogation. A former Yale Law School professor who served as the country’s solicitor general and, amid the maelstrom of Watergate, as acting attorney general, Bork brought to the hearings a reputation for quick eloquence and utter mastery of the law.

Mr. Biden had no such reputation, and the columnist George F. Will spoke for much of Washington when he predicted Bork would be “more than a match for Biden.”

The chairman gave his colleagues wide latitude to question Bork, whose testimony consumed five days. It culminated in an unusual Saturday hearing that was dominated by an hourslong debate between Bork and Specter, a former district attorney who frequently rode the Amtrak rails with Mr. Biden, about the meaning of constitutional intent. Mr. Biden had offered Specter half an hour for his questions; when Specter balked at the time limit, Mr. Biden relented and opened the way for a crucial exchange.

“His debate with my father on constitutional law did reveal him to be not sufficiently respectful of precedent, which pushed my father against him, and pushed other swing senators against him,” said Shanin Specter, the senator’s son and a Philadelphia lawyer. “It would not have happened if Biden, as chair, hadn’t permitted the hearings to go exactly as long as they needed to go.”

Mr. Biden sought, too, to quash attacks on Bork that he saw as risking political backlash. He shot down a plan to ambush Bork with a recording of a speech he gave in 1985, insisting on sharing it with the judge before airing it in the committee. And Mr. Biden and his aides refused a request from a number of prominent activists, including Ralph Nader, to testify in opposition to Bork. The left was applying powerful pressure from outside the Senate, but Mr. Biden preferred that its leaders stay there — on the outside.

Ms. Aron, who would later clash with Mr. Biden over the nomination of Justice Thomas in 1991, said the combination of popular pressure on the Senate and Mr. Biden’s high-minded hearings doomed the nominee.

What defeated Robert Bork was public pressure,” Ms. Aron said. “But what allowed the public to engage was a review of Bork’s record.”

And Bork did himself few favors: While he assured senators, in his rumbling voice, that he would not overturn rulings capriciously, he struggled to explain away past comments decrying “dozens” of shoddy Supreme Court decisions or deriding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or ridiculing the concept of a constitutional right to privacy. He startled even some allies by describing as “troublesome” the reasoning behind a 1954 case desegregating public schools in the nation’s capital.

In his questions, Mr. Biden posed as a mere mortal grappling with the ideas of a giant.

“Clearly, I do not want to get into a debate with a professor,” Mr. Biden stressed, prodding Mr. Bork about the Griswold v. Connecticut case that ended a state prohibition on birth control: “As I hear you, you do not believe there is a general right of privacy that is in the Constitution.”

“Not one derived in that fashion,” Bork said of the popular decision. “There may be other arguments, and I do not want to pass upon those.”

Watching Bork’s testimony, his political backers knew he was losing. He was articulate, but he was also argumentative. His knowledge of the law was powerful, his political antennae were not.

“I can’t blame Biden,” reflected Tom Korologos, the Republican lobbyist tasked with ushering Bork onto the court. “I blame Bork and Specter, and the other senators, for going on and on.”

Every swing vote on Mr. Biden’s committee swung against Bork, sending him to the floor with a negative recommendation by a vote of 9 to 5. The White House offered Bork the chance to withdraw; he chose martyrdom instead.

His supporters gave him that much, accusing Bork’s opponents of bowing to activists like Mr. Neas and Ms. Aron. “The man’s been trashed in our house,” Senator John Danforth, Republican of Missouri, lamented on the Senate floor. “Some of us helped generate the trashing. Others of us yielded to it.”

Mr. Biden called Mr. Danforth’s complaint an insult to the Senate.

“I have a higher opinion of the ability of my colleagues to do what’s right than, apparently, the senator from Missouri does,” he said.

Mr. Biden’s approach to the Bork nomination was a legislative and political success, one he experienced as personal redemption after his presidential candidacy crumbled. It brought to maturity the strategic instincts that defined him in subsequent battles — including his contested stewardship of the Thomas hearings — and that shape his candidacy today.

The fate of Mr. Biden’s campaign, and perhaps a future presidency, may hinge on whether that version of leadership, defined by collegiality and adherence to procedure, can inspire Democrats and coax cooperation from Republicans. In the presidential race, there is no Ted Kennedy to sound a trumpet for the left while Mr. Biden plays a methodical inside game. And there are no Republicans to be found in the Senate like Specter, who eventually, at Mr. Biden’s urging, quit the G.O.P. to become a Democrat before his death in 2012.

Still, Mr. Gitenstein said he had encouraged the former vice president to draw public attention to his role in the 1987 court fight. The defeat of Robert Bork averted a solidly conservative majority, handing the court’s decisive seat to the more pliant Anthony M. Kennedy, who became a decisive figure in a generation’s worth of eclectic rulings on subjects from campaign finance and union rights to abortion and the legal definition of marriage.

“I don’t think he or anyone else makes enough of the fact that, but for Biden, Roe would be dead 30 years ago, and, but for Biden, we wouldn’t have the gay marriage decision,” Mr. Gitenstein said. “I’ve talked to him about it. He’s got so much on his platter.”

Mr. DeConcini, who at 82 is a supporter of Mr. Biden’s campaign, said he hoped a strategy of moderation could prevail again.

But he admitted to having doubts.

“I’d like to think so, I really would,” Mr. DeConcini said. “I’m just not sure.”

Clarence Thomas’s Astonishing Opinion on a Racist Mississippi Prosecutor

Mississippi prosecutor went on a racist crusade to have a black man executed. Clarence Thomas thinks that was just fine.

That’s the message of an astonishing decision handed down by the Supreme Court on Friday. The facts of the case, known as Flowers v. Mississippi, are straightforward. As Justice Brett Kavanaugh put it, in his admirably blunt opinion for the Court, “In 1996, Curtis Flowers allegedly murdered four people in Winona, Mississippi. Flowers is black. He has been tried six separate times before a jury for murder. The same lead prosecutor represented the State in all six trials.” Flowers was convicted in the first three trials, and sentenced to death. On each occasion, his conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court, on the grounds of misconduct by the prosecutor, Doug Evans, mostly in the form of keeping African-Americans off the juries. Trials four and five ended in hung juries. In the sixth trial, the one that was before the Supreme Court, Flowers was convicted, but the Justices found that Evans had again discriminated against black people, and thus Flowers, in jury selection, and they overturned his conviction. (The breathtaking facts of the case and its accompanying legal saga are described at length on the American Public Media podcast “In the Dark.”)

As Kavanaugh recounted in his opinion, Evans’s actions were almost cartoonishly racist. To wit: in the six trials, the State employed its peremptory challenges (that is, challenges for which no reason need be given) to strike forty-one out of forty-two African-American prospective jurors. In the most recent trial, the State exercised peremptory strikes against five of six black prospective jurors. In addition, Evans questioned black prospective jurors a great deal more closely than he questioned whites. As Kavanaugh observed, with considerable understatement, “A court confronting that kind of pattern cannot ignore it.

But Thomas can, and he did. Indeed, he filed a dissenting opinion that was genuinely outraged—not by the prosecutor but by his fellow-Justices, who dared to grant relief to Flowers, who has spent more than two decades in solitary confinement at Mississippi’s notorious Parchman prison. Thomas said that the prosecutor’s behavior was blameless, and he practically sneered at his colleagues, asserting that the majority had decided the Flowers case to “boost its self-esteem.” Thomas also found a way to blame the news media for the result. “Perhaps the Court granted certiorari because the case has received a fair amount of media attention,” he wrote, adding that “the media often seeks to titillate rather than to educate and inform.”

The decision in Flowers was 7–2, with Neil Gorsuch joining Thomas’s dissent. The two have become jurisprudentially inseparable, with Gorsuch serving as a kind of deputy to Thomas, as Thomas once served to Antonin Scalia. But Thomas usually has a majority of colleagues on his side, in a way that often eluded Scalia. The Flowers case notwithstanding, Thomas now wins most of the time, typically with the assistance of Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Kavanaugh.

Despite Thomas’s usual silence on the bench (he did ask a question during the Flowers argument), he is clearly feeling ideologically aggressive these days. In his Flowers dissent, Thomas all but called for the overturning of the Court’s landmark decision in Batson v. Kentucky, from 1986, which prohibits prosecutors from using their peremptory challenges in racially discriminatory ways. Earlier this year, he called for reconsideration of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, from 1964, which established modern libel law, with its protections for journalistic expression. And in a decision earlier this month, Thomas made the case that the Court should be more willing to overturn its precedents. It’s customary for the Justices to at least pretend to defer to past decisions, but Thomas apparently no longer feels obligated even to gesture to the Court’s past. As he put it last fall, in a concurring opinion in Gamble v. United States, “We should not invoke stare decisis to uphold precedents that are demonstrably erroneous.” Erroneous, of course, in the judicial world view of Thomas. The Supreme Court’s war on its past has begun, and Clarence Thomas is leading the charge.

Liberals Who Cry Roe

A obscure case over state sovereignty triggers a Supreme Court exchange over precedent.

Progressives outside the Court correctly interpreted the subtext of the Breyer dissent. “Clarence Thomas Just Showed How Supreme Court Would Overturn Roe v. Wade,” declared one columnist. Liberals are skiing so fast down this slope they can’t stop to think.

Justice Thomas is the only Justice who has endorsed overturning Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh are wary enough of abortion politics that they declined to hear a case last year involving Medicaid provider contracts ostensibly because Planned Parenthood was a plaintiff. The High Court will eventually address abortion rights, but it is likely to do so incrementally unless it is forced to take on Casey and Roe directly by some state law. And even then we don’t know what the Justices would do.

Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional

The president is evading the requirement to seek the Senate’s advice and consent for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and the person who will oversee the Mueller investigation.

What now seems an eternity ago, the conservative law professor Steven Calabresi published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in May arguing that Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel was unconstitutional. His article got a lot of attention, and it wasn’t long before President Trump picked up the argument, tweeting that “the Appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

Professor Calabresi’s article was based on the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2. Under that provision, so-called principal officers of the United States must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate under its “Advice and Consent” powers.

.. He argued that Mr. Mueller was a principal officer because he is exercising significant law enforcement authority and that since he has not been confirmed by the Senate, his appointment was unconstitutional.

.. As one of us argued at the time, he was wrong. What makes an officer a principal officer is that he or she reports only to the president. No one else in government is that person’s boss. But Mr. Mueller reports to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. So, Mr. Mueller is what is known as an inferior officer, not a principal one, and his appointment without Senate approval was valid.

But Professor Calabresi and Mr. Trump were right about the core principle. A principal officer must be confirmed by the Senate. And that has a very significant consequence today.

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

.. the the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

.. If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.

.. Justice Thomas agreed with the judgment, but wrote separately to emphasize that even if the statute had allowed the appointment, the Constitution’s Appointments Clause would not have. The officer in question was a principal officer, he concluded. And the public interest protected by the Appointments Clause was a critical one: The Constitution’s drafters, Justice Thomas argued, “recognized the serious risk for abuse and corruption posed by permitting one person to fill every office in the government.” Which is why, he pointed out, the framers provided for advice and consent of the Senate.

.. What goes for a mere lawyer at the N.L.R.B. goes in spades for the attorney general of the United States, the head of the Justice Department and one of the most important people in the federal government.

Mr. Whitaker has not been named to some junior post one or two levels below the Justice Department’s top job. He has now been vested with the law enforcement authority of the entireUnited States government, including the power to supervise Senate-confirmed officials like the deputy attorney general, the solicitor general and all United States attorneys.

.. We cannot tolerate such an evasion of the Constitution’s very explicit, textually precise design. Senate confirmation exists for a simple, and good, reason. Constitutionally, Matthew Whitaker is a nobody. His job as Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff did not require Senate confirmation. (Yes, he was confirmed as a federal prosecutor in Iowa, in 2004, but Mr. Trump can’t cut and paste that old, lapsed confirmation to today.) For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document.

.. Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone the process of Senate confirmation, there has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whether he has the character and ability to evenhandedly enforce the law in a position of such grave responsibility. The public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker’s only supervisor is Mr. Trump himself, and the president is hopelessly compromised by the Mueller investigation.
.. As we wrote last week, the Constitution is a bipartisan document, written for the ages to guard against wrongdoing by officials of any party. Mr. Whitaker’s installation makes a mockery of our Constitution and our founders’ ideals. As Justice Thomas’s opinion in the N.L.R.B. case reminds us, the Constitution’s framers “had lived under a form of government that permitted arbitrary governmental acts to go unchecked.” He added “they knew that liberty could be preserved only by ensuring that the powers of government would never be consolidated in one body.”

We must heed those words today.