Clarence Thomas-- The Most Important Justice?
jack.balkin at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 3 09:33:46 PST 2002
Given that Mark Tushnet (and me, too, for that matter, among others too
numerous to mention) has made this sort of claim about the Declaration in
his scholarship, (indeed, this is a central theme of Mark's book, Taking
the Constitution Away From the Courts) this suggests that the claim is
fairly widespread in the constitutional literature and also quite
indeterminate in its application. It is a favorite gambit among scholars
both liberal and conservative. However, the idea that *Clarence Thomas* is
the leading proponent of this view seems puzzling, and I'd love to see
Scott's account of why this would be so, much less that it would be so
"without question." Indeed, before Scott's helpful post I wasn't even
aware that Thomas had written anything significant on the Declaration,
except for the usual ceremonial style speeches here and there that the
Justices are wont to give from time to time. Might we find this among his
heretofore unpublished essays on Roe v. Wade?
At 12:00 AM 4/3/02 -0800, you wrote:
>Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 16:10:19 -0500
>From: Scott Gerber <s-gerber at ONU.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Clarence Thomas-- The Most Important Justice?
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>I will be presenting a paper this weekend at a conference on the
>Declaration of Independence at Princeton University in which I plan to say
>that Justice Thomas is also important because of his views about the nature
>of constitutionalism itself. To make the point more directly, Justice
>Thomas is without question the nation's leading proponent of the view that
>the American regime was founded on the principles articulated in the
>Declaration of Independence and that public policy should be made, and
>assessed, in light of those principles. He's in good company in this
>regard: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
>Whether Justice Thomas is the "most important" member of the current Court
>is, of course, an empirical question. The posts about the Epstein/King
>article suggest we can't yet answer it.
>Pettit College of Law
>Ohio Northern University
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