Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Ronald Turner


In a recent comment on the United States Supreme Court's decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson focused on and endorsed Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in that case as a culmination of the pronouncements on race and education by the Court's only African-American Justice. This essay argues that Judge Wilkinson has praised Justice Thomas for doing that which the Justice decries: the commission of an act of nonoriginalist and discretionary judging grounded in and reflecting the Justice's race and ideology. In addition, the essay contends that Judge Wilkinson uncritically embraced Justice Thomas's invocation of Frederick Douglass as iconic support for the constitutional view and analysis set out in the Thomas concurrence, and suggests that the rhetorical power of iconography is not and should not be allowed to serve as an analytic substitute for rigorous and informed critique.