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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

More than two years have passed since Clarence Thomas became a member of the Supreme Court, and Judge Higginbotham suggests that it is now appropriate to reflect on some of the issues pertaining to Thomas's nomination and some aspects of his performance as a Justice. Judge Higginbotham explains why, in 1991, he published "An Open Letter to Justice Clarence Thomas from a Federal Judicial Colleague" and notes the praise and the criticism he received from the publication.

Judge Higginbotham addresses the "duality" that confronts all African-Americans and discusses the importance of this insight in their outlooks as public officials. He suggests that Justice Thomas fails to appreciate the "duality" of his experiences as an American and as an African-American. After discussing Justice Thomas's opinion in Hudson v. McMillian, Judge Higginbotham suggests that Justice Thomas's failings may be due to either his inability to appreciate the true history of America or his becoming a victim of his own racial self-hatred.

Judge Higginbotham reflects on the poignant moments during Justice Thurgood Marshall's last year and on his death. Judge Higginbotham reluctantly concludes that, unlike Justice Marshall's support of the oppressed, Justice Thomas's lasting impact will be harmful to the rights of minorities, women, and the powerless.

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