As prepared for delivery.
On October 11, 1991, then-Judge Clarence Thomas made the following statement before this committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings:
Justice Thomas described his 1991 confirmation proceedings as “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
More than three decades later, that observation remains tragically relevant. Today’s hearing—and the Radical Left’s continued attacks against Justice Thomas and his wife, Ginni, over the past 31 years—are part of a sustained, hateful attempt to discredit an honest man and a principled jurist. The Left simply cannot accept the fact that one of our greatest American success stories—that of a humble citizen who rose from poverty in the segregated South to become not only one of the Supreme Court’s longest-serving justices, but also one of the most influential jurists our country has ever known—is the story of a Black man who happens to be a conservative.
Those leading the charge against Justice Thomas would have us believe that he couldn’t possibly think for himself, so his wife and white friends must be telling him what to think.
The truth is, the Left simply disagrees with the decisions issued by our current Supreme Court—and they obviously can’t persuade the American people to adopt their radical policies through legislation—so they are attempting to destroy the Court’s credibility and intimidate the Republican-appointed justices and their families. They’re making clear that justices who disagree with them will pay a price—one that the Left will ensure is very high. This is all just a thuggish shake-down. “Nice Supreme Court, ya got there, America—it sure would be a shame if something happened to it.”
Don’t just take my word for it. In 2020, Senator Chuck Schumer (the Democratic leader in the Senate) stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and threatened, at the top of his lungs, “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
In August 2019, five Democratic Senators, including four members of this committee, submitted an amicus brief with the following threat: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.”
Since the leak of the Dobbs draft opinion one year ago today, the justices and their families have endured constant protests at their homes, their churches and their children’s schools, and even an assassination attempt against Justice Kavanaugh. Of course, when I say “the justices” in this context, what I really mean is “those justices who joined the majority opinion in Dobbs,” as only the dissenters have been spared of the rage-machine’s bullying threats and intimidation tactics. As Justice Alito recently noted, the Dobbs leak made Justice Alito and those among his colleagues deemed likely to be joining the opinion he authored “targets of assassination.” As Justice Alito explained, “it was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”
Astoundingly, Democratic Senators are now threatening to defund the Supreme Court Police’s protection of the justices and their families unless they enact the specific “ethics reform” measures that those Senators demand. All of these tactics are meant to harass and intimidate the Court—specifically, the justices appointed to the Court by Republican presidents—and force them to force the Left’s radical policy agenda on the American people by judicial fiat.
The left has coordinated these attacks with the increasingly compliant, left-wing media. If you just read articles from sources like The New York Times, Politico, and outlets like the George Soros-funded ProPublica, you’d think Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican president were universally and reckless and corrupt, and that those nominated by Democrats were universally conscientious and virtuous.
That bias becomes apparent both in what receives coverage and in what does not. For example, one justice appointed by a Democratic president failed to recuse when her husband’s law firm had cases before the Court, one failed to disclose the sources of her spouses’ income, and some traveled for free with wealthy friends—including stays at the homes of prominent attorneys whose firms have cases before the Supreme Court. But you wouldn’t hear any of this from the biased media or the Congressional Democrats who conveniently point only to Republican-appointed justices while demanding “ethics reform” at the Court.
I raise these examples not to accuse the Court of being systemically corrupt or broken. It’s neither of those things. I raise them only to point out that Senate Democrats, left-wing activists, and their publicity outposts in the mainstream media never tell the complete story, and by telling only half the story they reveal their true purpose, which is not to tell the truth but to punish their political enemies.
America is the greatest civilization human history has ever recorded—in large measure because of its unique, constitutional form of government, in which the powers of government are carefully separated to keep tyranny at bay. Ronald Regan referred to the United States as “the shining city on a hill.”
The place where a Black boy born into poverty in the segregated South could become one of the greatest, most respected jurists in our nation’s history. We now have the Radical Left trying to jackhammer the very foundation of our judicial system—impartiality and adherence to the rule of law—because they disagree with the outcome of a few cases. This isn’t democratic or ethical. Nor is it part of a sincere effort to improve our judicial system or remedy an actual problem. No—this is a progressive temper tantrum. It’s a toxic, highly partisan solution in search of a problem.
I remain confident that Justice Thomas will not be intimidated by the latest attacks, and for that I’m grateful. As he said in 1991:
“I will not be scared. I don’t like bullies. I have never run from bullies. I never cry uncle and I am not going to cry uncle today whether I want to be on the Supreme Court or not.”
I hope we learn from our history before the Radical Left destroys the Supreme Court, and with it our Constitution and our country.
As prepared for delivery.