Justice (Uncle) Thomas?

chicagotj.org clarence thomas

If you’ve read a newspaper or been on Facebook today, you’ve heard about the Landmark SCOTUS case that saw the overturning of the 1987 murder conviction and death-row sentencing of Timothy Tyrone Foster. The 7-1 ruling contended that Foster must be retried due to unconstitutional discrimination based on race in regards to the jury selection. During that selection, all potential black jurors were excused from service, leaving an entirely white jury, which consequently convicted Foster to death. 

The kicker? The 7 agreeing opinions came from the 7 non-black Justices of the Supreme Court, while the dissent came from its sole black member: Justice Clarence Thomas. I’ve read the ruling opinions and the dissent by Thomas. People are inflamed by his choice to disagree with his fellow justices. He’s been called a “hater of blacks” and essentially the Uncle Tom on the SCOTUS.

I actually think his opinion is in favor of black Americans and is intended to shine a positive light on us as a race in the United States.

This ruling, though life-changing for Foster and dozens like him on death row, is not sourced from a search for justice, but upon a need to leave legacy.

Think about where Foster’s argument ultimately takes us to logically. He isn’t arguing that he didn’t commit the criminal act. Aside from a No Reasonable Cause of Harm from the investigators botching Foster’s Miranda rights, he freely confused to the crime twice, even doing so on video (read the horrendous account for yourself). His attorneys original defense was innocence by means of statutory mental retardation…a defense that failed. They never contradicted his guilt. Foster’s claim that racial  discrimination ultimately led to a bias in his sentencing can only suggest that his defense team wished to argue that, perhaps, a black jury, (or at least a racially diverse jury) would not have imposed the death sentence. The reciprocal of this paradigm is that a white jury most assuredly would convict, as in fact they did. 

Did you get that?

A black jury would not convict Foster because Foster is black like them. A white jury would convict because they are not black like Foster. That was Foster’s basis for filing a writ of habeas corpus, a motion that the Georgia Supreme Court denied relief to. Foster’s defense considered this a basis for a mistrial, and today’s US Supreme Court concurs. Though couched in the veneer of a Constitutional violation, it can certainly appear that the majority ruling of the Supreme Court would agree with this line of reasoning.  They begin to appear as activist judges, using the unconstitutional power of judicial review to set precedents where they lack apparent jurisdiction. If that is so, then this ruling, though life-changing for Foster and dozens like him on death row, is not sourced from a search for justice, but upon a need to leave legacy.

So what else is Justice Thomas to do? He argues in his dissent, that the Court has unduly overstepped it’s bounds in bringing an opinion to bare in a State case without consulting with the State that was involved (Georgia). He claims that the Court did not prove that it actually had the lawful ability to rule in this matter, and that’s its arguments were based on faulty interpretations of irrelevant cases.

I envision that Justice Thomas actually spoke against the Romney Doctrine, which states blacks will side with blacks no matter what. Thomas says, “No, wrong is wrong, and justice is justice.” Just because Foster is an African American, that doesn’t mandate that blacks will ignore what he freely admitted to doing. And to prove it, Thomas goes on record as the only Justice in the highest court of the land ( and emphatically the only black one) to dissent from this ruling. He’s catching hell for it, and I appreciate his bravery.