“Democrats hate Justice Thomas and they save a special degree of hate for him because he is a Black man. And their view is that an African American is not allowed to be a conservative [and] is not allowed to disagree with left-wing orthodoxy,” the Texas Republican said while appearing on Sunday Morning Futures with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo.
Thomas has faced a wave of criticism following a recent report from ProPublica that detailed numerous trips that Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, took that were paid for by Republican mega donor Harlan Crow.
The report from earlier this month stated that Thomas traveled for nearly 20 years on trips paid for by Crow as well as using the donor’s yacht and private jet. Many of the trips Thomas and his wife took were not disclosed to the Court and there are ethics laws in place requiring Supreme Court justices and other members of Congress to financially disclose gifts they received.
Newsweek has reached out the Cruz’s North Texas office for comment via email. It also reached out to Thomas via the Supreme Court’s public information office’s contact form for comment.
Speaking about Thomas’ recent controversy, Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on Tuesday that the justice should resign because his “reputation is unsalvageable.”
“I will say what needs to be said. Clarence Thomas should resign from the Supreme Court of the United States,” Markey said while speaking to supporters. “His reputation is unsalvageable. It is evident that he cannot judge right from wrong, so why should he be judging the country’s most important cases on its highest court.”
Meanwhile, political analyst Craig Agranoff told Newsweek on Sunday, “[Cruz’s] comments about Democrats hating Clarence Thomas because he’s Black are offensive and unfounded. There are many Democrats who respect Justice Thomas for his intellect and his legal acumen. They may disagree with his judicial philosophy, but that doesn’t mean they hate him. Cruz’s comments can be seen as a dangerous attempt to divide Americans along racial lines.”
During his Fox News appearance, Cruz added: “Justice Antonin Scalia…was every bit as conservative as Justice Thomas. The left didn’t keep that kind of contempt on Justice Scalia. Justice Thomas, they view as a traitor because he is African American and he’s an extraordinary Justice.”
Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer came to Thomas’ defense, however, calling him a “man of integrity,” adding last week that he never saw his fellow judge act dishonestly over the nearly 30 years shared on the Supreme Court.
“As far as I’m concerned, I sat next to him on the bench for 28 years. I like him. He’s a friend of mine. I’ve never seen him do anything underhanded or say anything underhanded,” Breyer, who retired last year, said from a conference in Boston. “My personal point of view is he’s a man of integrity.”
Agranoff concluded on Sunday: “Like most people, I am concerned that [Thomas’] wife may be using Thomas’ position to gain favorable treatment. If this is the case, this would be a serious ethical violation, and it would call into question Justice Thomas’ impartiality as a Supreme Court justice. Hopefully the Supreme Court will investigate these allegations and take appropriate action if they are found to be true.”
Meanwhile, a Gallup poll conducted last September found that trust in the judicial branch has fallen to historic lows, with only 47 percent of U.S. adults agreeing that they had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the courts. The survey also found a record-high disapproval rating, with 58 percent saying they did not agree with the way the Supreme Court is handling its job.
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