Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Supreme Conservative

As Thomist Catholics know, being strongly conservative in relation to crime and criminals is being strongly compassionate, and accepting the eternal nature of sin and the sinner’s life.

Fortunately, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a Catholic, also realizes this, and a profile in USA Today—about which the Crime & Consequences Blog comments—takes note.

An excerpt from the USA Today article.

“WASHINGTON — Twenty years ago, when a senator asked then-appellate Judge Clarence Thomas why he wanted to be on the Supreme Court, Thomas said he often looked out his courthouse window at arriving prisoners and said to himself, "But for the grace of God, there go I."

“During his confirmation hearing, Thomas explained that he would identify with defendants: "So I can walk in their shoes and I could bring something different to the court."

“It is now clear that to Thomas, those remarks did not mean he necessarily would empathize with defendants. During two decades as the court's most consistent conservative, he has taken a tough approach to criminal defendants' cases, showing a disdain for hard-luck tales of bad childhoods and a conviction that defendants accept responsibility.

“As several cases this term have shown, criminal law is one area in which Thomas — who almost never speaks during public court sessions — is making his mark. He often writes alone, yet with strong rhetoric that gets attention — particularly in light of his difficult background and professed concern for men who took the wrong path.”