A Twitter post is going viral after it resurfaced civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ thoughts on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas‘ confirmation in 1991.
Jeanne Theoharis, a distinguished professor at Brooklyn College, shared a letter from Parks, dated September 13, 1991, which begins by commending Thomas for this career and strides before warning what his confirmation could mean for the nation.
“His confirmation to the highest court in the land would not represent a step forward in the road to racial progress but a u-turn on that road,” she wrote. “His statements on Brown v. Board of Education case… and even on the Roe v. Wade to me indicate that he wants to push the clock back… The Supreme Court now appears to be turning its back on the undeniable fact of discrimination and exclusion …I believe that Judge Thomas will accelerate that trend and that will be destructive for our nation.”
Her sentiment resonates amongst critics today following the Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month, undermining nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion rights. Thomas also wrote that his colleagues should revisit previous rulings on same-sex marriage and birth control.
“Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’” Thomas says in his opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which lead to the historic decision overturning Roe. “We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”
Parks’ letter is available on the Library of Congress’ website, which can be viewed HERE.
Thomas, the second Black American to ascend to the Supreme Court after Thurgood Marshall, was nominated by then-President George H.W. Bush. While his initial confirmation went smoothly, it had to be reopened following Anita Hill‘s accusations of sexual assault against him went public. She was called to testify before the Senate and even take a polygraph test, but Thomas was ultimately confirmed in a very narrow 52-48 vote. He was sworn in on October 23, 1991.
The longest-serving Supreme Court justice has also been in hot water over his wife, Ginni Thomas, and her involvement in the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6, 2021. Texts between her and then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reveal Ginni Thomas urging him to overturn the 2020 presidential election for Donald Trump.
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