Clarence Thomas No Rubber Stamp

Geraldine Ferraro just claimed on the Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes show that Clarence Thomas is merely Antonin Scalia’s rubber stamp on the Supreme Court.

Since neither Alan Colmes nor Rich Lowry (substituting for Sean Hannity) contradicted her there, let me set the record straight.

David Garrow, in his 2004 New Republic review of the Thomas biography “Doubting Thomas,” by Ken Foskett, addressed this allegation directly (go here for the New Republic version or herefor a Sheridan: Con-Law blog reprint):

The popular fiction that Thomas [is] nothing more than the hapless dupe of Justice Scalia,’ says [“Doubting Thomas” author David] Foskett, betrays ‘an obvious racist subtext.’ ‘Because I am black, it is said that Justice Scalia has to do my work for me,’ Thomas mockingly observed in 2000. The widespread perception is rooted in the simple truth that ‘he is really the only justice whose basic approach to the law is the same as mine,’ Scalia told Foskett. Yet during the court’s 2003-2004 term, Scalia and Thomas voted together in only 73 percent of cases, and six other pairs of justices agreed with each other more often than Thomas and Scalia did.

But even when Thomas and Scalia do vote alike, how can Ferraro know that Scalia is not following Thomas, rather than Thomas following Scalia?

Or anyone “following” at all?

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