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June 12, 2010

"Clarence Thomas in 2012!"

The title of this post is the last line of this amusing Washington Post op-ed by Kashmir Hill and David Lat of Above the Law, which makes a lovely case for Justice Clarence Thomas running for President in 2012. The piece is titled, "Justice Clarence Thomas seems bored. Why doesn't he run for president in 2012?", and here are a few snippets:

The Republican Party is in disarray, with no clear message -- as shown in last week's primaries -- and with no obvious candidate to challenge President Obama in 2012. Thomas could be the GOP's new standard-bearer. He has enviable name recognition, both as a long-serving justice and as the author of the bestselling 2007 autobiography "My Grandfather's Son." And he has already survived the nasty political attacks that marked his 1991 confirmation hearings.

A Thomas candidacy would bring racial diversity and a moving personal story to the Republican ticket. Thomas was born into poverty in Pin Point, Ga. He didn't have indoor plumbing until he moved to Savannah to live with his grandparents at age 7....

Thomas is well suited for political office. On the nation's highest court, he has had to reflect and rule on the country's most divisive issues. He also has political experience predating the court. He worked as an assistant attorney general in Missouri and then for the Reagan administration in the Department of Education and as head of the EEOC....

Would it be insane for Thomas to leave a lifetime appointment to run for president? Well, he is a judge, so let's talk precedent. If elected, Thomas would not be the first person to serve as both president and justice: William Howard Taft was president from 1909 to 1913, then chief justice from 1921 to 1930. And Thomas wouldn't even be the first to attempt this in the reverse order: Charles Evans Hughes, appointed to the court in 1910, resigned in 1916 to run as the Republican nominee for president. He lost to Woodrow Wilson by a mere 23 electoral votes.

Of course, some sentencing fans will have kind spot in their heart for Justice Thomas because of his approach to the Sixth Amendment in Apprendi and Harris and Blakely.  But I doubt his approach to jury rights would be a central aspect of any election campaign.  Though this op-ed (and my comment, too) was obviously written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, it is truly intriguing to think about a modern Justice considering a run at the Presidency.  And it is especially fun to imagine celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation with a choice between two black men for US President.

June 12, 2010 at 08:23 PM | Permalink


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No more lawyers in the Presidency. What a sickening, self-defeating idea.

That being said, I would still vote for him to give fits to the feminist lawyer. This is a hate group. It will be looked upon like that other lawyer founded and run organization, the States' Rights promoting KKK. The members of the feminist hate group should be purged from all schools, offices, and government positions.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 12, 2010 11:35:57 PM

I think the one person who would most be overjoyed by Clarence Thomas as the Republican nominee is whoever will be running Obama's 2012 campaign.

Posted by: seds | Jun 14, 2010 12:13:02 PM

Will Justice Thomas be half-asleep during the presidential debates as well?

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jun 14, 2010 2:03:22 PM

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