Whether He Stays or Goes, a Reputation and a Legacy Are Destroyed
Confidence in the fairness of our legal systems must not only be maintained, but it must be perceived to be maintained. Unfortunately, we are way beyond that perception in the circumstances surrounding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Personally, his remaining on the bench or leaving no longer matters.
But institutionally, what becomes of him matters a great deal
Currently, a mere 25% of Americans have a great deal (or even fair amount) of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court and that has little to do with Thomas, because it’s been declining for decades now, a trend that began in 1973. The prior low was 30% in 2014 from a high point of 56% in 1998. Interestingly, when I Googled ‘highest ever public support of Supreme Court,’ I found pages and pages of how that support went to hell, but nothing at all on its pinnacle of power.
A dismal showing for the nation’s highest court
Thomas was a particularly contentious nominee prior to his being seated on the court in 1991, accused of sexual…