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Justice says law degree 'worth 15 cents' (Clarence Thomas says because of Affirmative Action)
Yahoo News / AP ^ | October 20, 2007 | JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN

Posted on 10/21/2007 3:41:16 PM PDT by Stoat

Justice says law degree 'worth 15 cents'

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 8 minutes ago

 

Photo

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government regarding the Supreme Court's 2008 fiscal budget request on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., in this March 8, 2007 file photo. The conservative justice says he was repeatedly turned down in job interviews at law firms when he graduated from Yale in 1974 in the years after affirmative action had taken hold at universities.

 

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a 15-cent price tag stuck to his Yale law degree, blaming the school's affirmative action policies in the 1970s for his difficulty finding a job after he graduated.

Some of his black classmates say Thomas needs to get over his grudge because Yale opened the door to extraordinary opportunities.

Thomas' new autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son," shows how the second black justice on the Supreme Court came to oppose affirmative action after his law school experience. He was one of about 10 blacks in a class of 160 who had arrived at Yale after the unrest of the 1960s, which culminated in a Black Panther Party trial in New Haven that nearly caused a large-scale riot.

The conservative justice says he initially considered his admission to Yale a dream, but soon felt he was there because of his race. He says he loaded up on tough courses to prove he was not inferior to his white classmates but considers the effort futile. He says he was repeatedly turned down in job interviews at law firms after his 1974 graduation.

"I learned the hard way that a law degree from Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much any one denied it," Thomas writes. "I'd graduated from one of America's top law schools, but racial preference had robbed my achievement of its true value."

Thomas says he stores his Yale Law degree in his basement with a 15-cent sticker from a cigar package on the frame.

His view isn't shared by black classmate William Coleman III.

"I can only say my degree from Yale Law School has been a great boon," said Coleman, now an attorney in Philadelphia. "Had he not gone to a school like Yale, he would not be sitting on the Supreme Court."

Coleman's Yale roommate, Bill Clinton, appointed him general counsel to the U.S. Army, one of several top jobs Coleman has held over the years.

Thomas said he began interviewing with law firms at the beginning of his third year of law school.

"Many asked pointed questions unsubtly suggesting that they doubted I was as smart as my grades indicated," he wrote. "Now I knew what a law degree from Yale was worth when it bore the taint of racial preference."

He said it was months before he got an offer, from then-Missouri Attorney General John Danforth.

Steven Duke, a white Yale law professor who taught when Thomas attended Yale, said Thomas is right to say that the significance of someone's degree could be called into question if the person was admitted to an institution on a preferential basis. However, he said that could be overcome by strong performance, noting that two Yale graduates — Danforth and President Bush — put Thomas into top jobs.

"I find it difficult to believe he actually regrets the choice he made," Duke said. "It seems to me he did pretty well."

Some classmates say Thomas — who was raised poor in Georgia and stood out on campus in his overalls and heavy black boots — faced a tougher transition than black students who came from middle-class or privileged backgrounds.

Frank Washington, a black classmate and friend of Thomas who also came from a lower-income background, said he had 42 interviews before he landed a job at a Washington law firm.

"It seemed like I had to go through many more interviews than a lot of my other non-minority classmates," said Washington, now an entrepreneur who owns radio and television stations.

Other black classmates say their backgrounds didn't matter.

Edgar Taplin Jr., raised by a single parent in New Orleans, said he landed a job after graduation at the oldest law firm in New York, and does not recall black graduates struggling more to get jobs than their white classmates.

"My degree was worth a lot more than 15 cents," said Taplin, who retired in 2003 as a global manager with Exxon Mobil.

Thomas has declined to have his portrait hung at Yale Law School along with other graduates who became U.S. Supreme Court justices. An earlier book, "Supreme Discomfort," by Washington Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, portrays Thomas as still upset some Yale professors opposed his confirmation during hearings marked by Anita Hill's allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her.

Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh turned down requests for interviews about the justice's book, but said in a statement that he and his predecessors have invited Thomas to have his portrait done and the offer still stands.

Koh said they met for several hours about a year ago. "He made it clear that he had greatly enjoyed his time at Yale Law School, and that he had great affection for his fellow students and for several professors who are still here," he said.

Thomas would not comment, said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

William Coleman says it's time for Thomas to move on.

"You did OK, guy," he said.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; clarencethomas; justic; justice; justicethomas; law; lawschool; race; racialpolitics; racism; yale
Some of his black classmates say Thomas needs to get over his grudge because Yale opened the door to extraordinary opportunities.

And those 'opportunities' would have been more readily realized in a tangible sense, and there would have been far more of them had the degree not been tainted as substandard, thanks to Yale's affirmative action crimes.

Similar accounts as Justice Thomas' have been made by black engineers and people trained in a variety of schools....so very many have said the same thing, that affirmative action had reduced the value of their hard work and achievement.

1 posted on 10/21/2007 3:41:19 PM PDT by Stoat
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To: Stoat

My Banker Boss in LA told me that when he was promoted to President in Chicago they also gave him a tutor to go with it because he was black. That’s messed up. (he’s 70 now)


2 posted on 10/21/2007 3:44:38 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: Stoat
I heard a caller into a radio show one time saying employers often don’t want of hire minorities b/c if the worker messes up they can’t be fired. Why would anyone want to hire someone that they can’t fire if the person ends up being a bad employee? Affirmative action is racists and as most liberal ideas generates the exact opposite of its stated intent (Jim Quinn, 104.7)
3 posted on 10/21/2007 3:49:29 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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To: Stoat

I have a Yale law degree and all I got was this lousy t shirt and a seat on the US Supreme Court.


4 posted on 10/21/2007 3:53:55 PM PDT by ari-freedom (I am for traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and free markets.)
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To: eyedigress
My Banker Boss in LA told me that when he was promoted to President in Chicago they also gave him a tutor to go with it because he was black. That’s messed up. (he’s 70 now)

Did they do the same thing for white people in a similar position?  In fairness, people moving up the career ladder are oftentimes provided with some assistance in one form or another  to get them up to speed in a new job.

Was this done ONLY because he was black?  If that's the case, that would indeed be bad, and suggests that the bank didn't really want him there and was being forced to place him there against the wishes of other management members..

Or, it could also be because management there was composed of condescending liberals who supported affirmative action and who thought that blacks simply could never do the job without extra help.

5 posted on 10/21/2007 3:55:13 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

It seems a bit disengenuous for the other affirmative graduates to lay claim to how well “they” have done as if affimative actions stopped at graduation.

It would seem that at the their time of graduation there were few black Yale candidates to from which corporate affirmative action programs to choose.


6 posted on 10/21/2007 3:56:16 PM PDT by School of Rational Thought (Truthism Watch)
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To: Stoat

According to him the latter would apply. He was a very smart man whom took his time on decision making.


7 posted on 10/21/2007 3:57:26 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: eyedigress

Justice Clarence Thomas did not have to be taught principles or integrity, he had these when he left high school. His gained position is well deserved, he did not have to be a scum sucking liberal to reach the top.


8 posted on 10/21/2007 3:58:15 PM PDT by boomop1 (there you go again)
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To: Stoat

Thomas did more than Okay, he did beautifully and he is 100% right about race, gender, and affirmative action. I know a half dozen men and women who would never have qualified had they not been part of the affirmative action and DC is full of non-qualified people holding positions they have no right to, basically ripping off the public….if government were cut in half today, no one would be missed.


9 posted on 10/21/2007 3:59:11 PM PDT by yoe ( NO THIRD TERM FOR THE CLINTON'S!!!)
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To: boomop1

Justice Thomas is the essence of America and well disciplined. I wish him God Speed in all his resposibilities and decisions. :^)


10 posted on 10/21/2007 4:02:48 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: eyedigress

Ooops... Responsibilities


11 posted on 10/21/2007 4:03:47 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: Stoat
so very many have said the same thing, that affirmative action had reduced the value of their hard work and achievement.

OM...Clarence Thomas is an outstanding man. Look at how the left did an injustice to him.

12 posted on 10/21/2007 4:04:22 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: ari-freedom
I have a Yale law degree and all I got was this lousy t shirt and a seat on the US Supreme Court.

And see how much extra sweat, time and work it took him to earn his achievements as a result of affirmative action policies.

He's obviously a highly gifted and qualified individual who has achieved a great station in life.

There are millions of others, however, whose station does not afford them the media microphone that Justice Thomas's does, and millions (of all races and genders) whose lives have been destroyed in one way or another by these insidious and discredited social engineering schemes.

13 posted on 10/21/2007 4:10:22 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: socialismisinsidious
I heard a caller into a radio show one time saying employers often don’t want of hire minorities b/c if the worker messes up they can’t be fired. Why would anyone want to hire someone that they can’t fire if the person ends up being a bad employee? Affirmative action is racists and as most liberal ideas generates the exact opposite of its stated intent (Jim Quinn, 104.7)

I understand that the sentiments you express are extremely common among employers, and are entirely justified.  Such situations interfere with the natural market processes of Capitalism and end up hurting all concerned.

14 posted on 10/21/2007 4:16:52 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: School of Rational Thought
It seems a bit disengenuous for the other affirmative graduates to lay claim to how well “they” have done as if affimative actions stopped at graduation.

It would seem that at the their time of graduation there were few black Yale candidates to from which corporate affirmative action programs to choose.

Agreed on all counts.  The cancer of affirmative action exists throughout Government and industry and is frequently cited in early retirements, job frustrations and related family problems.

I have known several police officers who simply got fed up and stopped taking the Sergeant's promotional exam because they kept being passed over by dramatically lower-scoring minority candidates.

15 posted on 10/21/2007 4:21:39 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

There is something to that, but it was there before EEO, etc.


16 posted on 10/21/2007 4:23:40 PM PDT by RightWhale (50 years later we're still sitting on the ground)
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To: Stoat

You can always judge an article by whom they give the last quote to. Enough said.


17 posted on 10/21/2007 4:28:45 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: eyedigress
According to him the latter would apply. He was a very smart man whom took his time on decision making.

It's very sad when a talented person of any race is forced to spend the autumn of their lives wondering how much more they could have accomplished had it not been for racial laws that affected them in one way or another.

There are millions out there who have been harmed, although most never dare to mention it because in today's climate they would be instantly tagged as 'a racist' when in reality it is these unjust laws that are racist.

18 posted on 10/21/2007 4:30:29 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

Let’s not try to make capitalism as a purely meritocraic process. Family and other connections help even Yale graduates get a leg up on the competition. Thomas doesn’t mention this, but his lack of any such connection probably hurt him as much as the downplaying of his degree. He was fortunate in that Danforth was taken with him. IAC, Richard Nixon had a similar experience. When he graduated from Duke Law School , no New York firm offered him a job despite his excellent record. Too bad: he would have made an excellent corporate lawyer. His background was almost as deprived as Thomas’.


19 posted on 10/21/2007 4:34:32 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Puddleglum
You can always judge an article by whom they give the last quote to. Enough said.

Really? 

The last quote in the article:

William Coleman says it's time for Thomas to move on.

"You did OK, guy," he said.

So, your feeling is that because Clarence Thomas has achieved a great station in life, he should simply forget about the injustices that he faced while getting there?

Should the people who did not achieve a great station in life also forget about similar injustices?

20 posted on 10/21/2007 4:34:54 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat
He felt strongly enough about it to tell me. He accepted it but didn’t like it. He was a First Class Citizen and could handle the responsibility just fine. I will always admire his perseverance to make it big. He did.
21 posted on 10/21/2007 4:35:34 PM PDT by eyedigress
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To: Stoat

I have a Latino attorney friend who has had to fight this battle repeatedly over the years. He HATES affirmative action (and would have easily been accepted at his law school without it — speaks several languages fluently, is brilliant, extremely good public speaker, etc., etc.) His final solution: start his own practice, where he is doing VERY well.

On the other hand, both he and I have worked with sub-standard minority attorneys and engineers who were admitted to their schools and even at least partially got their degree purely because of their race. Those people REALLY tick my buddy off, because THEY are the reason he has had to put up with this invisible (and sometimes not-so-invisible) racism.

In sum, affirmative action has MAJOR negative consequences and helps to keep racism alive. Unitended consequences, or completely intended by the libs (i.e., keep the race issue alive as an issue)? Hard to tell, probably a bit of both...


22 posted on 10/21/2007 4:36:46 PM PDT by piytar
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To: RobbyS
Let’s not try to make capitalism as a purely meritocraic process.

I don't see any way to make it so, people being what they are, and I'm not sure that I would even want to in my vision of a perfect world.

That being said, I think that our system of laws is something that we have more control over than some other things in this universe, and when an obvious injustice is identified I think that it's beneficial to analyze it, learn from it and work toward correcting it.

23 posted on 10/21/2007 4:40:57 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

The major oil companies struggled to find qualified Blacks to promote under affirmative action. It would not have been surprising for a young, bright, highly educated Black man to rise much faster than his white counter part.


24 posted on 10/21/2007 4:42:10 PM PDT by Eva
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To: boomop1; All

I greatly admire Justice Thomas. I know what he means. I hope he is not as bitter as often portrayed. I have heard him laugh and he mixes well with law students and the groups he speaks to.

I guess I became highly disillusioned with so-called affirmative action when I learned that the Black student quotas were largely filled with Black student from affluent families, the type of families which have the sophistication to fill out all the forms, know where to get the forms, say the right things, etc. That really burned me when I considered the poor Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and anyone else who came from less privilege and caring who were still basically stuck in their caste, but these elitist schools got to feel good about themselves for helping the “downtrodden”. Makes you sick, and would equally make Dr. ML King Jr. sick because he envisioned a color-blind society.


25 posted on 10/21/2007 4:47:48 PM PDT by shalom aleichem
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To: All

Oh, and I meant to add that Thomas should have been admitted to Yale on his merits. He was an Honors grad of Holy Cross. But he never claims that he got in on his own. The interviewer will charge with with being an affirmative action admittee and he does not argue with then. Perhaps he knows that Yale would be all too happy to challenges him. Sad.


26 posted on 10/21/2007 4:51:35 PM PDT by shalom aleichem
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To: Stoat

I don’t think that Judge Thomas’ critics here have actually read his book in its entirety.


27 posted on 10/21/2007 4:55:20 PM PDT by Radix (When I became a man, I put away childish things)
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To: Radix
I don’t think that Judge Thomas’ critics here have actually read his book in its entirety.

I confess that I have not either, although I hope to one day.  He's a brilliant man whose life lessons are worth hearing about from his own pen, unfiltered by the Left.

28 posted on 10/21/2007 5:04:54 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: shield
so very many have said the same thing, that affirmative action had reduced the value of their hard work and achievement.

OM...Clarence Thomas is an outstanding man. Look at how the left did an injustice to him.

Agreed, and I would suggest that similar injustices in varying degree have been needlessly inflicted upon millions of other people as well, of all races.

29 posted on 10/21/2007 5:08:09 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

Some classmates say Thomas — who was raised poor in Georgia and stood out on campus in his overalls and heavy black boots — faced a tougher transition than black students who came from middle-class or privileged backgrounds.
________________________

There probably is some truth to this. My father, who was white, came from a Southern family, middle class, but still too poor to send him to college. He went to Berea College in Kentucky which offers full tuition scholarships to all its students. When he got to the University of Chicago for graduate school, he felt decidedly provinicial, and that his education hadn’t been up to his classmates’.


30 posted on 10/21/2007 5:35:02 PM PDT by heartwood
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To: Stoat

Much of the book is about the confirmation


31 posted on 10/21/2007 6:32:57 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: piytar

Think about what you said....and affirmative action and med schools.....kinda makes ya sick, doesn’t it?


32 posted on 10/21/2007 6:35:22 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character! Being Coddled Destroys Character!)
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To: Stoat

I’m almost finished with his book now. It has been quite an eye-opener. Among many other revelations is the poverty he had to struggle with well into his career.

The Gen Y-ers would be shocked, shocked, to learn that (among other things) he was still paying off his student loans into his early time as Supreme Court justice.

He did a stretch as a corporate counsel for Monsanto in the seventies after his days working for then Attorney-General John Danforth in Missouri. He found it unbearably boring and routine and dared to slip out of the “golden handcuffs” to come to Washington to work for EEOC under Reagan. He had to live like a grad student for years to put his son through private school.


33 posted on 10/21/2007 7:39:14 PM PDT by sinanju
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To: Stoat

One of the things that I learned from Thomas’ book was that he rejected an opportunity to be a student at Harvard, and then later accepted a slot at Yale.


34 posted on 10/21/2007 7:42:19 PM PDT by Radix (When I became a man, I put away childish things)
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To: Stoat

This guy needs to leave the status of victim, that he clings to as a minority, by becoming an American.


35 posted on 10/21/2007 7:43:36 PM PDT by monkeycard (There is no such thing as too much ammo.)
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To: RobbyS; Stoat
"Much of the book is about the confirmation

I do not agree, but certainly the confirmation process was integral.

I learned more about the likes of Joe Biden when it came to that episode than I did anything else, because of just a few comments.

I found the book to be more about how he got to the confirmation hearings.

Justice Thomas insisted throughout the book that he was never really interested in being on the Court.

More he was interested in his name and his integrity/honor.

36 posted on 10/21/2007 7:49:37 PM PDT by Radix (When I became a man, I put away childish things)
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To: eyedigress

Perhaps to help with the local political corruption in Chicago?


37 posted on 10/21/2007 7:50:21 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: Stoat
...so very many have said the same thing, that affirmative action had reduced the value of their hard work and achievement.

Affirmative action has the effect of discounting the efforts of the achievers...while enriching the non-achievers.

It cheats blacks like Thomas...in order to benefit blacks like Bob Herbert.

38 posted on 10/21/2007 7:52:20 PM PDT by okie01
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To: Radix

The confirmation hearings are the climax of the book. About Biden, yeah, two-faced. About Yale, he was betrayed. No,he should not condescend to let them pretend to do him honor.


39 posted on 10/21/2007 8:10:37 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Stoat
Some of his black classmates say

The same old journalistic "some say".

How about "Some of his classmates that never made to the Supreme Court..."

40 posted on 10/21/2007 9:12:28 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Stoat
Coleman's Yale roommate, Bill Clinton, appointed him general counsel...perhaps Coleman can't understand Justice Thomas's "grudge" because he's never experienced being passed over for a good position - having friends in high places is an even better way than affirmative action to end up climbing the ladder when you just might not be the best-qualified candidate......
41 posted on 10/21/2007 9:27:14 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: yoe

One thing that really pisses Thomas off is any suggestion that he is the ‘black’ SCOTUS justice, or represents the ‘black’ community.

Some idiot at some university I forget now did this about ten years ago as Thomas was being introduced at a commencement speech. He rolled his eyes and shook his head as the introduction was being read.


42 posted on 10/21/2007 9:31:39 PM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: Stoat
No, you can tell a writer's bias by who they give the last quote to. In this case, it was the anti-Thomas guy. I am a big Thomas fan myself.
43 posted on 10/22/2007 3:32:28 AM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: Stoat
Thomas has declined to have his portrait hung at Yale Law School along with other graduates who became U.S. Supreme Court justices. An earlier book, "Supreme Discomfort," by Washington Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, portrays Thomas as still upset some Yale professors opposed his confirmation during hearings marked by Anita Hill's allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her.

So they jumped on him like the Duke 88 did on the lacrosse players, assuming he was guilty. In his case, because they opposed a conservative on the Supreme Court. In the Duke 88, it was because the alleged perps were white and the alleged victim was black. Both times it was liberal knee jerk response.

I'm glad he didn't give Yale a portrait. The school doesn't deserve to trade on Justice Thomas's good name for their own purposes.

44 posted on 10/22/2007 8:30:57 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: monkeycard
This guy needs to leave the status of victim, that he clings to as a minority, by becoming an American.

It seems to me, he's recounting his experience so as to comment on the difficulties that he, as a black man, had as a result of the social experiment of affirmative action. I have no problem with someone letting others know of his experiences, and, according to the article, those of some other black men in similar situations.

Of course William Coleman didn't have a problem; he was keyed into the top jobs because of his relationship with Bill Clinton; the old 'it's not what you know, it's WHO you know'. It' helps a lot when your old roommate is first the Attorney General, then Governor, of Arkansas, then President of the United States.

45 posted on 10/22/2007 8:42:57 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
It seems to me...

Having read this again, I agree with you. Thanks for the feedback.
46 posted on 10/23/2007 10:28:03 AM PDT by monkeycard (There is no such thing as too much ammo.)
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To: Stoat
This seems strongly to be a case of Thomas blaming something else besides himself for his initial failures. Maybe interviewers simply were not impressed with him and gave no consideration to AA. What was Thomas’s GPA coming out of law school? Would he have even made it into Yale if not for AA?
47 posted on 10/23/2007 2:14:47 PM PDT by Shade2
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To: Shade2

Have you read his book? I just finished it over the weekend and Thomas never really had any “failures” in his life other then personal (divorcing his first wife, and leaving the seminary as he said he did). He greaduated somewhere in the middle of his Yale Law class. He’s been completely successful in everything he’s done in his professional life.


48 posted on 10/29/2007 5:55:07 AM PDT by Terrence DoGood
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To: Stoat
“which culminated in a Black Panther Party trial in New Haven that nearly caused a large-scale riot.”

With that bit of hyperbole, I quit reading. Why not simply "a riot?" How about "3 people protesting on a corner?" Nope. We almost had a "large-scale" riot.

49 posted on 10/29/2007 6:06:37 AM PDT by toddlintown (Five bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
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