Senator Biden was the first questioner. Instead of the softball questions hed promised to ask, he threw a beanball straight at my head, quoting from a speech Id given four years earlier at the Pacific Legal Foundation and challenging me to defend what Id said. I find attractive the arguments of scholars such as Stephen Macedo, who defend an activist Supreme Court that would strike down laws restricting property rights. That caught me off guard, and I had no recollection of making so atypical a statement, which shook me up even more. Now, it would seem to me what you were talking about, Senator Biden went on to say, is you find it attractive the fact that they are activists and they would like to strike down existing laws that impact on restricting the use of property rights, because you know, that is what they write about.pp 235-236 of "My Grandfather's Son" by Clarence Thomas
Since I didnt remember making the statement in the first place, I didnt know how to respond to it. All I could say in reply was that it has been some time since I have read Professor Macedo But I dont believe that in my writings I have indicated that we should have an activist Supreme Court. It was, I knew, a weak answer. Fortunately, though, the young lawyers who had helped prepare me for the hearing had loaded all of my speeches into a computer and at the first break in the proceedings they looked this one up. The senator, they found, had wrenched my words out of context. I looked at the text and saw that the passage hed read out loud had been immediately followed by two other sentences: But the libertarian argument overlooks the place of the Supreme Court in a scheme of separation of powers. One does not strengthen self-government and the rule of law by having the non-democratic branch of the government make policy. The point Id been making was the opposite of the one that Senator Biden claimed I had made.
Biden was, and is, a quintessential ass.