masthead-highres

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Senator Ken Salazar: Sending "Abominations" to the Back of the Bus

I don't know Senator Ken Salazar of the otherwise great state of Colorado personally, but I think it likely he's a racialist.

For those who don't know, that's someone who, using the Dictionary.com definition, puts "an emphasis on race or racial considerations, as in determining policy or interpreting events."

Sort of like a racist, except some definitions of the word "racialist" leave open the possibility that the person means well, but just can't get past race.

On a good day. Other days, they don't mean well.

Look at this Rocky Mountain News story:
Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar on Wednesday called U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an "abomination" compared with the late Justice Thurgood Marshall...

...Salazar's comment about Thomas came during a telephone news conference Wednesday in which he said he would not be part of any possible Democratic filibuster to stop a vote on the confirmation of Samuel Alito as a member of the court.

Salazar was asked whether he would have filibustered any of the current Supreme Court justices. He replied that he hadn't subjected any of them to the kind of in-depth analysis he did with Alito. Then he continued:

"There are members of the U.S. Supreme Court that I very much disagree with. Clarence Thomas, for example, I think is an abomination when you contrast him to the leadership and principles of someone like Thurgood Marshall. I've been in front of the court and I know the justices..."
Notice that Senator Salazar doesn't point to any of Justice Thomas's decisions or public statements when calling Thomas an "abomination."

No, rather than think of the fine points of Constitutional interpretation -- which is, after all, the job of a Supreme Court justice and thus the matter on which a Justice's competency surely rests -- Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado thought first of race.

Maybe Senator Salazar would like to claim that it is just a coincidence the he compared Justice Thomas to the only other black Justice. (Feel free to write, Senator.)

Maybe Senator Salazar would like to claim that he would have singled out Justice Thomas even if Justice Thomas was white. (This blog's email address is [email protected], Senator.)

Maybe Senator Salazar, if asked without first being given time to have a staffer look up the answer for him, can explain the difference in judicial philosophy between Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia -- the distinction great enough to get the black man labeled an "abomination" while the white man is left uncriticized.

Or maybe Senator Salazar could explain, without a staffer helping, the difference in judicial philosophy between Chief Justice John Roberts, who Senator Salazar voted to confirm, and Justice Thomas, the "abomination." (Remember, Senator, you have to do this without mentioning that Justice Thomas is a black man.)

I would need a mind-reading machine to prove it, but I believe this is what Senator Salazar, in his heart of hearts, thinks: "Justice Thomas is an abomination because he is black and holds views different from the views I and other mostly-white liberals believe he should hold. Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts are allowed to hold views of their own choosing because they are white men, but Thomas should not, because Thomas is black."

Didn't some other Senator say something recently about Congress being "run like a plantation"? Maybe she was thinking of Senator Salazar's views. It is anyone's guess what confidences Senators share in the cloakroom.

Project 21 has a statement out about Salazar's comment. I think Salazar got off easy with them.

Addendum: Senator Salazar isn't the only U.S. Senator sending Justice Thomas to the back of the bus.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:56 PM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research