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News Busters
Newsbusters
1 Jul 2023
Alex Christy


NextImg:Mystal Smears Thomas As 'A Mutilated Version Of A Black Justice'

Joy Reid, the eponymous host of MSNBC's The ReidOut, welcomed The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal onto her Friday show to recap the week’s Supreme Court decisions and naturally, incendiary hot takes soon followed including that Justice Clarence Thomas is a “mutilated version of a black justice” who is his wife’s puppet.

When discussing the downfall of affirmative action, a confused Reid recalled, “[Thomas] cites Plessy a lot. I thought Plessy was like verboten, like nobody wants to talk about Plessy v. Ferguson.”

Before anyone could ask who objects to talking about Plessy, Reid continued:

And at one point, make this make sense for me please, you're a lawyer. In his concurrence, he claims the that Freedmen’s Bureau Act, which created the Freedmen’s Bureau, you know, that was supposed to rematriculate former enslaved people, who all of whom, 100 percent of whom were black, back into society, he said oh, that was a colorblind statute. How could the Freedmen's Bureau, Elie Mystal, be a colorblind statute? Make that make sense. 

Since Reid won’t quote the actual passage, here is Thomas in his own words: “Importantly, however, the Acts applied to freedmen (and refugees), a formally race-neutral category, not blacks writ large." 

As for Mystal, he immediately resorted to smear tactics, “It's colorblind if you're like Clarence Thomas and your whole ideological perspective involves gouging out your own eyes. Like-- and that's what Thomas is. Like he is such a mutilated version of a black justice that he is able to make these proclamations that, well, just fly in the face of law and facts, right?”

Mystal then proceeded to make the evidence-free claim that Thomas has something personal against his colleague, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, “One of the other things you really realize when you read through his concurrence is just how angry he is at Ketanji Brown Jackson for having the temerity to be another black person on the Supreme Court. He apparently thought he got to be the only one. He thought that he had pulled up the ladder for everybody else, right?”

After accusing Thomas of throwing “a tantrum at Jackson,” Mystal tried to claim that “Jackson is making the actual originalist argument in the affirmative action case. She is the one pointing out that the 13th-- 14th Amendment was done explicitly for racial restorative policies like affirmative action, which as I said yesterday, the first time that happened in this country was during Reconstruction.”

In her dissent, Jackson invoked “lived experiences,” which are a lot of things, but one thing they are not is a substitute for dispassionate legal arguments, especially not originalist ones.

Regardless, Mystal returned to the idea that Thomas has gouged out his own eyes and added that he is willingly his wife’s puppet:

So this is the history that Clarence Thomas ignores, and that's why he's so -- and that's why he's so fabulist about all of the stuff that's in his concurrence. He just—he’s just, like, plucked out his own eyes and he doesn't want to see anything that Ms. Ginni tells him he shouldn't be able to see. That's where he is in his head space right now. 

Clarence Thomas has been very vocal about how he views affirmative action and how it diminished his and other’s successes and perpetrates racial stereotypes, but Mystal ignored all that so he could get a few cheap laughs from Reid.

This segment was sponsored by Amazon.

Here is a transcript for the June 30 show:

MSNBC The ReidOut

6/30/2023

7:07 PM ET

JOY REID: In Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in the affirmative action decision, first of all, he cites Plessy a lot. I thought Plessy was like verboten, like nobody wants to talk about Plessy v. Ferguson. He sure does. And at one point, make this make sense for me please, you're a lawyer. In his concurrence, he claims the that Freedmen’s Bureau Act, which created the Freedmen’s Bureau, you know, that was supposed to rematriculate former enslaved people, who all of whom, 100 percent of whom were black, back into society, he said oh, that was a colorblind statute. How could the Freedmen's Bureau, Elie Mystal, be a colorblind statute? Make that make sense. 

ELIE MYSTAL:  It's colorblind if you're like Clarence Thomas and your whole ideological perspective involves gouging out your own eyes. Like-- and that's what Thomas is. Like he is such a mutilated version of a black justice that he is able to make these proclamations that, well, just fly in the face of law and facts, right?

One of the other things you really realize when you read through his concurrence is just how angry he is at Ketanji Brown Jackson for having the temerity to be another black person on the Supreme Court. He apparently thought he got to be the only one. He thought that he had pulled up the ladder for everybody else, right? 

And so he's really like, he basically throws a tantrum at Jackson, and why? Because Jackson is making the actual originalist argument in the affirmative action case. She is the one pointing out that the 13th-- 14th Amendment was done explicitly for racial restorative policies like affirmative action, which as I said yesterday, the first time that happened in this country was during Reconstruction.

So this is the history that Clarence Thomas ignores, and that's why he's so -- and that's why he's so fabulist about all of the stuff that's in his concurrence. He just—he’s just, like, plucked out his own eyes and he doesn't want to see anything that Ms. Ginni tells him he shouldn't be able to see. That's where he is in his head space right now.