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MICHAEL BARONE: Obamacare and the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas | Campaign 2012

August 31, 2011

Obamacare and the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas

By Michael Barone

August 30, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas features in a recent New Yorker piece by Jeffrey Toobin on Supreme Court jurisprudence, titled “Partners” and subtitled “Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?”

In the glossy pages of the New Yorker, in graceful prose and with good reporting, the dreams and nightmares of the admirers of President Obama and his policies lay exposed.

The dreams include Ryan Lizza’s report last April in which he quoted an Obama adviser saying the president’s policy on Libya was “leading from behind.” This week, as Tripoli seemed about to fall, the magazine’s editor David Remnick hailed Obama’s “calculated modesty.”

The nightmare appeared in last week’s issue, in Jeffrey Toobin’s lengthy article on Supreme Court jurisprudence, titled “Partners” and subtitled “Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?”

It’s possible to read Toobin’s article as a partisan hit job, echoing the demands of 74 Democratic House members that Justice Thomas recuse himself from sitting on a case challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare because of his wife’s involvement in the Tea Party movement.

Never mind that this is a standard neither Toobin nor the Democrats apply to other public officials with spouses active in public affairs — and that they’re not asking Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself because of her work in the Justice Department on the issue.

The bulk of the article is worthy of attention because Toobin, despite his obvious distaste for Thomas’ views, takes him seriously as a judicial thinker and pathfinder.

via Obamacare and the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas | Campaign 2012.

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