Supreme Conflict

A couple of days ago Dennis Prager conducted a fascinating interview with Jan Crawford Greenberg, author of Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Greenberg, the Supreme Court correspondent for ABC News (and other media outlets, as well), was as good an interview subject as I have ever heard on a podcast. She was well spoken, full of energy and obviously quite well informed. But more interesting, she offered a deep knowledge of the inner workings of the Supreme Court that, to say the least, go against the grain of MSM conventional wisdom.

Just note these insights.:

1) She says that Justice Thomas, so often maligned as Scalia's lap dog, is the most independent justice on the court and has been from day one. In fact, she tells a story of how Thomas found himself alone in his position on a particular case on his very first day. He wrote his opinion and over the following couple of weeks convinced Scalia and Rehnquist to come over to his view. Over the years, she says that he has led Scalia to his view many more times than the opposite.

2) Again regarding Thomas, she seems truly mortified by the way Thomas has been treated by certain members of the court, particularly the staffs of the liberal justices. Apparently for quite a few years, it was considered acceptable by these people to approach Thomas as someone who didn't "deserve" to be on the court. For all intents and purposes, they treated him like a charity case who hadn't earned his right to there. Of course these are the same people who criticized him for his affirmative action stance, who maintain that they are "color blind", and who are "horrified" by anything remotely resembling racism. Yet they have openly called Thomas stupid (as did Harry Reid recently), despite the obvious quality of Thomas' opinions. The hypocrisy is palpable, and made worse by the fact that (in Greenberg's opinion) Thomas possesses one of the keener minds on the court.

3) Greenberg apparently delves deeply into Bush v. Gore in her book. In the interview she describes how the limitations on "states rights" that the conservatives used as a basis for their final ruling in the case actually originated with the court's liberals. This is fascinating, as the liberal media meme at the time was that the court's conservatives were demonstrating hypocrisy by using the "states rights" as they did.

There are several other very interesting points made in the interview. But I came away with two distinct impressions. The first was that the book would be a very interesting read. The other was a certain shame in how poorly Justice Thomas has been treated. We have long known that to be a conservative woman or minority seems to offer the left open license to practice bigotry seen nowhere else in society. It is just shocking to hear it described so clearly.

Update: Here is Thomas Sowell's review of Supreme Conflict. He really likes it. Can't do better than that.