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Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

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Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby manoletters » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:02 pm

It's interesting that there seems to be no test, put into actual practice, of whether or not a sitting US Supreme Court justice is competent to hold that high office. I question Clarence Thomas's competence, to say nothing of his character. Many others also have their doubts, with ample justification.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the case itself, (a capital case out of Louisiana) which may have elicited a hearty guffaw from "Justice" Thomas, centers around the ominous possibility that some SCOTUS justices may be entertaining thoughts of overturning, or dramatically altering the ruling handed down in 1963's landmark Gideon v. Wainwright.
"Gideon" had the effect of mandating that states provide legal counsel to defendants accused of felony offenses. Prior to Gideon, the state of Florida, whence the case originated, only mandated that an attorney be appointed to indigent defendants in capital cases. Several other states were equally negligent in providing defendants their constitutionally-guaranteed right to counsel. I shiver when I imagine an American legal landscape devoid of the progressive results finally obtained by the historic case brought by Clarence Earl Gideon.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/1 ... 73316.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/opini ... rials&_r=0
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Re: Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby snoqueen » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:11 pm

I've thought for a long time he was not doing what he was selected to do, which includes engaging with the lawyers bringing cases before the Court instead of just lying there on his leather recliner all afternoon. Unfortunately there is no mechanism short of impeachment (I guess) to remove him from that leather chair so we just have to put up with it. I too thought his choice of a time to break his seven-year silence was odd, but if his overall agenda is breaking apart any traces of progressive decision-making by the court over the last century, he was probably overcome with glee.
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Re: Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:09 am

Based on the Huffington article, it would seem Thomas broke his long silence because he saw an opportunity to poke fun at his Alma Mater. While indicative of Thomas's failures as a Supreme Court Justice, I'm not sure it says anything about his actual feelings on the case.

The case in question doesn't actually appear to be about right to legal counsel so much as right to a speedy trial. There doesn't seem to be any debate that the defendant received legal counsel, but that he had to wait an inordinate amount of time (in jail) before going to trial, due to no defense lawyer being assigned him (due to state funding cuts).
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Re: Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby manoletters » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:28 am

Well, Francis, perhaps this isn't the most comprehensive response, but perhaps you've heard the following legal maxim: "Justice delayed is justice denied."
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Re: Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby manoletters » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:30 am

And, from the NY Times editorial I cited: “'The only possible remedy' for this kind of violation, the Supreme Court has said in earlier cases, is to set aside the conviction against the defendant and dismiss the case. Ruling otherwise would mean gutting the court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright and rendering the right to counsel all but meaningless."
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Re: Clarence Thomas's hearty guffaw, or "The Mummy Speaks!"

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:28 am

manoletters wrote:Well, Francis, perhaps this isn't the most comprehensive response, but perhaps you've heard the following legal maxim: "Justice delayed is justice denied."


Which is probably why the SC is hearing the defendant's appeal.

manoletters wrote:And, from the NY Times editorial I cited: “'The only possible remedy' for this kind of violation, the Supreme Court has said in earlier cases, is to set aside the conviction against the defendant and dismiss the case. Ruling otherwise would mean gutting the court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright and rendering the right to counsel all but meaningless."


Key word: Editorial, meaning opinion. In this case the writer seems to think the case should be decided based on Gideon, but Gideon is not mentioned in the oral arguments of either the petitioner or the respondent. Feel free to read the actual transcripts of the case

The SC can't actually rule either way without hearing the case. So far their's no evidence that the court is discussing Gideon in relationship to this case at all.
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