His confirmation was tainted with accusations of sexual harassment of a female attorney - while presiding over no less than the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
He is the only black judge on the U.S. Supreme Court - it is relevant, as you will see below in this post.
He is also the only judge who did not pronounce one word during oral arguments for 10 years - until the death of Judge Antonin Scalia whose decisions Judge Thomas always supported and joined with.
Therefore, Judge Thomas's post-Scalia opinions are most interesting.
I've analyzed so far three opinions of Judge Thomas made in June of 2016 - two dissents and one majority opinion.
Dissent in Williams v Pennsylvania - Judge Thomas opposed a reversal of a decision reinstating death penalty in a case where one of the judges participating in reinstatement, who was the Chief judge of the top appellate Court of the State of Pennsylvania and who killed 4 habeas petitions of the condemned defendant, was actually the prosecutor in the same case who made the decision seeking the death penalty and whose subordinates obtained the conviction by fraud, withholding of Brady material, eliminating black jurors from the case (the defendant was black, and a victim of sexual abuse since the age of 13 at the hands of the person who he killed when he turned 18) and repeated solicitation of perjury.
In Williams v Pennsylvania, Justice Thomas claimed in his dissent, among other things, that:
- when judge Ronald Castille (who was the DA authorizing the seeking of the death penalty of Terrance Williams) presided over habeas corpus proceedings, that was not "the same" case,
- the post-conviction proceedings - even where Judge/prosecutor Castille reinstated the death penalty he sought as a prosecutor - do not provide the same level of due process as criminal proceedings (even though criminal conviction was obtained by fraud by DA Castille's office), and
- common law does not justify reversal of a death penalty reinstated by judge-prosecutor.
- A black judge who would have been a slave had his ancestors not been liberated during the Civil War,
- whose whole life and career would have been impossible without passing of the 13th and 14th Amendments,
- rules in favor of upholding reinstatement of death penalty against a black defendant
- who was convicted and sentenced to death because the white prosecutor's office excluded 14 out of 16 black jurors from the jury pool, withheld exculpatory evidence, elicited perjured testimony from their star witness on two key issues, and, where the prosecutor became an appellate judge refused to recuse from the defendant's case - FOUR times and reinstated his death penalty when another court reversed and remanded it based on testimony about misconduct of prosecutor/judge's own office.
All in all, Judge Thomas would have left the death penalty intact, allowing the white prosecutor to first obtain the death penalty, through criminal conduct of his office, get elected based on that death penalty conviction, and then block reversal and habeas corpus petition as a judge.
Such behavior of a prosecutor/judge does not, in Judge Thomas' view, create an appearance of impropriety and does not constitute judicial or prosecutorial misconduct in violation of the 14th Amendment.
1) conduct an illegal stop;
2) obtain, through the illegal stop, information about identity of the stopped individual;
3) check that identity through the electronic system verifying whether the stopped individual has outstanding warrants, including for unpaid traffic and parking tickets, and
4) then arrest the individual and legitimize the illegal stop by the later-discovered outstanding warrant, and legitimize the results of the search.
Judge Thomas indicated that the police officer was not engaged in "flagrant misconduct", and that circumstances of the case are "attenuated", thus "curing" the initial illegality of the stop.
That was a criminal case.
The end justifies the means.