Missouri Board of Education member Mike Jones is quite upset that the St. Louis Bar Association invited Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas to give the keynote speech for its annual Law Day Celebration.
In his column for The St. Louis American, Jones unleashes a string of hateful remarks about Thomas without apology. “Why invite Clarence Thomas to St. Louis for law day?” Jones asks. Of course, he proceeds to answer his own question.
But first, Jones establishes how much he despises the Supreme Court justice and how he uses black Americans’ views of Thomas as a barometer of their mental health status:
One of the criteria I use to measure the mental and emotional health of black Americans is their position on Thomas. So on behalf of all self-aware, emotionally stable and politically woke black folks let me give some feedback on BAMSL's choice of a keynote speaker.
And then Jones unloads:
All lawyers are familiar with the term “a legal fiction.” The notion that America is a country of laws and not people is a legal fiction that has no basis in the reality of the black experience. America was founded by white male landowners for their benefit. The American legal system was designed to legitimize and maintain a socioeconomic order that suppressed black liberty for the benefit of landed white male privilege…
The same U.S. Supreme Court that gave us Brown v. Board of Education also gave us Plessy v. Ferguson. What changed was the people in the robes. So let's talk about the people who have been members of that august institution. There have been scoundrels and the epitome of legal integrity, fools and legal geniuses, reactionary Neanderthals and prescient progressives…
Then there's Clarence Thomas – a breathing example of what the evil of American racism looks like when it metastasizes in a black body.
His legal rationalizations for the political and economic subjugation of the least of those in America, especially if they're black, is the judicial manifestation of his self-loathing. The fact that he sits in the seat once occupied by Thurgood Marshall is a blasphemy and the ultimate insult to the black community.
Jones held nothing back, asking what the 5,600 members of the bar association were thinking when they chose Thomas:
Given St. Louis’ uneven history of racial progress and its very stressed racial environment, you would think someone would have said, "Who could we bring in that could move the needle in the right direction?” If that question got asked and the answer was Clarence Thomas, well, you can't fix stupid.
Jones then complained the bar’s Board of Governors has only two blacks out of 15 and since 1873, has only elected one black board president. But back to the Thomas bashing:
What troubles me more than a speech by a black political zombie is the silence from a sector of the legal community that I thought would be disturbed by the choice of Thomas for an event like Law Day. I'm talking about African-American lawyers.
“If black lawyers remain silent,” Jones continued, “they help to legitimize the judicial philosophy of Clarence Thomas, which is antithetical to the wellbeing of the black community.”
As noted, Jones serves on the state board of education, the St. Louis American editorial board, and “has held senior policy positions in St. Louis city and county government.”