Senate Democratic Leader Blasts Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democratic Leader Blasts Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 6, 2004

Washington, DC ( — In an interview over the weekend, incoming Senate Democratic Majority Leader blasted pro-life Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and said he should not be elevated to the chief justice position.

Leading Senate Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, during an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, called Thomas "an embarrassment."

"I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court," Reid said. "I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don’t think he’s done a good job as a Supreme Court Justice."

Thomas, who is pro-life, has been considered a likely nominee for the Chief Justice position should the current top justice, William Rehnquist, step down from the position.

Rehnquist has been missing from the court’s proceedings since it began it’s new term. He recently underwent a tracheotomy, a surgical procedure in which a tube is inserted into the throat to aid in breathing.

In his comments, Reid may have signaled a harbinger of things to come, such as more contentious filibusters planned for Bush’s pro-life judicial picks.

“We have a situation where, during the past four years … we have approved 207 federal judges and turned down 10. The president should be happy with what he’s gotten," Reid said.

In the "Meet the Press" interview, Reid admonished Republicans and told them not to change Senate rules to prevent filibusters on judicial nominees.

Reid also said President Bush should consult with Senate Democrats before making any Supreme Court judicial nominations.

Reid was less critical of Justice Antonin Scalia, another pro-life judge on the nation’s top court, and indicated he would be more open to Scalia running the Supreme Court.

"I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy," Reid said. "And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reasons for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute."

In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion by a 7-2 vote. The current court backs abortion by a 6-3 margin.

Thomas is the second African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was appointed by former President George Bush in 1991 following the retirement of pro-abortion Justice Thurgood Marshall.