Did Clarence Thomas Really Say This?

New Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, like former justice Roy Moore, is a bit of a controversial figure. He is, as Feddie from Southern Appeal put it, a Roy Moore clone. After being elected to that position, he had two different non-binding ceremonial swearings-in, one by Roy Moore and one by Clarence Thomas. This report on those ceremonies contains what I think is a stunning claim by Parker:

Many stood and applauded former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as he walked to the stage to administer the oath to Parker. Moore's action was ceremonial, since Parker took his formal oath of office Thursday before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in Washington. Parker said Thomas told him a judge should be evaluated by whether he faithfully upholds his oath to God, not to the people, to the state or to the Constitution.

Now I've defended Thomas against the often unfair accusations that have been made against him. I disagree strongly with him on many issues in judicial theory, but I think he's a very bright man with a strongly principled jurisprudence, even when it is flat wrong. I admire many things about him. But if he really did tell Parker that a judge should be evaluated by whether he upholds "his oath to God" not his oath to support the Constitution, then I've got a major problem with that. Oaths sworn to gods have no bearing whatsoever on a judge's performance, unless of course they interfere with the rule of law, and putting one's religious beliefs higher than one's duty to follow the rule of law is clearly such an interference.

It is exactly this kind of extremist nonsense that made Roy Moore refuse to follow a lawful Federal court order, because he believed that "god's law" was above the authority of the court that ruled against him. It absolutely cannot be tolerated in our judges and, in my view, is grounds for immediate impeachment. When you are sworn in as a judge, you are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not to throw the Constitution out the window if you think your God demands you to. If a Muslim judge said that he thought Allah's law superceded the laws of the nation, he would be out of office so fast his head would spin. And that is why Moore being removed from office in Alabama was absolutely the right thing to do.

I'd sure like to hear the media jump on this and find out if it's true. Did anyone else hear Thomas say this? Perhaps someone should ask Thomas directly if he said it. If he didn't, he should publicly deny it and call Parker a liar. If he did say it, then we've got a hell of a mess on our hands.

More like this

Feddie has a follow up on the story I referred to yesterday, where Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker had said that Clarence Thomas had told him that judges should be evaluated on their oath to God rather than their oath to the people or the Constitution. His follow up includes the actual…
I don't know what the deal is with Alabama judges, but Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court seems to want to follow in Roy Moore's footsteps. After a recent case that he had recused himself from went against what he'd hoped, he wrote an op-ed piece blasting his fellow justices for "surrender[ing…
On Wednesday, Judge Moore's attorneys tried to convince a special session of the Alabama State Supreme Court to overturn his removal from office and return him to his position as Chief Justice. He was removed for malfeasance after refusing to follow a federal court order that he remove the 5000…
Judge William Pryor has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal responding to recent arguments from Justice O'Connor concerning attacks on the judiciary (and perhaps to Judge Jones from the Dover trial as well, he has been saying much the same thing O'Connor has in speeches recently). Orin Kerr thinks…

I, too, disagree with much of Justice Thomas's jurisprudence. But nothing I know of him leads me to think he would say such a thing. It would, I think, be completely out of character for him. I hope there is some development on this story.

I doubt Justice Thomas made that comment as well. And I certainly have no reason to believe a nitwit like Parker.

I have to wonder--why did Thomas do Parker's swearing-in? Did he just happen to be in Alabama's capital city that day?

I have to wonder--why did Thomas do Parker's swearing-in? Did he just happen to be in Alabama's capital city that day?
I think Parker actually flew to Washington DC to have that ceremonial swearing in. I don't think Thomas went to him. It was purely ceremonial, the actual swearing in was done by someone else.
I hope Dan and Feddie are right that Thomas didn't say it. But if so, I'd sure like to hear him come out and say that so the folks in Alabama would know they elected a liar.

I found this on the judges website.

REMARKS OF JUSTICE TOM PARKER

On the Occasion of His Oath of Office

January 14, 2005

May it please the Courts.

Governor, Public Officials, friends and family, thank you for being here today.

The defining question for the American people today is this: "By what standard?"

By what standard shall we govern ourselves? By what standard shall our courts interpret the Constitution? Who is the ultimate voice of authority? Is it the people? Is it the judges who wear black robes? Are they truly the ultimate voice of authority? Or is there a higher source from which even the legitimacy of constitutions ultimately derive their authority, and to whom the allegiance of every policy maker and judge is due?

Our Founding Fathers answered this question with resounding clarity when they boldly declared that "We are endowed by our CREATOR with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

With these twenty-five simple words, that remarkable delegation of citizen patriots was able to declare with stunning precision what fewer and fewer modern jurists seem able to understand or communicate in their many thousands of pages of decisions rendered during the course of a lifetime.

Namely, this: The very God of Holy Scriptures, the CREATOR, is the source of law, life and liberty. It is to Him, not evolving standards or arbitrary pronouncements of judges, that the leaders of every nation owe their ultimate allegiance.

The most influential jurist on the thinking of our Founding Fathers, Sir William Blackstone, put it this way:

The doctrines thus delivered we call revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in Holy Scriptures. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human law should be suffered to contradict these.

Blackstone would add a cautious reminder: Judges do not make law; they do but discover it from its true source.

Yesterday, January 13th, 2005, I was administered the oath of office at the United States Supreme Court building by the leading advocate in our land for original intent interpretation of the Constitution, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Just moments before I placed my hand on the Holy Scripture, Justice Thomas soberly addressed me and all in attendance. He admonished us to remember that the work of a justice should be evaluated by one thing and one thing only----whether or not he is faithful to uphold his oath, an oath which, as Justice Thomas pointed out, is not to the people, not to the state, and not to the constitution, but an oath which is to God Himself.

Today, I once again placed my hand on the Bible, God's Holy Word. On this day the oath was administered to me by a man who is well known to each of you, a man who sacrificed his very office in the holy cause of liberty. Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama understood that oaths are sworn to the Creator, that they must be upheld, and that no judge or set of justices may banish from the courtroom the very source of authority which gives legitimacy to law itself.

As I took the oath of office today, I placed my hand on the Biblical charge to judges:

"Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man, but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery. ...You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord."

(2 Chronicles 19:6-9)

I stand here today, humbled by this charge, but a grateful man who aspires to adhere to that tradition embodied in the sentiments spoken to me yesterday by Justice Clarence Thomas, and the commitment to our Founders' vision of authority and the rule of law personified by Chief Justice Roy Moore.

As I took the oath of office yesterday at the U.S. Supreme Court, I placed my hand on those Scriptures which represent my defining prayer not only for this Court, but for every court in our great land. This prayer is summarized in the words of the Lord, who spoke through the prophet Isaiah, declaring:

I will restore your judges as in days of old,

and your counselors as at the beginning.

Afterward you shall be called, The City of Righteousness,

the Faithful city.

(Isaiah 1:26)

Thank you for the great honor bestowed upon me today. I will always view my oath as solemn, binding and mission-defining.

May God guide us and direct us. May we boldly proclaim that it is God, Jesus Christ who gives us life and liberty. May we, as justices who have taken oaths to our God, never fear to acknowledge Him. And may the Alabama Supreme Court lead this nation in our gratitude, humility and deference, to the only true source of law, our Creator.

Thank you.

Authorized by Tom Parker for Alabama Supreme Court