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Clarence Thomas: Affirmative Action’s biggest beneficiary and biggest hypocrite

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 6/20/2013, 6 a.m.

He had a mouth and he could have opened it and said no every time he was offered a professional leg up. He didn’t. If Thomas had just taken the plums served up to him, and quietly melted into the woodwork with his titles, it would have been harmless enough.

But he had a bigger agenda in mind, and that was to be an aggressive and relentless foe of the very affirmative action measures that he milked.

The Supreme Court post gave him the ideal power position to advance his agenda and do real damage. The pounding he took during his High Court confirmation fight in 1991 from civil rights, civil liberties and women’s groups, and the narrow Senate vote to confirm him stung deeply.

Thomas didn’t forget or forgive. In fact, when asked how long he’d stay on the court, he reportedly said that he’d stay there for the next 43 years of his life. He was 43 at the time.

In a more revealing aside, he supposedly quipped to friends that it would take him that long to get even. Whether this was hyperbole or an apocryphal tale, it didn’t take him 43 years to wreak his revenge. He has been a one man wrecking crew on the court to expunge race from law and public policy decisions.

However, this is not simply one man’s personal bitterness over his alleged mistreatment by liberals and civil rights leaders. In well-prepped and orchestrated talks to ultra conservative groups, Thomas has pretty much made it clear that he’s on a mission to make sure law and public policy in America mirror his take on race.

The capper was his swipe at President Obama in of all things implying that he was an affirmative action President.

This is heady stuff for the grandson of a sharecropper who has been the biggest beneficiary of affirmative action. And, then makes it his sworn life’s mission to be the biggest enemy of, or more accurately, its biggest hypocrite.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.