Clarence Thomas accused of ‘new low’ for hiring clerk accused of texting ‘I HATE BLACK PEOPLE’

Hiring Crystal Clanton is a “slap in the face, not only to Black Americans, but all Americans who want a fair judiciary,” said Svante Myrick, president of People For the American Way.

Supreme Court Justices Pose For Formal Group Photo
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is being slammed for hiring a law clerk who allegedly sent a racist text to a colleague in 2017.

George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School announced that Crystal Clanton, an alumna of the university, was selected to serve as Thomas’ judicial clerk for the 2024-2025 term.

In 2017, The New Yorker published screenshots of text messages Clanton exchanged with a colleague while she worked at Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization that promotes conservative politics at high schools, colleges, and universities.

One text message read, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like f–k them all…I hate blacks. End of story.”

Svante Myrick, president of People For the American Way, called the hiring “a new low” for the 75-year-old conservative justice.

“He has single-handedly undermined the public’s faith in the Supreme Court,” said the former mayor of Ithaca, New York. “He’s violated so many ethical standards.”

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross said of the hiring: “Racists align themselves with equally racist people.” She added. Clarence Thomas has gone out of his way to be anti-equity and to be the face of the anti-Blackness.”

In an interview with The New Yorker, Crystal Clanton said that she had “no recollection” of sending the racist message to her former colleague.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thomas defended Clanton in a letter, writing that “bigotry is antithetical to her nature and character.”

Myrick said that hiring Clanton is a “slap in the face, not only to Black Americans, but all Americans who want a fair judiciary.”

He emphasized that clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court are “the most sought-after positions.”

“The clerks write many of the opinions we see…and this woman should be disqualified from the position,” Myrick added.

After Clanton left her post at Turning Point USA, Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, hired her to assist with right-wing media ventures before she attended George Mason University’s law school. At one point, the newly hired law clerk was so close to the Thomas family that she lived with the couple.

Clarence Thomas, Virginia Thomas,
Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Racists have always found a home within the Republican Party and conservative politics,” said Cross, the Democratic strategist. “They tend to recruit groups that are outwardly anti-Black.”

Myrick of People For the American Way took particular issue with the fact that Clanton landed the prestigious job at the Supreme Court after working for a “political organization run by the justice’s wife.”

“[It’s] unthinkable to anybody who believes that our court system is fair and balanced,” he said.

Crystal Clanton’s hiring, he argued, is an example of nepotism, and although “we’ve grown to accept nepotism, the Supreme Court should never be one of those places” that accepts the practice.

This is just the latest example of Justice Thomas being scrutinized for crossing ethical lines.  

Last year, ProPublica published several reports divulging that Thomas crossed ethical lines while serving as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He allegedly had close ties with billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who had business before the court and neglected to disclose that he received lavish gifts from wealthy GOP donor Harlan Crow for more than 20 years.  

Cross told theGrio that Thomas’ actions are repeatedly “disappointing.”

Despite Thomas’ misconduct, she said, “It is not illegal, nor is it, unfortunately, prohibited for you to be a racist on the Supreme Court.”

As the concerns over Justice Thomas’ ethics continue to mount, Myrick said, “Every time we think we’ve hit the bottom of the barrel, Justice Thomas seems to go lower.” He said this latest move shows “that we can’t rely on the [Supreme Court] to regulate itself.”

“If we’re going to restore faith in the judiciary, we need Congress to act and pass binding Supreme Court ethics legislation,” he added.

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