Clarence Thomas’ Ruling Shocks Supreme Court Analysts

AB: For years, Clarence sat in silence and did not say much. It was only when Roberts took over, did he begin to make his mark as a justice. He will probably be remembered as one of the worst appointments to SCOTUS. Before his appointment, he told a story about dependency on welfare.

Thomas opposed public assistance because it caused (he claimed) his sister and her children to become dependent on welfare payments. In 1981, he said:

“She gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check,” Thomas said in a remark that has since been widely quoted. “That is how dependent she is. What’s worse is that now her kids feel entitled to the check, too. They have no motivation for doing better or getting out of that situation.”

A journalist tracked down Thomas’ sister and discovered what he said about her was not quite true. She learned that while Thomas attended law school, his sister Emma Mae Martin worked two minimum-wage jobs before quitting to take care of an ailing elderly aunt. She did receive welfare checks, but their sums were paltry, and she later took another job as a hospital cook. And her children all either worked or were in school when the journalist spoke with her. One even served his country aboard a battleship during  Operation Desert Storm.

And so it goes . . .


Clarence Thomas’ Latest Ruling Shocks Supreme Court Analysts, newsweek

by Rachel Dobkin


Supreme Court analysts expressed surprise Thursday at Justice Clarence Thomas‘s latest ruling involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

In basic college, I would go to the CFPB in Illinois and get a bunch of various pamphlets and pass them out in a class on ethical business behaviors. Some of the older minority students had not seen such literature. They would take an extra copy for others in their neighborhood.

In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled the funding mechanism of the CFPB is legal, reversing a decision by the New Orleans-based Court of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit. In an earlier ruling, the appellate court ruled the CFPB’s drawing money from the Federal Reserve every year instead of getting annual funds authorized by Congress violates the U.S. Constitution’s Appropriations Clause.

In 2018 trade groups representing payday lenders, the Community Financial Services Association of America and the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas sued the CFPB.

Thomas, a conservative judge, not only sided with the agency, but wrote the majority opinion in the case. Thomas wrote in the opinion filed on Thursday.

“Under the Appropriations Clause, an appropriation is simply a law that authorizes expenditures from a specified source of public money for designated purposes. The statute that provides the bureau’s funding meets these requirements. We therefore conclude that the bureau’s funding mechanism does not violate the appropriations clause.”

Three other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, joined Thomas in the opinion, as did the court’s three liberal justices, Sonia SotomayorElena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch ruled against CFPB.

Court analysts were shocked by this latest move from Thomas.

Josh Chafetz, a law and politics professor at Georgetown Law, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday. “A few *very* quick thoughts about the CFPB case. First, the Court got it right, 7-2. I expected the Court to get it right; I’m kind of surprised that Thomas wrote it, though.”

Jonathan H. Adler, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, wrote.

“I doubt too many folks had ‘Justice Thomas saves the CFPB’ on their bingo card.”

Elie Mystal, a justice correspondent for The Nation, did not give Thomas credit for this shocking turn of events. She wrote:

Kagan wrote a concurrence that was basically like ‘even if Thomas hadn’t figured it out, the CFPB would also be constitutional for the following reasons.’

I like the effort to point out that Thomas is a broken clock, even when he lucks into the correct time.”

Differing Opinions

When approached for comment by Newsweek, the CFPB referred to their press release from Thursday, which stated,

“For years, lawbreaking companies and Wall Street lobbyists have been scheming to defund essential consumer protection enforcement. The Supreme Court has rejected their radical theory that would have devastated the American financial markets. The court repudiated the arguments of the payday loan lobby and made it clear that the CFPB is here to stay.

This ruling upholds the fact that the CFPB’s funding structure is not novel or unusual, but in fact an essential part of the nation’s financial regulatory system, providing stability and continuity for the agencies and the system as a whole. As we have done since our inception, the CFPB will continue carrying out the vital consumer protection work Congress charged us to perform for the American people.”

The lawyers representing the trade groups in the lawsuit told Newsweek via email on Thursday:

“We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. Though the Court has upheld the constitutionality of the bureau’s funding, we continue to believe that the challenged CFPB rule is legally flawed, threatens access to credit, and harms the millions of American consumers who rely on small-dollar loans to manage budget shortfalls and unexpected expenses.”

Newsweek reached out to the Supreme Court via online form for comment.

Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opinion:

“The Court holds that the appropriations clause is satisfied by any law that authorizes the executive to take any amount of money from any source for any period of time for any lawful purpose. That holding has the virtue of clarity, but such clarity comes at too high a price.

There are times when it is our duty to say simply that a law that blatantly attempts to circumvent the Constitution goes too far. This is such a case. Today’s decision is not faithful to the original understanding of the appropriations clause and the centuries of history that gave birth to the appropriations requirement, and I therefore respectfully dissent.”

President Joe Biden, called the court’s ruling an “unmistakable win for American consumers” in a statement on Thursday.

“Every step of the way, while the CFPB and I have fought for the middle class, Republicans in Congress and in states across the country have stood with special interests who want to keep ripping families off. In the face of years of attacks from extreme Republicans and special interests, the court made clear that the CFPB’s funding authority is constitutional and that its strong record of consumer protection will not be undone.”

Reporters pulling this stuff off of X is basically crap. There has to be a better way for them to write.

My Thoughts?

For years Clarence has been the conservative go to on the court. He is 75 now and probably could retire nicely since he has probably socked some the gifts he received. He could be trying to change his legacy before he leaves. It does not explain Roberts and the others who went with the liberals.

Or, Roberts and the justices do not want to impact an election with their decisions since many of them arrived on the bench due to Republicans. I find it hard to believe they would find trump as being acceptable.