In the event that you needed a reminder of the importance of the United States Supreme Court, pay attention to the court’s decision to overturn the death sentence in Foster v. Chatman – it might be a wake-up call. In particular, pay attention to the court’s decision in the case and which of the sitting eight justices dissented.
This from Vox:
On Monday, the Supreme Court effectively refused to weaken a legal rule that makes it harder for prosecutors to stuff juries with exclusively white jurors. In a 7-1 decision, the Court found that Georgia prosecutors really had purposely targeted black jurors to keep them off a trial with a black defendant, and that such a move was unconstitutional. “[T]he focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.
The case has some grisly beginnings: Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black man, is accused of killing a 79-year-old white woman in Georgia when he was 18 in 1986. A jury found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.
But the jury that convicted Foster was all white. That’s not because the jury pool was all white to begin with, but because prosecutors used what are called “peremptory strikes” to get 100 percent of the black potential jurors originally involved in the case removed from the jury. In comparison, 16 percent of white potential jurors were taken off the case, Lyle Dennistonreported for SCOTUSblog.
Foster’s defense argued the all-white makeup of the jury altered the outcome of the trial. Armed with evidence taken directly from prosecutor’s notes, the defense claimed the ruling against Foster was based on race-based discrimination, violating a previous standard set by the Supreme Court for juries. The Supreme Court sided with Foster, arguing that the prosecution had clearly based its jury selection decisions on race.
Now, isn’t it ironic that in such a pivotal case where the life of a black man is at stake that the lone dissent, in this case, was Clarence Thomas? Uh-huh, the lone African-American Supreme Court Justice. Yes, that Clarence Thomas. Which, isn’t surprising given that Clarence Thomas isn’t too fond of the people with whom he shares a skin color (yep, remember when he refused to offer a stay of execution in the Troy Davis case?). Well, that’s with the exception of Black Conservatives like himself, of course.
I wish white folks would just go ahead and tell Clarence Thomas that he’s white so that he can stop being anti-black. This week’s SCOTUS decision and Clarence Thomas’ opposition to the overturning of the death sentence of a black man is more of the same from “Uncle Tom”.
Mind you, this was a case where, as noted above, the prosecutor intentionally took steps to exclude black people from the jury, thus producing an all-white jury. Apparently, Clarence Thomas is okay with this sort of clearly unconstitutional miscarriage of justice even when the penalty is death. That said, can you imagine Donald Trump having the ability to appoint at least three Supreme Court justices like Clarence Thomas or worse? I assume your answer depends on the measure of your moral compass, your level of bigotry, and your ideological leanings.