Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) received more than he bargained for last week after challenging a witness to defend his claim that “the left hates” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because he is not ideologically liberal.
During a congressional hearing last Wednesday, Jeffries questioned attorney Mark Paoletta over his assertion that “many on the left hate Justice Thomas because he is a black conservative who has never bowed to those who demand that he must think a certain way because of his skin.”
The hearing was focused on judicial ethics, a topic Democrats became hyper-concerned over after text messages showed that Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, texted Mark Meadows after the 2020 election and urged then-President Donald Trump to challenge the results of the election. There is no evidence that Justice Thomas has committed any wrongdoing.
“What evidence do you have to support that incendiary charge?” Jeffries asked.
Paoletta then used the words of the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), to prove his claim.
“When chairman Bennie Thompson calls him an ‘Uncle Tom’ because of his views on voter ID and affirmative action, when, in fact, more black Americans support voter ID, and with respect to affirmative action and college education, 62% opposed to it. So that is the most vile, disgusting thing you can say. And so yes, that’s the evidence,” Paoletta said.
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Jeffries then attempted to ignore the evidence that Paoletta provided.
“Reclaiming my time, there are a lot of vile and disgusting things —” Jeffries began to say.
“You just asked me for an example,” shot back Paoletta, who served as general counsel to the Office of Management and Budget during the Trump administration.
But Jeffries still did not acknowledge what Paoletta said and instead claimed that Paoletta’s response to his challenge indicated that he has “a particular bias.”
“Can I give you another example?” Paoletta followed up.
“No,” Jeffries said.
What did Thompson say?
Paoletta was referring to comments Thompson made in 2014 when he insulted Thomas as an “Uncle Tom” because of his Supreme Court decisions.
Thompson said Thomas is an “Uncle Tom” because “his decisions on the court … have been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African-American not being sensible to those issues.”
When Thompson was challenged over the offensiveness of the insult, Thompson justified it by saying, “But I’m black.”