Keeping the Faith
Justice Thomas's opinions in the 1994 term, particularly those in Jenkins and Adarand, drew brickbats and pickets from many black opinion leaders and journalists. In its June 26, 1995, issue, Time magazine published an article denouncing Thomas's racial jurisprudence. The title of the piece, " Uncle Tom Justice," was itself a remarkable racial affront.
On September 12, Rev. Al Sharpton, the New York City civil rights activist, led a contingent of four hundred demonstrators to protest on a public road outside Thomas's subdivision in Fairfax County. The participants arrived in chartered buses to find twenty police officers and federal marshals awaiting them. A line of yellow police tape and a helicopter circling overhead further supervised the proceedings. During two hours of speeches, hymns and prayers, they excoriated Thomas as an ingrate and turncoat.
Thomas tried to make light of this vituperation. After attending a speech by Tom Sowell at the American Enterprise Institute, Thomas milled about with some of the attendees. As he often did at public gatherings, he found himself engaged in conversation with a young black man. "You ought to drop by my house sometime," he told the young man. "You can meet Al Sharpton." As Thomas unloaded his booming laugh, the young man, according to one bystander, "didn't quite know what to think."
Despite the attacks against him, Thomas cared deeply about young blacks and the social rapids they had to negotiate. During the summer, he spoke to Glenn Loury in his chambers. "Look at these young brothers dying in the street—the drive-by shootings, the violence," he told Loury. "If dogs were being struck down at the same rate and in the same way, and left bleeding in the gutter, there would be a society of blue