Cognitive Psychology

The Clarence Thomas Scandal: The Consequence of Placing Life Course Persistent Antisocial Behavior in Positions of Power

Biden may have a Supreme Court seat to fill here soon, if this were a just and fair world. Stop laughing! Just stop. It too could happen. Chief Supreme Court Justice John “Money Doesn’t Corrupt” Roberts could investigate Justice Clarence “Just Give All the Moneys to Ginni” Thomas for his ethical lapses and taking of bribes, and Thomas could be put in a position where he had to resign for the “good of the Court.”

Okay. Laugh. Why would a person who wrote in a Supreme Court opinion that money doesn’t corrupt believe that money had corrupted the already corrupt Thomas? You’re right. That shit right there is just Poly-fucking-Anna spit-pie-in-your-eye thinking.

With all the controversy swirling around Thomas’ acceptance of and non-reporting of and not recusing himself from cases that he is clearly compromised on because of the gifts given to him by his dear billionaire, Harlan Crow.

The Dubious Financial Life of the Thomases

ProPublica probably has some of the best reporting on the growing and unfolding scandal, so it isn’t necessary to go into the details here. Just follow these links to find out more:

  • The original article outlining the gifts of flights, super yacht vacations, stays at private resorts, and visits to private ranches all unreported and at least the flights were illegal not to report.
  • The undisclosed sale of Thomas’ property to Crow. No consciousness of guilt to be seen here. Move along citizen. That wasn’t a violation of a Watergate-era federal disclosure law requiring federal officials to report real estate sales over $1,000.00. It doesn’t matter that Crow owns the house where Thomas’ mother lives because money doesn’t corrupt, does it John Roberts? It’s probably all fine because Clarence Thomas is one of the good guys who would never sell his vote to the highest bidder and supports the Constitution unequivocally even if we quibble over some of the details. It’s probably fine, right?

You just can’t write fast enough sometimes if you’re a part-time blogger and full-time citizen, can ya? Before I could finish this post, another financial scandal about Thomas dropped. This post is already long in the tooth, so maybe read the article about the Ginni family Nebraska property rental company that he’s been claiming income from since 2006 THAT LITERALLY DOESN’T EXIST! But, it probably is just an oversight right? Nothing in the study and practice of law prepares you to pay attention to those pesky details like the right name of a company that pays you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, right?

With all these scandals dropping I got to wondering about Thomas’ personality, like whether there was any warning that he would be a thirty year plus ethical offender if not just downright criminal. Then, I remembered, Anita Hill!

Anita Hill! Doh! Did her testimony actually have anything it could tell us about Clarence Thomas and his relationship to authority, social expectations, and the law?

Anita Hill’s Warning

The nomination hearing for Clarence Thomas in 1991 is seared into the unconscious like OJ’s Bronco run. You remember it because it was a car wreck that you couldn’t look away from.

Who put this pubic hair on my Coke can? is probably the most memorable, cringiest, hardest to make a joke about, yet begging for a joke to be made about it line from a sex scandal ever. I’m old enough to remember Garrett Morris rhetorically asking from the SNL stage, Does that line work? That’s about as good as it got.

Here’s a quick reminder from Hill’s testimony based on the Time article, Sex, Lies and Politics: He Said, She Said, published 21 October 1991 for those of us who think that details do matter. I’ll add some commentary.

In the final analysis, it would come down to this: the specificity of Hill’s charges against the intensity of Thomas’ denials.

Sex, Lies and Politics: He Said, She Said, Jill Smolowe 
  • ANITA HILL was calm cool collected and unflappable, but allegedly, according to her testimony, at least Thomas found her very fappable, IYKWIMAITYD. This helped her credibility. Visible anger hurts women’s credibility, so it’s a good thing she wasn’t. And women crying or being emotionally would’ve left her vulnerable to accusations of being manipulative. Think of the sad old trope of women getting out traffic violations by crying.
  • REPUBLICANS accused her of nefarious motivations:
    • Senator Hatch accused her of working with slick lawyers to destroy Clarence Thomas — What? Why? Oh, yeah, if Dems would oppose Robert “Saturday Night Massacre” Bork for the Court, which was so unfair and ungrounded and caused Bork to live in the poverty of being a law professor, legal consultant, advisor to Mitten’s presidential campaign, and being a fellow at various conservative research institutes. Clearly a broken man. You know, Dems would go out of their way to prevent ANY Republican nominee from ascending to the Court like a common Mitch McConnell.
    • Senator Hatch accused her of getting the pubic hair on his Coke detail from The Exorcist and the name Long Dong Silver from a court case in Tulsa because independent coinage definitely never happens. Once its used in one genre, no one else can think of it and use it. It’s removed from the public domain.
    • Senator Arlin Spector played the gotcha game because she moved from the Department of Education to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with Thomas. How could she? he wondered incredulously. Turns out, like many victims of sexual harassment, she feared never getting a good job again and optimistically if not naively thought that it had stopped. Not good enough for Spector et al.
  • THOMAS’ INCESSANT WHINING about being unfairly accused and being “lynched” stating that no job was worth what he’d endured during the nomination convinced many that he would withdraw his nomination. He didn’t. I guess it was worth it. That or Ginni wouldn’t let him.
  • THOMAS’ TESTIMONY was angry, which gives men credibility since it is the only emotion they are allowed to express. Remember Boof-K’s drunken incoherent rambling rage fest at his hearing?
  • GINNI HAD LISTENED to Hill’s testimony and spoon fed Thomas the things he’d need to know and tell the committee. Ginni, puppet master.
  • DROWNED INTEGRITY. Thomas famously said that the nomination hearing was “drowning my life, my career and my integrity. You have robbed me of something that can never be restored.” Funny he mentioned lost integrity. Maybe he lost it even before he sat their lying to the Judicial Committee.
  • HILL WAS VERY GRAPHIC in her testimony using all of the technical terms but never resorting to euphemism or seeming embarrassed. It helped her credibility.
  • HILL PORTRAYED THE LIFE of someone being sexually harassed very clearly. She described the fear of never getting a “good” job again or not being able to find any job at all. She had spent five days in hospital due to stomach pain caused by the situation.
  • HILL CONSISTENTLY maintained that she had not wanted to come forward and didn’t until it seemed likely that her story — she had told it to the FBI — would become public and that she had nothing to gain and had lost quite a bit. In fact, she left the faculty of Oklahoma University in 1996 because of it.

The process, he [Clarence “Ginni” Thomas] asserted, was “drowning my life, my career and my integrity. You have robbed me of something that can never be restored.”

Sex, Lies and Politics: He Said, She Said, Jill Smolowe

The article notes very dramatically: In the final analysis, it would come down to this: the specificity of Hill’s charges against the intensity of Thomas’ denials. And For both Hill and Thomas, it was the hardest ordeal of their lives. But one of them was shouldering the burden unfairly and it may never be known which one. While both had been sullied and injured by the proceedings, only one had been dragged through the mud on the strength of a very convincing lie. Again, in hindsight and with the experience of #MeToo and having done this a few times, it is very clear that Clarence Thomas was lying.

The Life Course Persistence of Clarence Thomas’ Offending

Justice Boof-K

This here sidebar explains all things wrong with the confirmation of Boof-K. They can be applied to Thomas, especially the life persistent anti-social behavior pattern we see from both men.

Antisocial behavior is an act perpetrated by a person without regard to right or wrong, the affect on others, or the rights and feelings of others. Apparently, antisocial behavior typically begins in childhood, increases tenfold in adolescence, and then takes one of two paths: it tapers off in early adulthood or it persists over the lifetime of the individual.

If it tapers, it is considered adolescent limited behavior and is mitigated by a maturing brain, changing social status and situation, and adult social norms. You learn to control it or you just outgrow it. However, if it persists, then the behavior adapts to the changing circumstances of the stages of development. Young men who continue to commit sexual assault might stop in their early adulthood but move on to ethics violations and hiding their income from the public and the IRS. These guys are called life course persistent antisocial behavior.

Life-course-persistent antisocial behavior theory suggests that it is a problem rooted in nature and nurture. They’ve got the genes for it, the budding behavior, and something in their environment encourages or just doesn’t stop it from happening. These folks never get the message that they gotta stop or they’re going to be in real trouble. Kinda like our old pal, Brock Turner and Boof-K.

One of the things that we know about sexual assault and sexual harassment is that it just don’t come straight outa the blue. No body wakes up one morning, breaks into a strangers house, and rapes her. No body walks into work one day and suddenly asks a co-worker who put a pubic hair on their coke. You work up to it. You take it for a test run, see if you like it. You develop skills. What works. What doesn’t.

Thomas was 33 when he was sexually harassing Hill. That was about six before he married the well known sex vixen, Ginni. Maybe, she sated him, so he stopped. Maybe there are more victims out there. Maybe we all take a break to scrub our brains and genitalia with lye soap and a toilet bowl brush. Sometimes what you have to think about just to write a snarky, sarcasticky, profaney post.

In 1991, he gets onto the Supreme Court as another one of the GOP’s highly unqualified and poorly prepared candidates. Maybe he figures he can’t risk sexually harassing more women at the Supremes, or, maybe everybody just covers up for him for the sake of the Court, knowwhatI’msayin?

Thomas pretty much started hiding income as soon as he hit the Court, and he’s been keeping it up ever since. His namby-pamby mumbly-bumbly excuse making about why a fucking judicial scholar at the top of his profession can’t figure out the rules for reporting his income that every other federal employee literally does, except for those named Trump.

So, ya start thinking, maybe he’s deliberately breaking the rules like maybe this is some kind of life persistent antisocial behavior. Because they aren’t even necessarily wanting to tax him for this income, they just want to know where his vulnerability to undue influence and exposure to conflicts of interest are because judges are supposed to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest.

If Thomas can’t comply with those requirements, then that is antisocial behavior. He’s got a real problem with authority. This man is a danger to the rule of law.

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Image Attribution

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Clarence Thomas sitting on the US Supreme Court sitting on bags of money
Clarence Thomas sitting on the US Supreme Court sitting on bags of money

8 replies »

  1. Another consistent feature of the Dark Triad is the perpetrator playing the victim. There’s another box we can check in Thomas’ defense against any and all accusations, and the responses of his supporters in the hearings.

    Considering that the “friendship” at the heart of the fancy vacations and such only began after Thomas joined the Court, it almost looks as if the rich guy either volunteered or was assigned (Hey, I can think up a conspiracy as well as anybody.) to be his handler, to keep him in line, well flattered, and sealed in a bubble of the like-minded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And isn’t that another sign or symptom of a dark tetrad personality, they don’t care that someone is trying to use them if it benefits them.

      I have always thought that Clarence Thomas was bought and paid for and that he liked it that way. It made life easy and enjoyable. Maybe that will be the plot of my political thriller: the part-time blogger and full-time citizen who uncovers the TRUTH behind the Supreme Court using political psychology.


      Liked by 1 person

        • That’s one of the things that makes promoting them to places of real power so dangerous: the ease with which they are manipulated. You gotta wonder if Thomas wasn’t some kind of Manchurian SCOTUS Justice with Ginni his handler and Crow to provide context and more direct influence.


          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, one of the great cautions about invoking conspiracy is the effect of like-mindedness. He was DT and patriarchal, homophobic, and authoritarian to begin with. Crow’s influence wouldn’t be about managing Thomas’ core social ideology and inclinations, but making sure he stayed deeply immersed in the business related context.

            Liked by 1 person

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