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We've finally found the true 'welfare queen.' It’s Clarence Thomas.

A report that the Supreme Court justice's mother has lived in a home bought by a rich white man contradicts what he has said about "paternalistic" white people.


The irony is too rich to ignore. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, someone who has loudly loathed Black people receiving things from the government, has received lavish gifts from a rich benefactor while in his powerful government job.

Harlan Crow, the right-wing billionaire, Nazi memorabilia collector and Thomas crony, has been placed under the spotlight amid ProPublica’s reporting that he has lavished luxury vacations and other gifts on the Supreme Court justice. (A Washington Post report published over the weekend on another anomaly from Thomas' financial disclosure forms didn't help his case.)

ProPublica’s latest report says that Thomas’ mother has lived in a home Crow bought from Thomas in 2014 — and the justice never disclosed the transaction, which is possibly in violation of federal law. In addition, Crow reportedly added tens of thousands of dollars of improvements to the house in Savannah, Georgia.

Thomas now intends to amend his financial disclosure forms to acknowledge the real estate deal with Crow, CNN reported Monday, citing a source close to Thomas. Too little too late.

So, according to these recent reports, Thomas appears to have been leveraging his government job to get free stuff. And it seems very close to the kind of government dependency he has denounced in the past.

It’s a stance Thomas has used to browbeat Black people throughout his career. Keep in mind, for example, what he said about his own sister before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. 

In a 1980 speech to fellow Black conservatives, Thomas claimed that his sister “gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check. That’s how dependent she is.”

He added: “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.’’

But a decade later, reporting found that Thomas hadn’t been accurate in making his sister sound like a “welfare queen,” the racialized derogatory term for welfare recipients used by Ronald Reagan and other conservatives. 

As the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page wrote at the time

It was a stunning story. To hear Thomas tell it, his sister sounded like a classic ‘’welfare queen’’ of the sort presidential candidate Ronald Reagan singled out that same year, a painful example of how a well-intended government handout can tie families to a cycle of poverty and dependency.

Unfortunately, Thomas’ stunning story wasn’t true. Not quite.

When reporters recently tracked down Thomas’ sister, Emma Mae Martin, living in a beat-up frame house with a hole in the roof in Pin Point, Ga., a few steps from where she and her two younger brothers were born, they didn’t find a story of welfare dependency.

Instead, they found a story of hard work by three generations of a family struggling like most other families do, just to make ends meet.

One wonders what Emma Mae Martin might think about what her brother said about her in light of the revelations that he has been plied with goodies — seemingly thanks to his cushy government job. Goodies that he claims he had no duty to report

How’s that for “entitled”? 

Then there’s this whopper, from Thomas’ own autobiography. Writing about his time as a student at Yale, Thomas railed against “paternalistic” whites:

At least southerners were up front about their bigotry: you knew exactly where they were coming from, just like the Georgia rattlesnakes that always let you know when they were ready to strike. Not so the paternalistic big-city whites who offered you a helping hand so long as you were careful to agree with them, but slapped you down if you started acting as if you didn’t know your place.

That’s very rich. And I’m talking “Harlan Crow rich.”

Clarence Thomas claims to be against government dependency and paternalism. Yet thanks to his government job, he apparently has received favors from a rich white man who even bought his mama a house. It truly doesn’t get more paternalistic than that. 

At long last, we’ve finally found a true welfare queen!

It’s Clarence Thomas. And maybe his mom, too.