Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern hyped in a Wednesday item for Slate that "hard right" Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's "fingerprints are all over" the Trump administration, due to the fact that many of his former clerks now hold "high places" there. Litchwick and Sterm played up that Thomas's "once-fringy ideas are suddenly flourishing," and touted that he is "close buddies with Rush Limbaugh...[and] fringe radio dogmatist Mark Levin."



Clarence Thomas is known for speaking not softly, but rarely, when the Supreme Court holds oral arguments. Nonetheless, he carries a big stick in terms of influence on both the courts and the presidency, warn Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern. Thomas, who in Lithwick and Stern’s words had “spent his career teetering off the right edge of the federal bench,” now “finds himself at the center of the table.” As Lithwick and Stern tell it, the major difference between the president and the justice is that Trump is “far too witless to grasp, let alone implement, [Thomas’s] complex theories of law.”



Well now. The press has been raking President-Elect Donald Trump over the coals for proposing "consequences" for burning the American flag.

It's especially rich to see leftists like Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post invoke the name of the otherwise completely despised late Antonin Scalia, who was considered the tie-breaking Supreme Court Justice in the 1989 case when the Court ruled that flag-burning is "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment. Many in the press apparently believe that no one except Donald Trump has been dumb enough to support punishments for flag-burning since then, and ... oh, wait. Someone has — and she's a Democrat, and she just ran for President and lost.



Much like Phil Mickelson took a big early lead in the British Open, Esquire’s Charles Pierce has taken a big rhetorical-excess lead in early blogging about Donald Trump’s VP pick, Indiana governor Mike Pence, calling him a “very strange and completely unreconstructed wingnut” whose paper trail contains “a rich deposit of sweet crude crazy.” Kevin Drum of Mother Jones described Pence as "not especially bright or quick on his feet, which means he might have trouble defending Trump's frequent idiocies and backflips. It should be fun to watch him squirm.”



Mark Joseph Stern argues that a crucial shortcoming of John Strand’s play The Originalist is its out-of-date portrayal of Scalia as “a principled conservative, a brilliant and complex man who resists partisan classification.” Nowadays, however, Scalia’s “ideology…looks less conservative than RepublicanTwenty years ago Scalia was the unpredictable justice, the renegade who thought both flag burning and corporate campaign contributions deserved free-speech protections. Today he looks a lot more like the Fox News justice, ruling however the Obama administration wishes he wouldn’t.”

Stern also doesn’t buy that the “hard-line anti-gay” Scalia would knowingly hire a lesbian to clerk for him: “Would the same justice who unapologetically compared gay Americans to drug dealers, prostitutes, and animal abusers really be so tolerant in his personal life? Of course not. The Originalist wants us to imagine Scalia as a lovable contrarian and a warmhearted grump whose judicial opinions often lie worlds away from his real-life habits. There is simply no evidence that this portrayal is accurate.”



Slate's Mark Joseph Stern could have been mistaken for the mother from A Christmas Story, after slamming the classic Looney Tunes cartoon franchise on Tuesday for its comedic gun violence. Stern hyped that "the antics of Bugs Bunny and co. were a lot more brutal than you remember," and bewailed the shorts' "blasé approach to gun suicide."

The liberal website boosted the writer's article with a Tweet that asserted that "the rampant gun violence in Looney Tunes would be unthinkable today." Stern, who normally "covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues" for Slate, led his lament by noting how the Supreme Court rebuked California's attempt to restrict the sale of gory video games to children by citing the violent humor of the Warner Brothers features: