“I see nothing!” ….. really Clarence, really?

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been in the news recently, for all the wrong reasons. 

You see he was outed for having received millions of dollars’ worth of gifts over the last 20 years from billionaire Harlan Crow. With wife Ginny, globetrotting Thomas has been living the high life aboard a million-dollar yacht and on a private jet while puffing away on cigars, munching on caviar and sipping expensive wines. 

Now what’s interesting is that once he got caught with his pants down and forced into the limelight, like a deer caught in the headlights Thomas pulled out his Sergeant Schultz defense, “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!” 

You see when Schultz of the old Hogan’s Heroes TV program encountered evidence that inmates of his stalag were actively conducting anti-German espionage activities, he feigned ignorance with the catchphrase, “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!” (Or, more commonly, “I know nothing, nothing!”).

While millions of Americans were withering under an economic downturn trying to make ends meet, struggling with skyrocketing healthcare, losing life and limb in Iraq and Afghanistan, here’s what Clarence and Ginny were up to for the last 20 plus years.

He accepted luxury global trips from billionaire Harlan Crow without disclosing them. He and wife flew on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet and kicked back on Crow’s superyacht fed by private chefs. I should mention that Crow forked over a half million bucks to a Tea Party group founded my Clarence’s wife, one that paid her a sweet $120K salary. 

Not only that, but Thomas also hung out at Crow’s sprawling ranch in Texas and Crow’s Bohemian Grove, the exclusive all-male retreat. Taking full advantage of his unearned privileges, Clarence still spends every week during summers at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks. Estimates are that he has raked in a cool $500K worth of goodies, not a bad way to supplement his paid gig on the Supreme Court. 

With lifetime employment, excellent healthcare, plenty to eat and loads of cash in their coffers, Mrs. Ginny and Mr. Clarence are set for life while they continue to give the rest of us the middle finger.

Now here’s where it gets more interesting.

It turns out Harlan Crow is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia and has statues of Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin among others. Plus, he has signed copy of “Mein Kampf” and paintings by Hitler. His collection includes handkerchiefs with the Nazi logo, stamps and coins.

I’d like to think that if there were Nazi memorabilia all over the place, Thomas would have noticed. And if he did and kept hanging out there anyway, well my guess is that he was inebriated on booze, terribly near-sighted, or just didn’t give a damn. For the record, I’m inclined to believe the latter.

In defending himself, the habitually quiet Thomas was flushed out of his black Supreme Court robe when he issued a flimsy, unconvincing statement that the gifts were from one of his “dearest friends” he’s known for a quarter century. 

“Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than the quarter century we have known them.”

Note that not once did he deny receiving expensive gifts from his “dear friend,” or admitted seeing his friend’s collection of Nazi memorabilia.

Now what’s astonishing about Thomas’ hanging out with a Nazi lover is his ignorance or total forgetfulness that his buddy and president wannabe Florida Senator Marco Rubio once held a fundraiser at Crow’s home with tickets ranging from $1,000–10,800.  Marco was roundly criticized afterward:

“Holding an event in a house featuring the artwork and signed autobiography of a man who dedicated his life to extinguishing the Jewish people is the height of insensitivity and indifference. It is astounding that the presence of these items that represent horror for millions of Jews the world over would not stop Mr. Rubio or anyone on his team in their tracks when planning this event.” — Debbie Wasserman Shultz

Caught with his britches down, Rubio defended himself saying that criticizing Crow was out of bounds because he was a “private citizen.”

Nice try Marco.

“The fact that Justice Thomas is receiving gifts from a person who purchases Nazi memorabilia is both chilling and disturbing on many levels,” said Elwood Watson, professor of history, Black studies, gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. 

Said writer Willian Spivey, “Supreme Court Justices are supposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety and for years Thomas hasn’t given a damn. Between his accepting millions of dollars in gifts from a Republican donor and his open conflicts of interest, along with his wife supporting the January 6th insurrection, that ship has long ago sailed.” 

In the end, whatever happen to the down to earth “brother’ Clarence who said in a 2019 documentary – funded by his “dear friend” Crow – that he preferred to travel in America in his RV with stops on Walmart parking lots when, in truth, he island hopped in Indonesia and other glamourous places on his “dear friend’s” million dollar super yacht?

As with David Brock’s disavowed 1993 book, “The Real Anita Hill,” about the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment, we’re now left with the question, who is “The Real Clarence Thomas?”

Well, now we know!

© Terry Howard is an award-winning trainer, writer, and storyteller. He is also a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Douglas County Sentinel, Blackmarket.com, co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, and 3rd place winner of the 2022 Georgia Press Award.


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