“We Always Saw Lincoln as the Great Emancipator”

In his speech yesterday in the Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted that Abraham Lincoln is his favorite president.  Do you think he realized how inappropriate that comment was as he stood just a few feet from the final resting place of Robert E. Lee?

10 thoughts on ““We Always Saw Lincoln as the Great Emancipator”

  1. George A. Cefil

    Huh?? Love your site, Kevin, but this one has me scratching my head…How was Justice Thomas’ comment “inappropriate”??

    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Hi George,

      I’m a big fan of sarcasm, which is often times difficult to communicate via the written word.

  2. Dan Wright

    I’ve only recently discovered your site and I caught the sarcasm behind “inappropriate.” But I agree, it’s difficult to make it clear in print.
    Justice Thomas praising Lincoln near Lee’s gravesite is great drama. If the Southern Heritage crowd starts howling, we’ll know that Thomas got it right.

  3. Chris Evans

    Maybe Lee would understand. They all ‘belong to the ages now’ anyway and have for a long time. I’ve always enjoyed respecting and studying Lincoln, Lee, Grant, Sherman, Davis and Jackson etc. with all their faults and frailties. I think together in history they make the American Civil War appealing to study.

  4. Caleb McDaniel

    True story: I once saw Spike Lee give a talk in that chapel. When he came on the stage, he just stopped and stared at the sarcophagus for a full five minutes or so before beginning his talk.

  5. Toby

    Yes, a black Supreme Court justice speaking to a respectful audience only a few feet away from the remains of the great Paladin of the Confederacy sends a shiver up your spine.

    I am quite surprised to have Thomas nominate Lincoln as his “favourite” President. Basically (and forgive me as I am quite vague on this) I thought Thomas was basically a strong fan of States’ Rights, almost a modern Calhoun in fact.

  6. Mark

    That Clarence Thomas would call Lincoln his favorite president is not at all a surprise – he’s the most favorite of all presidents, isn’t Lincoln? What would be surprising is if Thomas has a clue about what Lincoln did as president.


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