For conservatives, selecting the next chief justice of the United States comes down to one who’s blunt and pithy—Antonin Scalia—or one who pursues a more circular route to an opinion—Clarence Thomas.
Here’s Scalia, arguing that the separation of church and state in Germany led to the Holocaust: “Did it turn out that, by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America? I don’t think so.”
And here’s Thomas, talking about how to succeed without the government really trying: “When you tell kids it’s not what they do that matters, but what someone else does, what I do, or what some governmental programs do, I think you’re taking away the responsibility they should have for themselves and, in fact, you’re disempowering them. On the other side, you’re doing something else. When they do achieve, you’re saying to them, ‘Well, you achieved, not because you did all the right things—you played fair, you worked hard, you studied hard, you put in the extra effort’; you’re saying to them, ‘You succeeded because I did something for you. The benefits of your success fell to me.'”
Additional reporting: Nicole Duarte and David Botti.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2004