SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Black Death Row Inmate, Except For Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is a piece of work. Today (May 23), the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to in favor of Black death row inmate’s case regarding race discrimination via an all-white jury—one guess who was the dissenting vote?
Timothy Tyrone Foster, an African-American, is on death row in Georgia for the 1987 murder of an elderly white woman, Queen Madge White. The jury that convicted him was all white. Twenty years after his sentence his attorneys obtained notes the prosecution team took while it was engaged in picking a jury, including marking potential jurors who were black had a “b” written by their name.“The focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only dissenter.The 7-1 decision comes as a welcome relief to critics who say racial discrimination in jury selection persists across the country some 30 years after the Supreme Court ruled potential jurors cannot be struck because of race.
The decision allows Foster to seek a new trial. A fair one.
Also worth noting, until earlier this year it had been 10 years since Mr. Thomas even bothered to ask questions during a hearing. Ten. Years.
Photo: By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States – Clarence Thomas – The Oyez Project, Public Domain