Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will swear in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, at this week’s Inaugural ceremony, when he takes the oath of office, this Friday.
Justice Thomas was recently snubbed by ethnic elites and denied a place in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall, in D.C. He will now be part of history, becoming the first black Supreme Court justice to ever swear in the president or vice president, while overlooking the Mall, in D.C.
Administering the oath of office to the incoming president has, historically, been the role of the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in President-elect Donald Trump.
However, the incoming vice president may decide who will administer his oath of service, at the special Inaugural event. For instance, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in by Justice John Paul Stevens in 2009 and Justice Sonia Sotomayor did the honors for Biden in 2013. Even senators and ranking House leaders have fulfilled the role.
Last week, the website of the Joint Inaugural Committee confirmed that Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be sworn in by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the Court’s four conservative jurists.
As a strict constitutionalist, Justice Thomas addressed the crisis caused when judges attempt to “legislate from the bench,” during a speech to the Federalist Society last month. He said:
“Today it is the view of many that the Supreme Court is the giver of liberties — what an odd conception of governance that ‘We the People’ are dependent on the third branch of government to grant us our freedom.”
Thomas said the result is that some judges go beyond the intent of the Founding Fathers and are “busy designing the Constitution — as Justice [Antonin] Scalia once quipped — instead of interpreting it.” He went on:
“With such unchecked judicial power, we leave it for the least accountable branch to decide what newly discovered rights should be appended to our Constitution.”
His criticism of “unchecked judicial power” is a concern that Pence also shares. In a 2010 speech, as a congressman, he said, “The modern presidency has drifted far from the great strength and illumination of its source: the Constitution.”
President Trump will nominate a replacement for the deceased Justice Scalia during his first weeks in office. He has already submitted a list of possible candidates who share the constitutionalist viewpoints of interpreting the laws of the land objectively, as they were written and understood, rather than trying to give subjective re-designs to them.
And, as liberal justices retire or resign, throughout the federal judiciary, the president will have opportunities to continue to add judicial conservatives to the bench, as he seeks to “Make America Great Again.” Such appointments may become his greatest contribution to the future of (as radio host Michael Medved says each day) “this greatest country on God’s green earth!”