United States Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have quite a bit of explaining to do. Both justices have been in the news lately and once again their partisan slips are showing.

Last week in the decision of Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Justice Clarence Thomas once again showed his disdain for the previous occupant of the seat he inherited by questioning the validity of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ruling, and Brown II in 1955.

The late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American appointed to the court, argued that the American South’s Jim Crow laws of segregation were unconstitutional and restricted quality public school education by means of racial identity.

The first time that the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding segregation was in the Plessy v. Ferguson case where Homer Plessy decided to contest his 1892 arrest in New Orleans. Plessy was ordered to give up his seat on a train to a Euro-American man, as dictated by Louisiana’s Jim Crow laws of segregation, and when he refused, was arrested.

After a loss in the lower courts, Plessy appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to disastrous results. Segregation was judiciously sanctioned in 1896 when Homer Plessy lost his appeal in an 8-1 vote where the Supreme Court ruled against him. In that ruling, Supreme Court Justice Henry Billings wrote that “the object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality…if one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them on the same plane.”

This decision led to the “separate but equal” clause in racial relations in the South. However, “separate” did not necessarily equate to “but equal.” The only dissenter in the Plessy v Ferguson decision was Justice John Marshall Harlen who wrote in his dissent that “our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” It would be Justice Harlen’s dissent in 1896 that would lay the foundation for Thurgood Marshall and his team of litigators, which included Constance Baker Motley, Jack Greenberg, Oliver Hill, Louis Redding, and Spottswood Robinson, almost 60 years later.

Marshall argued that the “separate but equal” segregation laws as it pertained to the public school system were inherently flawed. The public schools were indeed separated by race but were deeply unequal, which was a violation of the “Equal Protection Clause” of the 14th Amendment. Justice Earl Warren stated in his opinion that overturned the previous Court’s decision in 1896’s Plessy v Ferguson “that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.”

American history would acknowledge the fact that even though it would take another thirty years before public schools across the country would be desegregated, the reality remains that the concept of “separate but equal” mantra is still alive and well by way of the suburban public and private school systems and schools of choice. But judging by Justice Thomas’ concurrence in the Alexander v South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, it appears that the conservative Supreme Court Justice believes that the Brown Court overstepped its judicial boundaries. Justice Thomas writes that when the Supreme Court in 1954 abolished the “separate but equal” Jim Crow law of segregation in the public education sector, it “took a boundless view of equitable remedies” due to “the Court’s impatience with the pace of desegregation which led us to approve…extraordinary remedial measures.” In other words, the United States Supreme Court should not have intervened or ruled in favor of the desegregation of public schools and consequently placed a stamp of approval on Jim Crow.

But it is interesting to note that Justice Thomas’ take on the elimination of affirmative action and “separate but equal” philosophy is skewed because in each instance, his own career, too, would have been marginalized being that he is African American.

As usual, Justice Thomas’ impartiality and nonpartisan stance in hotly contested political and social justice cases is always invisible or nonexistent.

The same goes for Justice Sam Alito. When asked about the upside-down American flag hanging outside of his home in 2021 that symbolizes white nationalistic pride and is one of the hallmarks of MAGA supporters, Alito attributed the flag hanging incident to his wife. But after another white nationalistic flag was seen waving at his vacation residence, no comment has been forthcoming from the conservative justice.

Justices Alito and Thomas have zero shame or guilt for accepting extravagant luxury trips and gifts from GOP donors and patrons nor do they see the need to answer to the American public for the impropriety that such patronage dictates. The question that is frequently being asked is whether the highest court of the land is legitimate or are most if not all the conservative appointed justices on the take, bought and paid for. Can the United States Supreme Court be trusted to rule impartially with the best interests of the American people in mind, or will it cave to the whims of the political circus that nominated them to the bench? Lately, the latter seems to be the case.