U.S. Senator Ted Cruz Calls Out the Smithsonian

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Written by Chris Pandolfo

United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling on the leaders of the Smithsonian Institution to include a fair portrayal of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas‘ legacy in the museum’s “Making a Way Out of No Way” exhibit.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture opened to great fanfare in September, but drew fire from the Right for excluding Justice Thomas — just the second African-American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most conservatives could only speculate the exclusion was due to Thomas’ conservative political leanings.

Thomas lived through abject poverty and racial discrimination in Georgia to rise to a seat on the nation’s highest court of law, cementing his place in American history as one of the Court’s greatest constitutional minds.

In a letter addressed to the African-American museum director, Sen. Cruz described Thomas’ life as “uniquely compelling in the annals of United States history, African-American or otherwise”:

In summary, Justice Thomas climbed from Pin Point, Georgia, prejudice, and poverty to the pinnacle of the legal profession, to where he is now an intellectual leader on a Supreme Court that is more influential than ever in the most powerful nation on earth.  And on top of that, as I can attest from my personal experience as a law clerk at the Supreme Court, he is well known behind the scenes as one of the most jovial, down-to-earth, and gracious personalities to ever don the robe.  Stories of his kindness, generosity, and humility abound.

As such, I became deeply disturbed upon learning that Justice Thomas’s moving story and incredible contributions to the country are not even mentioned, much less discussed in detail, in the new museum.  Making matters worse, the only reference to Justice Thomas is in regard to a single individual’s controversial accusation against him at his Senate confirmation hearing twenty-five years ago—an accusation that was contradicted by numerous witnesses and rejected by the Washington Post, the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the American public at the time.  I am concerned that millions of Americans, of all ages, races, religions, and walks of life, when passing through this museum, will be subjected to a singular and distorted view of Justice Thomas, an African-American who survived segregation, defeated discrimination, and ascended all the way to the Supreme Court.

CNS News previously reached out to the museum to investigate the reasoning behind Thomas’ alarming absence. The museum’s response indicated that Thomas’ story was one of “many” to be left out.

“There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them,” chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, Linda St. Thomas, told CNS in an email. “However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.”

“I fully understand that a museum cannot include every bit of relevant information, nor can it tell every tale,” Cruz wrote. “But, with all due respect, Justice Thomas’s story is not just any other story.”

“To be clear,” Cruz explained. “I am not petitioning for a partisan hagiography of Justice Thomas, nor am I asking that everything critical of him be excluded.  I am simply requesting that a fair and accurate portrayal of his powerful story be included, for the great benefit of millions of future museum-goers.”

You can read U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s full letter here.


This article was originally posted at ConservativeReview.com

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