Mitchell Spreads Disinformation About Thomas Condemning Brown v. Board

News & Politics

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell spread straight-up disinformation on her Friday show as she accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of condemning the famous 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education that ruled segregation unconstitutional because, apparently, nobody at MSNBC knows how to read.

The context was the Court ruling that South Carolina did not do anything illegal in not drawing a second district where black voters would’ve made a substantial portion of the electorate. Addressing the NCAAP’s Janai Nelson, Mitchell read, “something that really was striking to me is Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion with the majority, he also went after Brown v. Board of Education, saying quote ‘such extravagant uses of judicial power are at odds with the history and tradition of the equity power and the Framers’ design.’”

Flabbergasted, she continued, “Now, Clarence Thomas took the seat of Thurgood Marshall, who argued Brown v. Board for the Legal Defense Fund. This landmark case that changed America forever. So, I’m just– I can’t get over that. Tell me what your reaction is.”

Most people know Brown was decided in 1954 and banned segregation, but fewer people are aware of a second case decided in 1955 with the same name. It was that one Thomas was criticizing. Here’s what he wrote in full context:

The Court’s ‘impatience with the pace of desegregation’ caused by resistance to Brown v. Board of Education, … ‘led us to approve . . . extraordinary remedial measures,’ … In the follow-on case to Brown, the Court considered ‘the manner in which relief [was] to be accorded’ for vindication of ‘the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional.’ Brown v. Board of Education, … (1955) (Brown II). In doing so, the Court took a boundless view of equitable remedies, describing equity as being “characterized by a practical flexibility in shaping its remedies and by a facility for adjusting and reconciling public and private needs. That understanding may have justified temporary measures to ‘overcome the widespread resistance to the dictates of the Constitution’ prevalent at that time, but, as a general matter, ‘[s]uch extravagant uses of judicial power are at odds with the history and tradition of the equity power and the Framers’ design.’”

Thomas clearly wrote “Brown II” and was clearly not condemning desegregation. Of course, Nelson wasn’t going to call Mitchell out on her disinformation. Instead, she also claimed Thomas was talking about Brown I and accused Thomas of being the one spreading fake news, “Well, we know Justice Thomas took the seat, but he did not fill it and what he did in disseminating disinformation about a landmark decision whose commemoration we just honored this past Friday, 70 years since Brown we see a Supreme Court justice who benefitted from Brown, as did every American, castigating that case, misconstruing it and suggesting that it stands for something that it does not.”

Andrea Mitchell has been forced to issue multiple corrections for spreading fake news. It is time she does so again.

Here is a transcript for the May 24 show:

MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports

5/24/2024

12:49 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And also, Janai, something that really was striking to me is Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion with the majority, he also went after Brown v. Board of Education, saying quote “such extravagant uses of judicial power are at odds with the history and tradition of the equity power and the Framers’ design.”

Now, Clarence Thomas took the seat of Thurgood Marshall, who argued Brown v. Board for the Legal Defense Fund. This landmark case that changed America forever. So, I’m just– I can’t get over that. Tell me what your reaction is.

JANAI NELSON: Well, we know Justice Thomas took the seat, but he did not fill it and what he did in disseminating disinformation about a landmark decision whose commemoration we just honored this past Friday, 70 years since Brown we see a Supreme Court justice who benefitted from Brown, as did every American, castigating that case, misconstruing it and suggesting that it stands for something that it does not.

Brown requires that we provide equal access to our democracy through education, and it’s anchored in the idea of citizenship. Brown said that one of the most important functions of local and state government is to provide an education for purposes of citizenship, and citizenship could not be more clearly exercised than through the voting process, and what the Supreme Court has done in Alexander v. South Carolina is completely distort that process, manipulate it, and allow partisan actors to completely capture that process in a way that directly harms black voters. It’s an invitation to exploit black voters for partisan gain.

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