Actor Samuel L. Jackson criticized Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, referring to him as "Uncle Clarence" for jeopardizing the legal right to interracial marriage with the SCOTUS decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that once protected a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
The decision on Roe, which hinged on a right to privacy that while not explicitly granted in the United States Constitution was nonetheless accepted per the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (which grants all citizens “equal protection of the laws"), suggested other Supreme Court rulings, such as those regarding contraception, same-sex and interracial marriage, are now in doubt.
Thomas suggested in a solo concurring opinion that established gay rights (Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges) and contraception rights (Griswold v. Connecticut) should be reconsidered now that the federal right to reproductive freedom has been revoked, calling them "demonstrably erroneous" and calling on the Court to "correct the error."
But nowhere in his concurring opinion did Thomas mention Loving v. Virginia, a landmark civil rights decision in which the Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Thomas, who is Black, is married to Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a hardline conservative activist who happens to be White.
This fact was not lost on Jackson, who inquired how "Uncle Clarence"—referring to the excessively servile Black character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin—feels about overturning the Loving decision.
This hypocrisy was also noted by Jackson's many fans, who joined him in criticizing Thomas.
Thomas is widely held to be the Court's most conservative member. He believes the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids consideration of race, such as race-based affirmative action or preferential treatment.
His views on race have fascinated legal scholars as well as members of the public who've noted that they appear rooted in a form of Black nationalism that sees governmental attempts to address racism as either futile or counterproductive.
Ultimately, his critics have labeled him an "Uncle Tom" – another reference to Stowe's literary creation – and, more recently, "Uncle Ruckus," a reference to a fictional character on the animated sitcom The Boondocks who is internally racist, repeatedly proclaiming his love for the White race and disdain of the Black race to the point that he even identifies as Caucasian, saying he suffers from "reverse vitiligo."
Jackson's criticisms of Thomas are also notable because of the critical acclaim he received in 2012 playing the role of Stephen Warren, a house slave who sells out his Black cohort, in Quentin Tarantino's revisionist western Django Unchained.
Ginni Thomas, meanwhile, has been mired in controversy in recent months in light of the news that she actively worked with members of former President Donald Trump's administration to overturn the results of the 2020 general election, which Democrat Joe Biden won decisively.
A petition to impeach Thomas garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures after the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021 requested that his wife testify about her involvement in efforts to subvert the electoral process.