"Star Trek" actor and gay activist George Takei veered off course in his criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas' same-sex marriage dissent, according to some online critics and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Noting Thomas' language about slaves and people in internment camps not losing their humanity or dignity, Takei tore into Thomas, the only black member currently sitting on the high court.
The remarks were posted onto YouTube:
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"He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court," Takei told Fox 10 in Phoenix on Wednesday. "He gets me that angry. He doesn't belong there."
"And for him to say, slaves have dignity. I mean, doesn't he know that slaves were in chains?" Takei continued. "That they were whipped on the back. If he saw the movie '12 Years a Slave,' you know, they were raped."
Takei's Japanese-American parents were held in internment camps on the U.S. west coast during World War II. He said they lost everything when they were marched at gunpoint to the camp.
"My father's business, our home, our freedom and we're supposed to call that dignified?" he said. "I mean, this man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America."
Thomas' dissent actually noted that human dignity cannot be taken away by governments even when they try, Limbaugh said on his show Thursday.
The actual wording of Thomas' dissent reads:
"Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal' and 'endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,' they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.
"The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away."
"Clearly, the judge was making an appeal to the inherent dignity of man, despite circumstances," Scott Whitlock wrote at Newsbusters.
Alex Griswold said Takei was taking a "rather tortured reading" of Thomas' dissent.
"Thomas wasn't arguing that life under slavery or internment camps was a 'dignified' existence, but that human dignity is an innate, God-given property that can never be squelched, no matter how hard oppressors try," Griswold said.
Limbaugh told his listeners that Takei gets away with it because he is seen as a "good guy."
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