What an unbelievable hack Clarence Thomas is. He dissented in a Supreme Court decision filed after a prisoner in North Carolina was brutally assaulted by a guard after he asked for a grievance form. The case found his treatment to be a violation of the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Thomas, along with Antonin Scalia, dissented because "Judges -- not jailers -- impose punishment." They chose to reach back to the 1689 English Bill of Rights to define the word "punishment." Under their view, the cruel and unusual punishment clause only limits the actions of judges - once you're in the penal system, the gloves are off, apparently.
This little tidbit was reported in a Los Angeles Times article which reviews Thomas's ongoing fight to justify torture and brutality, backed by Scalia. And this blog entry builds on that to show his influence in the torture policies of the US government in recent years. Seems most of the lawyers who wrote the justifications for torture were once Thomas's clerks. Good read, both of those pieces.