In his own very special version of a history lesson, MSNBC Host Chris Matthews on Monday questioned whether the current U.S. Supreme Court, which he called the most "conservative court since the 1930s," would have overturned segregation laws in the 1950s or upheld landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
The irony meter shot through the roof when Matthews was hinting that the "conservative" Supreme Court was somehow racist while a shot of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas showed on the screen. He claimed the two men "personified" the court. Thomas is black.
Maybe someone should tell Matthews because by his estimation, Thomas would have joined other justices and voted to keep himself and his family segregated and would have not upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed various forms of discrimination against African-Americans.
Watch Matthews' "Let Me Finish" segment, below.
Matthews also argued the current SCOTUS would not have ruled in favor of banning organized prayers in school in the 1960s and would have outlawed abortion in the 1970s.
On what basis did he make such bold accusations? Matthews says because the conservative members of the Supreme Court believe in the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers, they are automatically flawed in their judgment because the "Founding Fathers – need I remind us all – wrote slavery into the Constitution. It took a Civil War and the 13th Amendment to get it out," he added.
Here's all of what the MSNBC host had to say:
Does anyone wonder like I do what this Supreme Court – the one personified by Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — would have done with the landmark decisions in the post-World War II era," Matthews said. "I wonder if this court would have backed desegregation in the Brown case. I doubt this pack of conservatives, which includes Chief Justice John Roberts, Sam Alito and Anthony Kennedy, would have voted to knock down 'separate but equal' in the 1950s.
I doubt this group would have removed organized prayer from public schools back in the 1960s – that decision that ignited the moral majority.
I doubt that this court would have recognized a woman’s right to decide on an abortion in the 1970s.
Let me proffer a tougher judgment: would this court – voting as it does today – have upheld the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, which declared it illegal to refuse access to someone because of race to a restaurant, hotel or a gas station restroom?
Would Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito have approved such a decision, or would they have joined the dissent? Well, maybe Kennedy would have.
The fact is that we have the most conservative court since the early 1930s, and maybe more conservative than that. These justices, led by Scalia, believe in original intent. They want to judge cases the way the Founding Fathers would. Well, the Founding Fathers – need I remind us all – wrote slavery into the Constitution. It took a Civil War and the 13th Amendment to get it out.
It's possible that Matthews was perturbed or frustrated after SCOTUS upheld the most controversial portion of Arizona's immigration law, the so-called "show me your papers" provision. Still, the premise of speculating what a group of justices would or would not have done in decades past seems a little extreme.
And even though Matthews regularly accuses conservatives of being racist, it is even less convincing when he apparently accuses a black Supreme Court Justice of harboring racist ideology.
This story has updated with additional information.