Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz wrote a letter Monday urging the Smithsonian museum of African-American History and Culture add Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to its museum.
Thomas has not been included in the museum, which opened earlier this year, despite being one of the most influential black lawyers in American history, and one of only two black judges to ever grace the Supreme Court.
But Cruz wants to change all of that. In his four-page letter sent to the Smithsonian, Cruz asked that the museum "include an accurate legacy and biography of Clarence Thomas."
Cruz wrote that he is "deeply disturbed" by the omission of Thomas, "who survived segregation, defeated discrimination, and ascended all the way to the Supreme Court."
"As much as I am grateful for the museum and its efforts to preserve and promote the indispensable, yet oft-neglected, contributions of African Americans to the collective history of our nation, I believe the museum has made a mistake by omitting the enormous legacy and impact of Justice Thomas, as well as his compelling background," the senator wrote.
"I am concerned that millions of Americans, of all ages, races, religions, and walks of life, when passing through this museum, will be subjected to a singular and distorted view of Justice Thomas, an African-American who survived segregation, defeated discrimination, and ascended all the way to the Supreme Court," Cruz added.
Cruz acknowledged that he understands the museum can't crowd its halls with "every bit of information"; however, Thomas' life is unique: "But, with all due respect, Justice Thomas’s story is not just any other story. Rather, it is story uniquely compelling in the annals of United States history, African-American or otherwise."
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Thomas's lack of visibility in the museum became a cause celebre on the right after the museum opened in September. Critics complained that Thomas and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, received less attention in museum exhibits than Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment.
Cruz was one of six GOP senators who introduced a resolution earlier this month arguing Thomas should have a “prominent place” in the museum.
Still, Smithsonian Institution spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said in October that the reason Thomas has been largely excluded from the museum is because it simply didn't have room for his story.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) were also copied on Cruz's letter.