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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sparked debate this week with remarks he made during an appearance at Florida’s Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thomas claimed he’s been more persecuted by “northern liberal elites” than he ever was growing up in the segregated South. The “NewsOne Now” panel got heated Wednesday discussing whether or not Thomas should chime in on issues of race.

“Since when do we listen to what Clarence Thomas says about race anyway,” asked panelist Hazel Trice Edney. “I don’t feel he really is an authority on what black people are thinking.”

“Who is an authority,” conservative panelist Kevin Martin of Project 21 quickly retorted. Edney went on to explain that Thomas is considered a “sell out” by a great many black Americans, who believe he “got where he is simply because he wanted to be where he is, not because of what’s going on with African Americans.” She questioned the Justice’s motives in wading into the topic of race to make the comments when he has failed to do so in high-profile cases like that of Troy Davis in his hometown of Savannah, Georgia.

Check out more of the tense exchange below.

Be sure to listen to “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 7 a.m. EST and watch at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.