Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) says he wants to build a “collegial” relationship with his Democrat counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (search). But the fighting has already begun over judicial appointments.

Sen. Reid seems particularly put out about the possibility of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (search) becoming chief justice. When asked whether Justice Thomas would be up to the chief justice job, Sen. Reid answered, “I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written.”

When later asked to name a specific opinion that Justice Thomas had written poorly, Sen. Reid mentioned a relatively obscure case called Hillside Dairy. He compared the opinions of Justice Thomas and fellow Justice Antonin Scalia (search) on the case, saying: “It's like looking at an eighth-grade dissertation compared to somebody who just graduated from Harvard.”

In fact, it turns out that Justice Scalia didn’t even write his own opinion for the case mentioned by Sen. Reid. And Justice Thomas’s two-sentence opinion in that case actually referred the reader to a past opinion. As for Sen. Reid’s comment that Justice Thomas is an “embarrassment” to the court, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus (search) warned his fellow Democrat: “I think all of us ought to focus more on substance and less on stereotypes and caricatures.”

That’s the new “collegial” congress.

And that’s the Asman Observer.

Watch David Asman on "FOX News Live" weekdays at noon ET.

David Asman joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as host of "Forbes on FOX," a weekend half-hour program that offers an informative look at the business week (Saturday from 11:00-11:30 AM/ET). Asman is also an anchor on FOX Business Network, where he co-hosts "After the Bell" (4-5 PM/ET) with anchor Melissa Francis.