Today we are at the mid-point in our introductions to Supreme Court Justices. Several things in this man’s biography set him apart. Some are obvious. Others not so much.
Clarence Thomas was born and raised in the Savannah, GA area. He is the only member of the court from the South, the only African-American, the sole member to have studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood (left seminary before ordination), and the only member discussed thus far to have not attended Harvard Law School. His law degree is from Yale.
Justice Thomas worked for a corporation prior to his first government duties, aide to Senator John Danforth. His first experience as a judge came in a US Appeals Court and lasted less than two years before he was appointed to his current position.
His confirmation by the Senate was widely discussed in the media. Some thought he lacked judicial experience. Others stepped forward at the hearings and introduced the term and concept of “sexual harassment” into public conversation. In the end, he was confirmed by a narrow margin.
Today he rarely asks questions during oral arguments, preferring to work quietly and within the confines of the court rules. His views are conservative. To the disappointment of many, this includes opposition to affirmative action.