Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to succeed Thurgood Marshall and has served since 1991.
Jun 24, 2022 · Clarence Thomas, (born June 23, 1948, Pinpoint, near Savannah, Georgia, U.S.), associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1991, the second African American to serve on the court. Appointed to replace Thurgood Marshall, the court’s first African American member, Thomas gave the court a decisive conservative cast.
- Background and Early Years
- Legal Career
- Controversial Nomination and Anita Hill
- Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas was born on June 23, 1948. He grew up in the small African American community of Pin Point, Georgia, with his older sister Emma Mae and younger brother Myers Lee. His father disappeared early on in his life, and the family divided even further when he was nine years old. Struggling financially, his mother sent him and his brother to...
Before he became a justice, Thomas had pursued other ambitions. His grandfather encouraged him to pursue a religious life. During high school, Thomas decided to transfer to St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, a first step to becoming a Catholic priest. He graduated in 1967 and then continued his studies at Conception Abbey Seminary in Missouri. The as...
Thomas returned to the South to work as an assistant to Missouri Attorney General John Danforth after earning his degree. After several years as a lawyer for the agricultural giant Monsanto, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he eventually received several appointments from President Ronald Reagan. His most prominent post was as the chair of the E...
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush tapped Thomas to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the court. The two men could not have been more different. Marshall was widely known as a liberal jurist and for his civil rights work before taking the bench. Critics, on the other hand, attacked Tho...
Since his appointment in 1991, Thomas has often sided with his fellow conservatives on the court, especially Justice Antonin Scalia. He has opposed decisions in favor of affirmative action, such as the 2003 ruling that continued the program at the University of Michigan's law school. While he usually declines interviews, Thomas, based on his opinio...
Clarence Thomas, Self: Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words. Clarence Thomas was born on June 23, 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia, USA. He is known for Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words (2020), Billy Yeager v. NPR Enemy of the People and Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (2013). He has been married to Ginni Thomas since May 30, 1987. He was previously married to Kate Ambush.
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Clarence Thomas grew up speaking a language of the enslaved on the shores of Georgia. He'd become the most powerful Black man in America, using the powers of the Supreme Court to hold back his ...
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1991 - Present: Associate justice, Supreme Court of the United States1990-1991: Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit1982-1990:Chairman, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)1981-1982: Assistant secretary of education, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
- Professional Career
- Early Life and Education
- Approach to The Law
- Judicial Nominations and Appointments
- Supreme Court Statistics
- Noteworthy Events
- Recent News
- See Also
- External Links
Thomas attended high school in Savannah, Georgia, where he was an honors student. Raised Roman Catholic, Justice Thomas considered entering the priesthood at the age of 16 and attended St. John Vianney's Minor Seminary (Savannah) on the Isle of Hope. At a nun's suggestion, Thomas attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. A...
Thomas is considered a judicial conservative adhering to the principle of originalism. Nina Totenberg of NPR called Thomas the "Supreme Court's Conservative Beacon" in July 2019. Oyez, a law project created by Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law, said in 2019 that Thomas "has shown his opinions to lean far...
United States Supreme Court
On July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall. President Bush said that Thomas was the "best qualified [nominee] at this time." He received a unanimous qualified rating from the American Bar Association. Thomas' formal Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings started on September 10, 1991, and ended on October 13, 1991. They occurred over 12 meetings of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee sent Thomas on without recommendation to t...
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed Thomas to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Thomas served on the court for one year until he was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Opinions by year
Below is a table of the number of opinions, concurrences and dissents that Thomas has issued since joining the Supreme Court, according to the data on Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and the website SCOTUSblog.This information is updated annually at the end of each term.
In the 2021 term, Thomas had the highest agreement rate with Samuel Alito. Thomas had the highest disagreement rate with Sonia Sotomayor. In the 2020 term, Thomas agreed in judgment only the most often with Neil Gorsuch. He disagreed most often with Sonia Sotomayor. The table below highlights Thomas' agreement and disagreement rates with each justice on the court during that term.
Frequency in majority
In the 2021 term, Thomas was in the majority in 80 percent of decisions. Thomas was in the majority more often than four of the nine justices. In the 2020 term, Thomas was in the majority in 81 percent of decisions, more than three of the other justices. Since the 2011 term, Thomas has been in the majority 80 percent of the time or more six times. Across those terms, he has been in the majority on average in 78 percent of all cases.
Anita Hill allegations
Toward the end of Thomas' confirmation process, an FBI interview with Anita Hill, an attorney who had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and the EEOC, was leaked. Hill was called to testify at Thomas' confirmation hearings, where she alleged that Thomas had subjected her to inappropriate harassing comments of a sexual nature. Thomas denied the allegations, stating:
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