Clarence Thomas

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Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas official SCOTUS portrait.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Assumed office
October 23, 1991
Nominated byGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byThurgood Marshall
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
March 12, 1990 – October 23, 1991
Nominated byGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byRobert Bork
Succeeded byJudith Rogers
Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
In office
May 6, 1982 – March 12, 1990
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byEleanor Holmes Norton
Succeeded byEvan Kemp
Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office for Civil Rights
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byCynthia Brown
Succeeded byHarry Singleton
Personal details
Born (1948-06-23) June 23, 1948 (age 73)
Pin Point, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican[1]
Kathy Ambush
(m. 1971; div. 1984)

Virginia Lamp (m. 1987)
EducationConception Seminary College
College of the Holy Cross (BA)
Yale University (JD)

Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.[2] Thomas has been a Justice since 1991. He is the only African-American currently on the court. He is also the second African American to ever serve on the court. The only other African American was Thurgood Marshall. During his confirmation process, Professor Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Regardless, Thomas was confirmed in October 1991.

Early life[change | change source]

Clarence Thomas was born in Pin Point, Georgia.[3] His father left his family when he was only two years old.[4] He did not meet his son Clarence again until Clarence was nine years old.[5] This left his mother, Leola Anderson, to take care of the family.

Clarence and his brother were sent to live with his mother's parents in Savannah, Georgia.[6] His grandfather wanted him to become a priest. Thomas was sent to St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, an all-white boarding school near Savannah.[3] In 1968 he transferred to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.[7] He gave up all ideas of becoming a priest after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.. Thomas then obtained a law degree at Yale University.[7]

Career[change | change source]

After Yale he returned to Missouri and worked for State Attorney General, John Danforth.[3] in 1977 Danforth was elected to the U.S. Senate. Thomas became a corporate lawyer for the Monsanto Company. Two years later he became Danforth's legislative aide in Washington, D.C..[3] President Ronald Reagan offered Thomas a job as the assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education.[3] He then became the chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush.[3] In 1991, Thurgood Marshall retired from the Supreme Court. Bush nominated Thomas to replace him.[3]

Supreme Court[change | change source]

He had a hard time getting approved so that he could become a Supreme Court justice. This was partly because one of his former employees, Anita Hill, claimed that he sexually harassed her.[8] Thomas said that was not true. The Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 52-48. All Republicans, except Bob Packwood of Oregon and James Jeffords of Vermont, voted for confirmation.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. Miller, Anita (2005). The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas - Anita Hill Hearings: October 11, 12, 13, 1991. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-0-89733-408-2.
  2. Thomas, Clarence, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir, HarperCollins Publishers New York, New York, 2007, page 3
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Clarence Thomas". The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  4. Hall, Timothy L., Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary, Facts on File, Inc., New York, New York, page 421
  5. Thomas, Clarence, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir, HarperCollins Publishers New York, New York, 2007, page 1
  6. "Clarence Thomas Biography". Bio. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Alumni Success Stories". College of the Holy Cross. Archived from the original on 15 November 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  8. Newcomb, Horace editor Encyclopedia of Television Second Edition Volume 1 Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers Chicago 2004 page 1092
  9. Horvitz, Paul F. (16 October 1991). "Senate Confirms Thomas, 52-48, Following a Final, Bitter Debate". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2015.