Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas is a renowned personality, currently serving as a Conservative Associate Justice in the American Supreme Court. Born in Pin Point, Georgia on June 23, 1948, Thomas served as a law-abiding judicial nominee under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. What distinguishes him from other great names in American Judicial history is the fact that he is only the second African-American to have served for the Court. Thomas spent most of his early childhood in Savannah, Georgia and was quite destitute during this time. After his father left him at the age of two, Thomas together with his siblings often spent their days on a few pennies worth of food.

Taking his grandfather as a role model, Thomas, given the severe restrictions in the society he grew up in, worked hard to get to where he is today. He went to Holy Cross College, Massachusetts and Yale University Law School for his education in law. While Thomas had first considered a career in religion as per his grandfather’s requests, the death of Martin Luther King and the responses generated by the people had a deep impact on his future.

After taking up law in Yale, he moved back to the South to seek employment in Missouri. He started off as assistant to Missouri Attorney General John Danforth. He decided to stay in Missouri, and became a lawyer for the agricultural company Monsanto. Serving here for another year, he then took his first administrative job in the Reagan Administration in 1981 as Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office for Civil Rights. For the eight years between 1982 and 1990, he served as Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, addressing issues concerning teenage pregnancy, unemployment and illiteracy. He took on some serious initiatives for collaboration between Blacks and Whites in the Reagan administration, seeing how African Americans continued to complain about the President.

Clarence Thomas next moved to the Federal Judge level, after George H. W. Bush nominated him to serve in the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. After serving for 19 months on the Senate, the retirement of liberal Supreme Court judge Thurgood Marshall sparked Thomas’s nomination as his successor. This clash of conservative and liberal views was to be a source of constant critique and controversy for the next few years. Despite allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, a ex-coworker of Thomas, he was sworn in as Supreme Court judge on October 15, 1991.  Thomas’s controversial takes on issues such as abortion, civil rights, affirmative actions and gay rights has sparked common controversy with liberal viewpoints and those holding the liberal flag. Thomas is known to be rather quiet while hearing proceedings in court, and is also renowned for siding with his conservative peers when making judgments. Most famous of these voting alignments is that with Justice Antonin Scalia, reaching as far as 98% in in 1996. At the same time, Thomas was also known to be a frequent dissenter ranked third in between 1994 to 2004.

Apart from spending time in court, Clarence Thomas likes to read and watch television in his free time. He is a supporter of the Dallas Cowboys, and is also a car enthusiast. He has written a memoir in 2007, titled My Grandfather’s Son.

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