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Clarence Thomas

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—Clarence Thomas
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain

Clarence Thomas (born 1948) is a radical wingnut and strict constructionist member of the Supreme Court. He is also the second African American to be elevated to the Supreme Court, and the only African American currently so honored (he succeeded the first, Thurgood Marshall.) In his early years, he was seen as little more than an echo of Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of the court. However, in recent years Thomas has become more vocal, and started staking out positions — often further to the right than even Scalia.

Justice Thomas hasn't been big on giving the world glimpses into his thought processes. With alarming consistency, he cosigns whatever Nino says, with no further comment. Like a solar eclipse or the bloom of a corpse flower, the release of an actual opinion from Justice Thomas is a rare event noteworthy for that fact alone. Perhaps we should all be grateful the man does not attempt self-expression on a more regular basis. (Gay marriage is just like slavery![1])

Confirmation controversies[edit]

Anita Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If it wasn't clear to everyone at the time, it's since become clear that Thomas lied to the Judiciary Committee when he stated that he never sexually harassed Anita Hill.[note 1] The evidence amassed by investigative journalists over the years is simply too great to claim otherwise.
—Corey Robin, Thomas' biographer[2]:163

George H.W. Bush could've nominated Chris Rock to the SCOTUS and gotten him on the bench. Bush was still high on his post-Gulf War victory and approval ratings. Unfortunately, Thomas was less qualified than Chris Rock to be nominated for the court.[3] It's almost as if it was a purely-political appointment designed to help wage the GOP's culture wars without any regard to the court's proper function or purpose.

During his confirmation hearings, Anita HillWikipedia (a former clerk of his) stepped forward and claimed to have been sexually harassed by Thomas. Conservatives blasted her, even calling her "a little bit slutty and a little bit nutty."[4] Many liberals rallied to her defense, especially women's groups. In the end, despite a Democratic majority in the Senate, Thomas was approved for the Supreme Court. Many said that Ted Kennedy, a high ranking member of the Judiciary Committee who played a key role in spiking the nomination of the similarly extreme conservative judge Robert Bork just a few years earlier, was personally unable to do anything about Thomas due to his own marital issues in that era.


On February 22, 2006, he spoke from the bench. He didn't say a word from there to any lawyer until 2013; when he responded to Justice Scalia's comment about a lawyer attending Yale Law school, he said, "Well, he did not." Although some say he purposely said that,[5] others think he was really making a side joke to Antonin Scalia.[6] Whatever it is, Clarence has not asked a question from the bench in court. For over 10 years he has done nothing but stare at the ceiling.[7] It is a nice ceiling. So, in fifty years, when your grandchildren ask you, "Did Clarence Thomas do a good job?" you can answer "Well, he did not."

Corruption — So What![edit]

Thomas is perhaps the most corrupt Supreme Court justice in recent memory. He has spent 20 years filing false financial statements — a crime that he will likely never be convicted of due to his position of power and the political gridlock in Congress.[8] Furthermore, he did not recuse himself from the Citizens United case despite Citizens United having spent $100,000 on his behalf to support his nomination to the court.[9]

Thomas for president?[edit]

In 2012, some Republicans, not thrilled with the crop of candidates, began suggesting that should the nomination come down to a brokered convention, Thomas would be a possible choice for president.[10] In retrospect, they could have done worse.


Thomas was one of five current (2013) Supreme Court Justices to officiate at a wedding, his gig being the marriage of Rush Limbaugh and "aerobics instructor" Marta Maranda Fitzgerald on May 27, 1994. The wedding was held in Thomas' home in Virginia. The couple later (2004) divorced.[11] Thomas also attended Limbaugh's next wedding, to Kathryn Rogers in June 2010, but he was not working that one, just partying.[12]

One better display of Thomas[edit]

On June 18, 2015, Thomas joined his Supreme Court liberal colleagues in ruling in favor of Texas rejecting license plate designs that feature the Confederate flag. A Texas board found "a significant portion of the public associate the confederate flag with organizations advocating expressions of hate directed toward people or groups".[13][14]

Black nationalist[edit]

Corey Robin, in his book The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, argued that Thomas's ultra-conservatism is fundamentally rooted in black nationalist ideas, specifically a belief that racism is too deep-rooted in the white American psyche to even try to correct, leading him to conclude that black people should be establishing self-reliance separate from white America and that measures supporting racial integration ultimately amount to "white paternalism" that leave black people worse off.[15][2] Thomas' black nationalism is one that is misogynist, that sees the role of the black woman as subservient to the black man.[2]{{rp|28,150[16]

See Also[edit]


  1. Lying under oath to Congress is a felony.


  1. "Justice Clarence Thomas's anti-gay-marriage argument is that slavery wasn't so bad", Aaron Sankin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Enigma of Clarence Thomas by Corey Robin (2019) Metropolitan Books. ISBN 1627793836.
  3. Lewis, Neil A., "Bar Association Splits on Fitness Of Thomas for the Supreme Court", NYT 8.29.91.
  4. A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court,, October 23, 2010
  7. Liptak, Adam, "It’s Been 10 Years. Would Clarence Thomas Like to Add Anything?", NYT 2.1.16.
  9. Clarence Thomas Fails To Disclose Citizens United In-Kind Contributions
  10. The Daily Beast: Clarence Thomas Is a Long Shot for President, But His Candidacy Makes a Lot of Sense
  13. Supreme Court: Texas doesn’t have to allow Confederate flag license plates
  14. Clarence Thomas Joins Supreme Court Liberals in Ruling Against Confederate Flag Rights
  15. Illing, Sean. "The enigma of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas." Vox, 15 October 2019 (recovered 15 October 2019).
  16. The Supreme Court Justice With The Most To Say (November 8, 2019) On the Media.