Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Clarence Thomas

Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Clarence Thomas was born in June 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia, and grew up in Savannah with his maternal grandparents. His parents were descendants of American slaves, and the family spoke Gullah as a first language. He was the only black person at his high school in Savannah, where he was an honor student. Raised Catholic, he considered entering the priesthood and attended Saint John Vianney Minor Seminary, later attending Conception Seminary College in Missouri. He earned an undergraduate degree in English literature from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received a deferment from military draft to serve in Vietnam due to having a curvature of the spine. He graduated from Yale Law School with a Juris Doctor.

He was appointed an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri and subsequently entered into the private practice of law. He served as a legislative assistant to Senator John Danforth of Missouri and was appointed Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. President Ronald Reagan appointed him Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Thomas was appointed by President George H.W. Bush for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he served 18 months before being nominated to a seat on the United States Supreme Court. His confirmation hearings before the Senate were bitterly fought, but he was subsequently confirmed by a vote of 52-48, and assumed his position in October 1991, succeeding Justice Thurgood Marshall. He is the longest-serving justice among current Supreme Court members.

He is married to Virginia, and has a son from a previous marriage. He is a Catholic.

In the News…

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a forceful dissent from the high court’s decision not to hear a challenge of a state court decision in Pennsylvania allowing ballots that were received up to three days after Election Day to be counted in last November’s presidential election.

“One wonders what the Court waits for,” Thomas wrote. “We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite the further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.”

He continued, “That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future. These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority non-legislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.”

He was joined in his dissent by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Justice Thomas today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Justice Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court of the United States
1 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20543


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