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 divorced from Kathy with whom he has one child and is married to Virginia. He is a Catholic.

In the News…

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action has no place in the consideration of student admissions to institutions of higher learning. Justice Clarence Thomas, who concurred with the majority, has since faced backlash. 

In a concurring opinion, he wrote, “The great failure of this country was slavery and its progeny. And, the tragic failure of this Court was its misinterpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments, as Justice Harlan predicted in Plessy. We should not repeat this mistake merely because we think, as our predecessors thought, that the present arrangements are superior to the Constitution.” 

“While I am painfully aware of the social and economic ravages which have befallen my race and all who suffer discrimination, I hold out enduring hope that this country will live up to its principles so clearly enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States: that all men are created equal, are equal citizens, and must be treated equally before the law,” he said. 

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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