Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President George H. W. Bush and has been serving on the Court since 1991. He is known for his conservative views and his belief in constitutional originalism.
Early Life and Education
Clarence Thomas was born on June 23, 1948, in Pin Point, Georgia. He grew up in a family of ten children and was raised by his mother after his father left the family when he was two years old. He attended a segregated school in Georgia until the age of seven, when he moved with his family to Savannah.
Thomas attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1971. He went on to attend Yale Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1974.
After graduating from law school, Thomas worked for Missouri Attorney General John Danforth as an assistant attorney general from 1974 to 1977. He then worked for Monsanto Company as an attorney from 1977 to 1979.
In 1979, Thomas returned to public service as an Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education. He then served as the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982 to 1990.
Nomination and Confirmation to the Supreme Court
In 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the retirement of Thurgood Marshall. Thomas was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 52-48, after a contentious confirmation hearing that focused on allegations of sexual harassment made by Anita Hill, a former colleague of Thomas’s at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Justice Thomas is known for his conservative views and his belief in constitutional originalism. He believes that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original meaning of its text at the time it was adopted, and that judges should not create new rights or expand existing ones.
Thomas has been a strong supporter of states’ rights and has been critical of the Court’s interpretation of the Commerce Clause, which he believes has been used to justify an expansion of federal power.
Justice Thomas has authored several notable opinions during his time on the Court. Some of these include:
United States v. Lopez (1995) – Thomas wrote the majority opinion in this case, which held that the Gun-Free School Zones Act exceeded Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause.
McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) – Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in this case, which held that the Second Amendment applied to state and local governments through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014) – Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in this case, which held that closely held corporations could be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate on religious grounds.
Justice Thomas’s legacy on the Supreme Court is one of conservatism and adherence to constitutional originalism. He has been a consistent voice for limited government and individual liberty, and has been willing to take bold stances on controversial issues.
Despite facing intense criticism and controversy during his confirmation, Thomas has remained a respected and influential member of the Court, and his opinions have been cited by other justices and legal scholars.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been a prominent figure in American law and politics for over three decades. His conservative views and commitment to constitutional originalism have made him a controversial and influential member of the Court, and his opinions continue to shape the legal landscape of the United States.
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