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Justice Clarence Thomas

Self Description

December 2005: "Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, was born in the Pin Point community of Georgia Savannah June 23, 1948. He married Virginia Lamp in 1987 and has one child, Jamal Adeen, by a previous marriage. He attended Conception Seminary and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974, and served as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri from 1974–1977, an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977–1979, and Legislative Assistant to Senator John Danforth from 1979–1981. From 1981–1982, he served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and as Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982–1990. He became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat October 23, 1991."

Third-Party Descriptions

June 2013: 'At trial, Salinas did not testify, but prosecutors described his reportedly uncomfortable reaction to the question about his shotgun. Salinas argued this violated his Fifth Amendment rights: He had remained silent, and the Supreme Court had previously made clear that prosecutors can’t bring up a defendant’s refusal to answer the state’s questions. This time around, however, Justice Samuel Alito blithely responded that Salinas was “free to leave” and did not assert his right to remain silent. He was silent. But somehow, without a lawyer, and without being told his rights, he should have affirmatively “invoked” his right to not answer questions. Two other justices signed on to Alito’s opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia joined the judgment, but for a different reason; they think Salinas had no rights at all to invoke before his arrest (they also object to Miranda itself). The upshot is another terrible Roberts Court ruling on confessions. In 2010 the court held that a suspect did not sufficiently invoke the right to remain silent when he stubbornly refused to talk, after receiving his Miranda warnings, during two hours of questioning. Now people have to somehow invoke the right to remain silent even when they’re not formal suspects and they haven’t been heard the Miranda warnings. As Orin Kerr points out on the Volokh Conspiracy, this just isn’t realistic.'

March 2012: 'The Supreme Court recognized that its decision must make “little sense” to plaintiffs who sue generic drug companies. However, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court, “Congress and the F.D.A. retain the authority to change the law and regulations if they so desire.”'

June 2011: "Three years ago, for example, the chief justice voted with an 8-to-1 majority (only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented) in holding that school administrators had violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure by forcing a 13-year-old girl to strip in order to search her underwear for illicit prescription medication. And just last year, he joined a 6-to-3 decision that barred a sentence of life without parole for crimes other than murder committed by those under the age of 18."

June 2011: "Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer filed separate dissents. Justice Thomas said the drafters of the First Amendment did not understand it to protect minors’ free speech rights."

June 2011: 'The court split along conservative-liberal lines. "It is beyond dispute that the federal statutes and regulations that apply to brand-name drug manufacturers are meaningfully different than those that apply to generic drug manufacturers," said Justice Clarence Thomas. "Indeed it is the special, and different, regulation of generic drugs that allowed the generic drug market to expand, bringing drugs more quickly and cheaply to the public."'

June 2011: "In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said the answer to the simple question the court had agreed to decide is that there is no constitutional right to counsel for people facing jail for civil contempt. He also objected to the court’s decision to fashion safeguards based on suggestions from the federal government, which was not a party to the case."

June 2011: "In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow’s largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges."

June 2010: 'Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter. He said the state's decision to disclose the names on all petitions is unconstitutional "because there will always be a less restrictive means by which Washington can vindicate its stated interest in preserving the integrity of its referendum process."'

May 2010: 'Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a stinging dissent, making the now-familiar argument that interpreting the Eighth Amendment according to evolving societal standards is "entirely the court's creation."'

May 2010: '“The fact that the federal government has the authority to imprison a person for the purpose of punishing him for a federal crime — sex-related or otherwise — does not provide the government with the additional power to exercise indefinite civil control over that person,” Justice Thomas wrote.'

March 2010: 'Into the heightened political atmosphere between the Supreme Court and the Obama administration comes now Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, who is founder of a new nonprofit lobbying and political-organizing group catering to the "citizen activists" of the "tea party" movement.'

February 2010: 'Justice Clarence Thomas objected to the 14-day period, saying the majority provided no justification for why that was a better fit for the Fifth Amendment's self-incrimination clause than "zero, 10 or 100 days." Justice John Paul Stevens did not agree to it, saying it was too short, especially if police had made no effort in the meantime to find the suspect a lawyer.'

June 2009: 'Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter. "Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment," he wrote.'

June 2009: 'A decision concurring in part and dissenting in part was written by Justice Clarence Thomas and was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr., a group that did not share Justice Scalia’s view through the clouded lens of history. “The statutory term ‘visitorial powers’ is susceptible to more than one meaning,” Justice Thomas wrote, “and the agency’s construction is reasonable” and thus should be deferred to.'

April 2009: 'Justice Thomas, in a concurrence, said he was “open to reconsideration” of two cases that gave television broadcasters far less First Amendment protection than books, newspapers, cable programs and Web sites have.'

May 2009: 'In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said the majority’s opinion had “dangerous implications for the executive’s ability to discharge his duties as commander in chief” and “openly flouts our well-established duty to respect the executive’s judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs.”'

June 2008: "In dissenting Thursday, Justice Clarence Thomas said that, while he thought the Second Circuit was wrong in putting the burden on workers, other elements of the case required him to support its judgment. Justice Stephen G. Breyer did not take part in the case, apparently because his private investments would have created a conflict."

June 2008: "Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said Mr. Cuellar’s conviction had to be overturned because the applicable section of the 1986 law required that Mr. Cuellar knew that the purpose — not merely the effect — of his transporting the money was to conceal or disguise its illicit nature."

March 2008: 'In the dissenting opinion, Justices Thomas and Scalia said that because it was not clear that the jurors were struck on the basis of race, there was no reason for the court to “second guess” the judge.'

January 2008: '"Congress could not have chosen a more all-encompassing phrase than 'any other law enforcement officer' " to show that it intended broad immunity, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority. Therefore, the law "forecloses lawsuits against the United States for the unlawful detention of property by 'any' not just 'some,' law enforcement officers."'

November 2007: 'The only justice to have expressed such an appetite is Clarence Thomas. In 1997, he wrote a concurring opinion in a decision invalidating a federal requirement for local sheriffs to perform background checks on gun buyers. The case concerned states’ rights, not the Second Amendment, but Justice Thomas took the opportunity to issue what was, in context, a surprising invitation. “This court has not had recent occasion to consider the nature of the substantive right safeguarded by the Second Amendment,” he said, and added: “Perhaps, at some future date, the court will have the opportunity.”'

February 2007: Or, like Scalia and Clarence Thomas, they may never change their minds, simply insisting that if the death penalty in this country needs fixing, the legislatures should to do it...

January 2006: He was joined by Roberts -- dissenting for the first time on the court -- and Thomas. Thomas wrote separately to argue that the court's ruling was inconsistent with its opinion last year upholding a federal override of a California law legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

November 2005: The lawmakers suggested that Alito has largely forfeited a third option that helped some of his predecessors sidestep questions about their legal views and deny opponents a hook for claiming that their future court rulings were predictable. Clarence Thomas, for example, said at his 1991 confirmation hearing that he had barely given a thought to Roe , even though he became an outspoken critic of the ruling soon after joining the Supreme Court.

April 2005: Several justices, most prominently Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, favor drawing on such sources for nonbinding input, arguing that it improves the court's decisions and helps foreign courts establish their own legitimacy. Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia oppose the use of foreign law, arguing that the Supreme Court is competent only to rule on the U.S. Constitution and statutes.

December 2004: Awareness of sexual harassment grew during the 1990s, particularly as Anita Hill accused now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in hearings that riveted the country. That awareness has trickled down to teenagers who might have looked upon some harassment as teasing in years past and now find they don't have to put up with it.


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The (EEOC) Organization Jun 17, 2005
Student/Trainee (past or present) Holy Cross College Organization Dec 21, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Missouri (State Government) Organization Dec 21, 2005
Member of (past or present) US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Organization
Student/Trainee (past or present) Yale University Organization Jan 16, 2004
Financial Recipient from (past or present) Friend (past or present) Harlan Crow Person Jun 18, 2011
Supervisor of (past or present) Prof. John C. Eastman Esq., MA, Ph.D. Person Dec 15, 2006
Appointed/Selected Prof. Barbara C. Fertig Ph.D. Person Jun 18, 2011
Family Member Virginia "Ginni" Thomas Person Mar 23, 2010
Supervisor of (past or present) Armstrong Williams Person Jun 17, 2005
Supervisor of (past or present) Prof. John C. Yoo Esq. Person Dec 26, 2005

Articles and Resources

83 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]

Date Resource Read it at:
Jun 26, 2013 Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings

QUOTE: In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions.

New York Times
Jun 25, 2013 Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act

QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the nation’s progress in rooting out racial discrimination in voting. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.

New York Times
Jun 19, 2013 You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent: The Supreme Court’s terrible—and dangerous—ruling this week on the Fifth Amendment.

QUOTE: the Supreme Court held that you remain silent at your peril. The court said that this is true even before you’re arrested, when the police are just informally asking questions. The court’s move to cut off the right to remain silent is wrong and also dangerous—because it encourages the kind of high-pressure questioning that can elicit false confessions.

Mar 20, 2012 Generic Drugs Proving Resistant to Damage Suits

QUOTE: Across the country, dozens of lawsuits against generic pharmaceutical companies are being dismissed because of a Supreme Court decision last year that said the companies did not have control over what their labels said and therefore could not be sued for failing to alert patients about the risks of taking their drugs. Now, what once seemed like a trivial detail — whether to take a generic or brand-name drug — has become the deciding factor in whether a patient can seek legal recourse from a drug company.

New York Times
Mar 19, 2012 At Heart of Health Law Clash, a 1942 Case of a Farmer’s Wheat

QUOTE: Mr. Filburn sued to overturn a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow on his family farm and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel. The 1942 decision against him, Wickard v. Filburn, is the basis for the Supreme Court’s modern understanding of the scope of federal power.

New York Times
Feb 21, 2012 Justices Take Up Race as a Factor in College Entry

QUOTE: In a 2003 decision that the majority said it expected would last for 25 years, the Supreme Court allowed public colleges and universities to take account of race in admission decisions...By agreeing to hear a major case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas, the court thrust affirmative action back into the public and political discourse after years in which it had mostly faded from view.

New York Times
Jan 23, 2012 Justices Say GPS Tracker Violated Privacy Rights

QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days. A set of overlapping opinions in the case collectively suggested that a majority of the justices are prepared to apply broad privacy principles to bring the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches into the digital age...

New York Times
Jun 29, 2011 Common Sense and Sensibility

QUOTE: the Supreme Court ruled that police, when questioning a child suspected of committing a crime, must take the suspect’s age into account and may have to provide Miranda warnings in circumstances that would not require the warnings to be given to an adult suspect. The vote was 5 to 4, and the author of the majority opinion was Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The premise that children are different from adults and may feel coercive pressure when an adult would not, she said, was simply one of “commonsense reality.”

New York Times
Jun 27, 2011 Justices Reject Ban on Violent Video Games for Children

QUOTE: Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for five justices in the majority in the video games decision, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, No. 08-1448, said video games were subject to full First Amendment protection. “Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium...

New York Times
Jun 23, 2011 High Court sides with generic drug makers in narrow ruling

QUOTE: The justices in a 5-4 ruling said generic drug companies do not share the same level of responsibility as makers of brand-name equivalents, to update their warning labels when significant new risks emerge.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Jun 20, 2011 Court Issues Split Ruling on Poor’s Right to Counsel

QUOTE: In a 5-to-4 decision that divided along ideological lines, the court said there is no automatic right to counsel for people charged with civil contempt, at least when the parent seeking to collect child support does not have a lawyer.

New York Times
Jun 18, 2011 Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics

QUOTE: The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s. The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.

New York Times
Jan 11, 2011 Court weighs disclosures to stockholders

QUOTE: Stockholders said Matrixx had been warned about such a possibility since 1999, but even after lawsuits were filed the company had issued statements saying such allegations were "completely unfounded and misleading."...Matrixx said there was no attempt to deceive investors. The number of complaints about the product was "statistically insignificant"....

Washington Post
Jun 28, 2010 Justices Rule Against Group That Excludes Gay Students

QUOTE: A public law school did not violate the First Amendment by withdrawing recognition from a Christian student group that excluded gay students, the Supreme Court ruled...

New York Times
Jun 25, 2010 Justices say petition signers should not expect their names to be kept secret

QUOTE: Those who sign referendum petitions should generally not expect to keep their names secret, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting the argument of an anti-gay-rights group that disclosure would violate their First Amendment protection of political expression.

Washington Post
Jun 24, 2010 Justices Limit Use of ‘Honest Services’ Law Against Fraud

QUOTE: The justices were unanimous in calling a broad interpretation of the law, which makes it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,” unconstitutionally vague.

New York Times
May 18, 2010 Supreme Court restricts life without parole for juveniles

QUOTE: Juveniles may not be sentenced to life in prison without parole for any crime short of homicide, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, expanding its command that young offenders must be treated differently from adults even for heinous crimes.

Washington Post
May 17, 2010 Extended Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders Is Upheld

QUOTE: In a broad endorsement of federal power, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Congress has the authority under the Constitution to allow the continued civil commitment of sex offenders after they have completed their criminal sentences. The 7-to-2 decision touched off a heated debate among the justices on a question that has lately engaged the Tea Party movement and opponents of the new health care law: What limits does the Constitution impose on Congress’s power to legislate on matters not specifically delegated to it in Article I?

New York Times
Mar 16, 2010 Wife of Justice Thomas starts group for 'citizen activists'

QUOTE: Into the heightened political atmosphere between the Supreme Court and the Obama administration comes now Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, who is founder of a new nonprofit lobbying and political-organizing group catering to the "citizen activists" of the "tea party" movement. Virginia "Ginni" Thomas says Liberty Central Inc...

Washington Post
Feb 25, 2010 Supreme Court rules that request for lawyer in questioning has expiration

QUOTE: A suspect's request that a lawyer be present before submitting to police questioning does not last forever, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In fact, 14 days is long enough for police to wait before taking the alleged perpetrator into custody again and attempting another interrogation.

Washington Post

83 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]