WASHINGTON—For Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, some things will never change.
In 1991, Thomas’ high character, integrity, and work ethic made him a prime candidate to replace retiring Justice Thurgood Marshall and become the nation’s second African-American Supreme Court justice. His Senate confirmation hearings were complete, and his placement on the court seemed assured. What followed were some of the most public and politicized hearings in United States history after Anita Hill claimed Thomas, her supervisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, had sexually harassed her.
Twenty-five years later, Thomas’ supporters say two things will forever be associated with him: an originalist approach to the Constitution and unfair opposition.
Now 68, Thomas is on pace to become the longest-serving Supreme Court justice in history before his 80th birthday.
Thomas brings a distinct style and work ethic to the court. He dives into the weeds of the law and arduously brings back each case to the Constitution instead of relying on previous rulings. Over the last two court terms, Thomas published nearly twice as many writings as any other justice.
Carrie Severino, a former Thomas clerk and now chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, explained to me Thomas gets a bad reputation for not offering as many majority opinions, but even when he concurs he will thoroughly explain how he came to that conclusion by linking the case back to the nation’s founding documents—regardless of how painstaking.
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