Fulfilling the Promise

Howard University

School of Law

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas


Clarence Thomas was born June 23, 1948, in Pin Point, Georgia. Clarence was raised by his maternal grandparents in Savannah Georgia. His grandfather was determined to see that he received an education. He attended both all Black schools and intergraded Catholic schools. He intended to enter the priesthood, but left after he encountering a racist seminarian.

Clarence Thomas earned a B.A. from Holy Cross College and his J. D. from Yale Law School in 1971. After law school he became an assistant attorney general for the State of Missouri from 1974 to 1977. Thomas worked briefly at Monsanto Company in St. Louis and he also worked as a legal assistant for Senator John C. Danforth.

Thomas served as an assistant secretary for civil rights with the Department of Education from 1981 to 1982 before moving on to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission until 1990.

Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991, becoming the second African American to serve as an Associate Justice on the Court. His nomination was ratified by a vote of 52 to 48 -- one of the closest margins in the history of the Supreme Court.  He has proven to be one of the most conservative Supreme Court Justices in the past 70 years, voting in almost lock-step fashion with Justice Scalia and typically with Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Majority Opinions authored by Clarence Thomas



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