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Thomas, Clarence,1948–, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1991–), b. Pin Point (Savannah), Ga. Raised in a poor family, he graduated (1974) from the Yale Law School and became a prominent black conservative active in Republican causes. He chaired the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1982–90) during the Reagan and Bush administrations, and attempted there to modify the application of federal affirmative actionaffirmative action,
in the United States, programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women.
..... Click the link for more information. guidelines. In 1990 he was appointed a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In July, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas to the Supreme Court, to replace Thurgood MarshallMarshall, Thurgood,
1908–93, U.S. lawyer and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1967–91), b. Baltimore. He received his law degree from Howard Univ. in 1933. In 1936 he joined the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
..... Click the link for more information. . In Oct., 1991, when approval was all but assured, the Senate Judiciary Committee reopened confirmation hearings to examine charges by Anita Hill, a Univ. of Oklahoma law professor, that Thomas had subjected her to sexual harassmentsexual harassment,
in law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes.
..... Click the link for more information. while she was an EEOC employee in the 1980s. Testimony and debate on the charges, followed by a nationwide television audience and revealing deep divisions among the public, did not in the end change the committee's recommendation for approval, and Thomas was confirmed by a full Senate vote of 52 to 48. Taking his seat, he aligned himself with Antonin ScaliaScalia, Antonin,
1936–2016, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1986–2016), b. Trenton, N.J. He graduated from Harvard Law School (1960) and subsequently taught law at the Univ. of Virginia (1967–71) and the Univ. of Chicago (1977–82).
..... Click the link for more information. , forming the Court's most conservative grouping.
See his memoir (2007); studies by C. Robin (2019) and M. Magnet (2019).
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Thomas, Clarence(1948– ) Supreme Court justice; born in Pin Point, Ga. Shaped by his poor-but-proud family and his Catholic schooling, he went on to graduate from Holy Cross College and Yale Law School and to espouse conservative views on the situation of his fellow African-Americans. He worked as assistant secretary of education (1981) and then headed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1981–89). President Bush appointed him to the federal court of appeals (1990–91) and to the U.S. Supreme Court, where, only after a highly controversial Senate hearing and vote, did he become the second African-American to take a seat (1991).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.