Clarence Thomas Waited 30 Years for Court That Thinks Like Him

Clarence Thomas Waited 30 Years for Court That Thinks Like Him

Clarence Thomas and George H.W. Bush in 1991. Thomas will celebrate 30 years on the Supreme Court Oct. 23 Conservative-led court hearing abortion, guns, maybe affirmative action cases Clarence Thomas’ quest to cement conservative principles into U.S. Supreme Court precedent could soon pay off, as he marks his 30th anniversary as a justice. Thomas, 73, who isn’t shy about dissenting alone when he thinks the court got it wrong, may see some of those dissents transformed into majorities on a court where ascendant conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority. Even those who don’t agree with Thomas’ approach to the law acknowledge that his influence is rising as the court prepares to consider cases ranging from abortion to guns. “There are instances where yesterday’s radical views become today’s mainstream constitutional interpretation,” said Yale law professor Justin Driver, who noted that Thomas has been able to drag “the constitutional conversation in his direction.” Under a Cloud When Thomas joined the court in 1991, it was under a cloud due to allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill during his confirmation hearings, said Carolyn Shapiro , of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Shapiro, like Driver, emphasized that she often doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Thomas. Nevertheless, Driver said his confirmation controversy is part of why Thomas’ jurisprudence has received insufficient attention. “People have failed to grapple with his views,” Driver said. Both noted that the common perception was that Thomas followed the lead of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who Thomas said is […]

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