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Clarence Thomas is an American judge, lawyer, and government official who currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall and is the second black American to serve on the court.

Clarence Thomas official SCOTUS portrait.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Assumed office
October 23, 1991
Nominated by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Thurgood Marshall
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
March 12, 1990 – October 23, 1991
Nominated by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Robert Bork
Succeeded by Judith Rogers
Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
In office
May 6, 1982 – March 12, 1990
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Eleanor Holmes Norton
Succeeded by Evan Kemp
Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office for Civil Rights
In office
1981–1982
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Cynthia G. Brown
Succeeded by Harry M. Singleton
Personal details
Born (1948-06-23) June 23, 1948 (age 68)
Pin Point, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy Ambush
Virginia Lamp
Children 1
Alma mater College of the Holy Cross
Yale University
Signature

Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American judge, lawyer, and government official who currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall and is the second black American to serve on the court.

Thomas grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and was educated at the College of the Holy Cross and at Yale Law School. In 1974, he was appointed an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri and subsequently practiced law there in the private sector. In 1979, he became a legislative assistant to Senator John Danforth (R-MO) and in 1981 was appointed Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Thomas Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served in that role for 16 months and on July 1, 1991, was nominated by Bush to fill Marshall's seat on the United States Supreme Court. Thomas's confirmation hearings were bitter and intensely fought, centering on an accusation that he had sexually harassed attorney Anita Hill, a subordinate at the Department of Education and subsequently at the EEOC. The U.S. Senate ultimately confirmed Thomas by a vote of 52–48.

Since joining the court, Thomas has taken a textualist approach, seeking to uphold the original meaning of the United States Constitution and statutes. He is generally viewed as the most conservative member of the court. A strong supporter of the Second and Tenth Amendments, Thomas has often approached federalism issues in a way that limits the power of the federal government and defends the rights of state and local governments. At the same time, Thomas' opinions have generally supported a strong executive branch within the federal government.

Flashback: Clarence Thomas responds to Anita Hill

Around 9:30 p.m., after Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment, Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas responded, calling his nomination hearing "a ...

October 11, 1991: Clarence Thomas Full Opening Statement (C-SPAN)

In 1991, then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on an allegation he sexually harassed his ...

Rewind: Clarence Thomas talks about Anita Hill

When the Supreme Court Justice spoke to 60 Minutes in 2007, he addressed Anita Hill's high-profile testimony: "That's not the person I knew" Subscribe to the ...

Clarence Thomas: Important to be exposed to range of ideas

Supreme Court justice opens up in an 'Ingraham Angle' exclusive.

Clarence Thomas: Court is very different without Scalia

Laura Ingraham sits down with the Supreme Court justice in an 'Ingraham Angle' exclusive.

Supreme Court Moments in History: Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill

From the NewsHour's video vault, watch a 1991 report on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas and the testimony of Anita Hill, who ...