Who is Clarence Thomas? With Donald Trump’s plans to take the 2020 election results to the Supreme Court, some denizens of the Internet have raised potential issues with Justice Thomas being part of the hearing.
What are these speculations about? Let’s have a look at the alleged connection between Justice Thomas and Joe Biden.
Who is Clarence Thomas?
At 72-years-old, Clarence Thomas is the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in the United States. He was nominated for the role by President George Bush in 1991 and confirmed by the US Senate.
Originally from Georgia, the conservative justice studied at Yale and has been the subject of a few legal-based films and documentaries, including Sex & Justice and Confirmation.
Justice Thomas is well-known for his silence in oral arguments, and once went a decade without asking any questions during Supreme Court oral arguments.
He’s been married twice and has a son named Jamal.
Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing
Thomas’s 1991 hearing to become a part of the Supreme Court gripped the nation and started a number of public conversations around race and gender in America.
The hearing’s Judiciary Committee was led by Joe Biden, who at the time was a Delaware Senator. Viewers of the hearings were reportedly less than happy with how it handled sexual assault accusations.
Justice Thomas was accused of sexual assault by Anita Hill, a law professor who had worked with him, and who was questioned as a witness by Joe Biden. To this day Hill maintains that Biden’s choice not to use any of the other assault witnesses ended up framing her own claims as “he-said-she-said”.
On the other hand, the hearing further opened up conversations about race in the US. Many of Thomas’s supporters claimed that the hearing and the assault claims aimed to prevent Thomas, a Black man, from succeeding Thurgood Marshall, the only other Black man in the Supreme Court.
However, Justice Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court and completely cleared of the accusations brought up during his hearing.
What does Clarence Thomas say Joe Biden did to him?
Although the hearing ultimately confirmed Thomas into the Supreme Court, in his 2007 memoir My Grandfather’s Son, Clarence Thomas writes about his feelings towards Joe Biden.
Thomas claims that Biden had invited him to tour the court room with him the day before and allegedly promised him he would begin with easy questions – promises that he claims Biden did not keep.
“He said that since I’d be nervous at first, he would start the questioning with a few ‘softballs’ that would help me relax and do my best, assuring me that he had no tricks up his sleeve. Senator Biden was the first questioner. Instead of the softball questions he’d promised to ask, he threw a beanball straight at my head, quoting from a speech that I’d given four years earlier at the Pacific Legal Foundation and challenging me to defend what I’d said.”
Thomas reportedly further claimed that Biden had called him and promised to be his “biggest defender” should the Anita Hill accusations come up, which Thomas writes he didn’t believe from the jump.