Blogged by Firebrand Central on January 1, 2013-
On October 15, 1991, Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 52-48 vote by the Senate. This was the narrowest margin of confirmation in over a century. Thomas is the second African-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
Justice Thomas’s confirmation did not come without controversy; the Senate hearings where Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment nearly cost him his seat on the Supreme Court. The sexual harassment claims are likely responsible for the marginal confirmation vote, and there are public figures and officials who regret not speaking out against Thomas to the present day.
Justice Thomas is a conservative justice who purports an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Justice Thomas has opposed Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) and school desegregation.
Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, by George H.W. Bush, to fill the seat of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who has a historical record of civil rights litigation and leadership.
Thurgood Marshall set the stage for the civil rights movement with cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and Smith v. Allwright (1944).
Marshall triumphed in 29 of 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court; a success rate of over 90%.
Clarence Thomas may have been nominated to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall, but he is no replacement for the stature of a man who made major, historic contributions to the case law of the Supreme Court, even prior to Marshall’s appointment to the Court.
Even with the understanding that these two justices are on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum as judicially possible, it is clear to see that their qualifications are in complete contrast if you examine their careers before their Court appointments.
The examples moving forward will show that Clarence Thomas is the antithesis (opposition) of the late Thurgood Marshall.