Skip to main content

Clarence Thomas Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 1:15 PM EST, Thu March 7, 2013

(CNN) -- Here's an in-depth look at the life of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

Birth date: June 23, 1948

Birth place: Pin Point, Georgia

Birth name: Clarence Thomas

Father: M.C. Thomas, a farm worker

Mother: Leola (Anderson) Thomas

Marriages: Virginia (Lamp) Thomas (May 30, 1987 - present); Kathy Ambush (1971-1984, divorced)

Children: with Kathy: Jamal, 1973

Education: Holy Cross College, A.B., 1971; Yale Law School, J.D., 1974

Religion: Roman Catholic

Other Facts:
Grew up in poverty in segregated Georgia.

Raised by his maternal grandparents as a devout Catholic and was sent to an all-black Catholic school run by white nuns.

Thomas was a beneficiary of Yale's affirmative-action policy, which offered opportunities to minority students.

Served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Thomas has called his confirmation hearings a "high-tech lynching for an uppity black."

Is considered a conservative justice, has often opposed affirmative action, and tends to vote with Justice Scalia and other conservative justices.

1974-1977 - Assistant Attorney General of Missouri.

1977-1979 - Attorney for Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri.

1979-1981 - Legislative Assistant to Senator John C. Danforth.

1981-1982 - Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education.

1982-1990 - Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

1990-1991 - Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

July 1, 1991 - Nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H. W. Bush to fill the seat of retiring Thurgood Marshall.

July 1, 1991 - Jesse Jackson speaks out against Thomas's nomination

July 31, 1991 - The NAACP releases a statement opposing Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court.

September 10-20,1991 - Confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

October 6, 1991 - Reports surface two days before the scheduled Senate vote on Thomas's confirmation that law professor Anita Hill told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Thomas had sexually harassed her while she worked with him at the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hill said Thomas frequently asked her out on dates and described his sexual interests to her. The Senate vote is delayed for a week after Thomas asks for time to clear his name and to bolster support for his nomination.

October 15, 1991 - The U.S. Senate confirms Clarence Thomas by the narrowest margin in the 20th century: 52 to 48.

October 23, 1991 - Sworn in as associate justice of the Supreme Court.

June 2003 - Thomas dissents in the Court's decision to uphold affirmative action, calls it a "cruel farce" that leaves blacks with a stigma suggesting they only succeeded because of their skin color.

June 2011 - Newspaper articles call the ethics of Justice Thomas into question over his association/friendship with Harlan Crow, a politically conservative and philanthropic real estate tycoon from Dallas, Texas. Mr. Crow has helped finance Mrs. Thomas's Tea Party activities, the restoration of the Pin Point, Georgia, cannery where Justice Thomas's mother worked, and a Savannah library dedicated to Justice Thomas.

January 15, 2013 -- Thomas speaks from the bench for the first time in nearly seven years, since February 22, 2006.