Esquire (USA)




Clarence Thomas is born in the Gullah/Geechee community of Pin Point, Georgia, to M. C. Thomas and Leola Williams. M. C. doesn’t stick around long.


Thomas’s brother accidental­ly burns down their home. The family moves to Savannah, where Leola leaves her sons with her strict parents, who raise the boys.


Thomas spends his final three years of high school and his first year of college preparing to be a priest. After a year at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri, he transfers to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachuse­tts, which was trying to add Black students.


Thomas, who frequently wore combat fatigues in college, marches in a protest from Boston Common to Harvard Square, where a riot breaks out—fires, looting, mass injuries.


Thomas marries Kathy Ambush just after graduating from college.


Jamal Adeen Thomas, Thomas’s only child, is born.


Thomas Yale Law graduates School. His from grandparen­ts do not attend, citing too much work to do back home.


John Danforth, Missouri attorney general and a fellow Yale Law grad, hires Thomas—and in 1979, as a U. S. senator, hires him again, as an aide.


Washington Post writer Juan Williams praises Thomas after meeting him at a conference. The story is credited with introducin­g Thomas to the Reagan administra­tion.


As chair of the EEOC, Thomas is criticized for ignoring class-action suits. He also says Black civil-rights leaders “bitch, bitch, bitch, moan and moan, whine and whine” instead of trying to work with the administra­tion.


Thomas divorces Ambush.


Thomas marries Virginia “Ginni” Lamp, whom he met at a conference on affirmativ­e action. Soon after they met, she asked him how he coped with the EEOC controvers­y. He showed her a prayer he recited daily.


President George H. W. Bush nominates Thomas to the Supreme Court. After a ninety-nine-day confirmati­on process that included accusation­s of sexual harassment from former colleague Anita Hill and accusation­s of racism from Thomas, the Senate confirms him, 52–48.


In a remarkable streak, Thomas does not ask a question from the bench during arguments before the court.

JANUARY 6, 2021

On the day of the riot at the Capitol, Ginni Thomas cheers demonstrat­ors on via social media, later saying that the posts were written before the violence began. Her connection­s to right-wing extremists spur calls for her husband to be removed from the court.

JUNE 24, 2022

In a 6–3 decision overturnin­g Roe v. Wade, Thomas writes, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantiv­e due process precedents.” Some commentato­rs opine that, given his power and influence, Clarence Thomas has essentiall­y become the de facto chief justice.

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