Our Georgia History
 

Clarence Thomas
June 28, 1948 Clarence Thomas is born, Pinpoint (near Savannah), Georgia
  Savannah, Georgia births and deaths
  Clarence Thomas
March 12, 1990 Clarence Thomas is sworn in as judge for the U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
  Clarence Thomas
July 1, 1991 President George Bush nominates Clarence Thomas to the U. S. Supreme Court. Although Thomas is African-American, his nomination is opposed by groups such as the NAACP and the Black Congressional Caucus because of differing political views
  Clarence Thomas
October 6, 1991 Allegations of sexual harassment against U. S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas first appear in the press.
  Clarence Thomas
October 15, 1991 By a vote of 52-48, Clarence Thomas is confirmed by the Senate
  Clarence Thomas
October 18, 1991 Clarence Thomas is sworn in as Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court
  Clarence Thomas


Born in tiny Pinpoint, Georgia, a small community near Savannah, Justice Thomas grew up in a Georgia that was segregated for most of his childhood years. Still, he excelled in his studies, attending Holy Cross College and Yale Law School. He accepted a position in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he practiced tax law as an Assistant Attorney General to John Danforth, then Attorney General of Missouri.

Danforth was impressed by the ability of Thomas, but Thomas left the state and took a position with the Monsanto Corporation, where he supervised much of the regulatory agency interaction for the large St. Louis-based company. In 1979 Danforth, who had been elected Senator, asked Thomas to join him in Washington D. C. During this time that Thomas got a broad range of experience, starting as Danforth's legislative assistance. His meteoric rise began in the Department of Education, moving to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in less than a year.

For the next eight years he radically altered the way the EEOC did business, ending the "big stick" approach that had characterized the agency's interaction with the business community since the 1960's. Thomas felt that statistical means of measuring were not an effective way of getting minorities hired. He is both praised and criticized for his role as the head of this agency. Criticism especially falls on Justice Thomas for his failure to act on the growing number of age discrimination complaints that were reaching his office.

As a judge in the U. S. Court of Appeals, Thomas penned a controversial decision, striking down the governments' attempt to qualify women as a minority in the distribution of broadcast licenses. The court held that the government had failed to show that such action would increase programming designed for women, as it had done for other minorities.

His nomination to the Supreme Court was hotly contested after Anita Hill made a claim that Thomas had sexually harassed her while she was in his employ while he worked at the Department of Education and later at the EEOC. In spite of Anita Hill's allegations Thomas was confirmed by the Senate.





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