Entries in Justice Clarence Thomas (5)


Six Years of Silence for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the Supreme Court justices Tuesday fired questions on the Obamacare mandate across the bench, one voice was notably -- but perhaps predictably -- silent. So far every justice on the bench has spoken up on the health care law except for one: Justice Clarence Thomas.

Indeed, if you search Tuesday’s 126-page transcript of arguments, you won’t find Thomas’ name a single time.

It has now been six years since the justice has asked questions during oral arguments, although he certainly has read his opinions from the bench in his robust baritone.

Thomas has said that he goes into the oral argument sessions knowing how he will decide a case so he doesn’t ask questions.

The silence may have been welcomed by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who could barely speak a few sentences before a justice interjected with a question from the “hot bench.”

Of the few times in recent memory that Justice Thomas has felt compelled to join the fray, it was during a hearing in 2002 that stunned the audience most. Speaking passionately on the issue of banning the burning of the cross, he said, “Now, it’s my understanding that we had almost 100 years of lynching and activity in the South by the Knights of Camellia and -- and the Ku Klux Klan, and this was a reign of terror and the cross was a symbol of that reign of terror. Was -- isn’t that significantly greater than intimidation or a threat?” Thomas asked Justice Department lawyer Michael Dreeben.

“Well, I think they’re co-extensive, Justice Thomas, because it is --” Dreeben replied before he was cut off.

“Well, my fear is, Mr. Dreeben, that you’re actually understating the symbolism on -- of and the effect of the cross, the burning cross. I -- I indicated, I think, in the Ohio case that the cross was not a religious symbol and that it has -- it was intended to have a virulent effect. And I -- I think that what you’re attempting to do is to fit this into our jurisprudence rather than stating more clearly what the cross was intended to accomplish and, indeed, that it is.”

The audio of Thomas’ questioning can be heard here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Justice Clarence Thomas Amends 20 Years of Disclosure Forms 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas amended 20 years' worth of financial disclosure forms Monday after a liberal watchdog group questioned the omission of his wife's place of employment.

"It has come to my attention that information regarding my spouse's employment required in Part III B of my financial disclosure report was inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions," Thomas wrote in a letter to the committee that handles the reports.

The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires all federal judges to disclose their spouse's employer. They are not required to list the total income.

Thomas' formal recognition of the errors follows a complaint filed Friday by the group Common Cause that had expressed concern about the "apparent gaps" in his disclosures as required by law.

Thomas amended the reports Monday, noting that his wife, Virginia Thomas, drew income from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank where she worked from 1998 to 2003. Thomas also noted that she worked at Hillsdale College for three months in 2008.

None of Thomas' forms, covering activities through Dec. 31, 2009, mention his wife's work at Liberty Central, a conservative political education group she co-founded in January 2009 in part to energize Tea Party activists.

But the group did not officially launch until May 2010, which will only be covered during in the next disclosure period.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Justice Clarence Thomas' Former Lover Speaks Out on Relationship in TV Interview

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A former girlfriend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has broken her 19-year silence about a "serious" relationship the two had during the 1980s, reigniting the debate over Thomas' sexual behavior first sparked by Anita Hill's famed confirmation hearing testimony in 1991.

Lillian McEwen, a retired prosecutor, law professor and administrative law judge, discussed her intimacy with Thomas in a lengthy television interview Friday with reporter Rebecca Cooper of ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington, D.C.

"He was obsessed with pornography," McEwen told Cooper.  "It was something he talked about quite frequently."

McEwen's comments appear to bolster testimony by Hill, who alleged Thomas sexually harassed her by graphically describing his interest in porn.

Thomas vehemently denounced the allegations as an attack motivated by liberal detractors who had colluded with Hill.  "I categorically denied all of the allegations and denied that I ever attempted to date Anita Hill," said Thomas in his testimony.

Outside the hearings, Thomas' supporters pointed to a steady relationship he had with another woman to disprove the charges.  That woman was McEwen.

Thomas and McEwen first met on Capitol Hill in 1979 and the two quickly became friends, she told Cooper in the interview.  Several years later, after Thomas became separated from his first wife and well before he was elevated to the Supreme Court, their relationship grew intimate.

McEwen, a Democrat who says she disapproves of Thomas' conservative jurisprudence on the bench, has written a memoir which she is currently shopping to publishers.

McEwen told Cooper that she was not inclined to come forward sooner because of a fondness for Thomas and out of recognition that testimony about personal relationships is not customarily allowed at Senate Confirmation Hearings.

"I knew what the hearing process involved… I knew it didn't make any difference what I said," she said.  "I also knew the rules for the hearing… no testimony was allowed except for professional relationships with him."

McEwen also said she felt Hill was not being entirely truthful about her relationship with Thomas.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Anita Hill Refusing Comment on Call for Apology from Thomas' Wife 

Photo Courtesy - Scott Wintrow/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Back in 1991, Anita Hill had plenty to say about her former boss, Clarence Thomas, who was in the process of being confirmed by the Senate to become only the second African-American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, Hill has no comment about the entire affair, or why Thomas’ wife Virginia called her unexpectedly last weekend to ask for an apology from Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment when they worked at the Department of Education and, later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In an excerpt of the message obtained by ABC News, Virginia Thomas says on a voicemail message to Hill: “I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did.”

Hill told Senate lawmakers at the confirmation hearings 19 years ago that Clarence Thomas repeatedly made inappropriate sexual comments, often described in graphic detail.

Thomas, who alleged he was a victim of a “high-tech lynching” by political foes, was ultimately confirmed by a 52 to 48 vote and has proven to be one of the most conservative high court justices in history.

A spokesman for Brandeis University, where Hill is a faculty member, says the school stands by Hill’s testimony and her contention that the call from Virginia Thomas was inappropriate.

Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, added Wednesday that, “If [Clarence] Thomas doesn’t apologize for this latest foray, his wife should apologize.”  Reich was a classmate of Clarence Thomas at Yale and is an associate of Hill's at Brandeis.  He said that Hill’s integrity is beyond reproach.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Clarence Thomas' Wife Phones Anita Hill for Apology

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A few days ago, Brandeis University professor Anita Hill received a message on her voicemail at work.

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginny Thomas,” said the voice. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something.  I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.  So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did.  Okay have a good day.”

Hill didn’t think the call was real.

“I initially thought it was a prank,” Hill tells ABC News.  “And if it was, I thought the authorities should know about it.”

She reported the call to campus police.

A reporter from ABC News affiliate KGO learned about this and reached out to Virginia Thomas. Thomas e-mailed the reporter, saying, “I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

Hill tells ABC News, “Even if it wasn’t a prank, it was in no way conciliatory for her to begin with the presumption that I did something wrong in 1991.  I simply testified to the truth of my experience.  For her to say otherwise is not extending an olive branch, it’s accusatory.”

She continues, “I don’t apologize.  I have no intention of apologizing and I stand by my testimony in 1991.”

Hill remembered that when Justice Clarence Thomas’s autobiography was released in 2007, the Thomases agreed to an interview with ABC News:

ABC:  “When you think about Anita Hill…was she a pawn, was she a liar?”

Justice Thomas:  “I really don’t care enough -- let me be honest with you.  I went through that during the hearing.  I thought about it.  I really don’t care.  What I care about is that the responsible people didn’t put an end to this nonsense.”

Virginia Thomas:  “I think there’s a lot of theories, but I hope she one day calls up and apologizes and I look forward to forgiving her…I’m sure she got swept up into something bigger than she may have understood at the beginning of whatever she was doing, but I think she owes us an apology and I look forward to receiving that phone call or that visit one day."

“So this isn’t new territory,” Hill tells ABC News.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio