Internet InfoMedia on this day in history june 23 1948 supreme court justice clarence thomas is born in georgia

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was born in Pin Point, Georgia on this day in history, June 23, 1948. 

His entire family grappled with extreme poverty. His parents divorced when he was a toddler; Thomas’ father left the family when young Clarence was only two years old. 

Eventually, Clarence Thomas was sent to live with his maternal grandfather following a house fire, multiple sources note. 

Thomas’ grandfather had a profound impact on his life: Thomas even titled his 2008 memoir “My Grandfather’s Son.” 

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“I even called him Daddy,” wrote Thomas in his book, “because that was what my mother called him … He was dark, strong, proud and determined to mold me in his image … He was the one hero in my life.”

Said Thomas in a September 2021 speech at the University of Notre Dame, “The single biggest event in my early life was going to live with my grandparents in 1955.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was born on June 23, 1948, in Pin Point, Georgia. In his personal memoir, he wrote that his maternal grandfather was “the one hero in my life.” (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As a young child, Thomas attended segregated Catholic schools for Black children.

He became the first Black student to be admitted to St. John Vianney, a Catholic minor seminary, said the website Oyez. 

“My nuns and my grandparents lived out their sacred vocation in a time of stark racial animus, and did so with pride with dignity and with honor,” said Thomas at Notre Dame. 

“To this day I revere, admire and love my nuns. They were devout, courageous and principled women,” he said. 

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Despite his academic success at St. John Vianney, Thomas was the recipient of racially charged bullying, said Oyez. 

Following graduation from St. John Vianney, Thomas intended on becoming a Catholic priest. He entered Immaculate Conception Seminary from 1967 to 1968.

He left seminary after again experiencing racism from classmates — and transferred to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Clarence Thomas official portrait

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, took his seat on the Supreme Court on Oct. 23, 1991.  (AP Images)

He graduated cum laude in 1971, said Oyez. 

In 1974, he graduated from Yale Law School and was admitted to law practice in Missouri of that same year, the Supreme Court’s website notes. 

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Thomas worked in various roles throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including doing a stint as assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education and as chairman of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission from 1982 until 1990. 

In 1990 until 1991, Thomas was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

Clarence and Ginni Thomas laugh

Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. Thomas was born on this day in history, June 23, 1948.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President George H. W. Bush appointed Thomas as an associate Supreme Court justice following the retirement of Justice Thurgood Marshall. 

Marshall was the first Black member of the Supreme Court; Thomas was the second. 

After a highly contentious confirmation hearing, the Senate voted 52-48 to approve Clarence Thomas to the high court, History.com noted.

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He was seated at the court on Oct. 23, 1991, at age 43. 

During his time on the Supreme Court, Thomas has typically associated with the court’s conservative wing. 

Group picture of the members of the Supreme Court

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a photo in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 2021. Seated, second from left, is Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.  (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Thomas’ Martin-Quinn score — (or MQ score, referring to metrics used to gauge the ideology of Supreme Court justices based on their voting record) — of 3.05 during the 2021-2022 term was the most conservative of anyone on the court, the website Ballotpedia noted.

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Thomas is married to Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. 

He has one son, Jamal, from a previous marriage, said Oyez.

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Mark Paoletta, an attorney, close friend and co-author of the 2022 book, “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” told Fox News Digital two years ago of Thomas, “I think he is going to be considered one of our greatest justices. And he’s an originalist who had the courage to apply the Constitution and be faithful to the Constitution into the text of statute, come what may.”

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He added, “His legacy is a courageous justice who faithfully applied the Constitution.”

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