Monday, March 24, 2008

Clarence Thomas Interview

There is a very flattering article about Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in the online Wall Street Journal. The article is based on an interview with Justice Thomas, who repeats many of the themes that he developed more fully in his autobiography, My Grandfather's Son. "'Being willing to accept responsibility, that sort of dark side of freedom, first--before you accept all the benefits. Being ready to be responsible for yourself--you want to be independent. That was my grandfather.'" Justice Thomas was taught to "arrive at his conclusions honestly and not 'to be bullied away from opinions that I think are legitimate.'" For me, the most interesting insight of the article came in the last paragraph. When asked why he does not ask questions during oral argument, "Mr. Thomas chuckles wryly and observes that oral advocacy was much more important in the Court's early days. Today, cases are thoroughly briefed by the time they reach the Supreme Court, and there is just too little time to have a meaningful conversation with the lawyers.'" As he points out, "'This isn't Perry Mason.'"

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