What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

The video for this story is not available, but you can still read the transcript below.
No image

Supreme Court Justice Thomas Speaks Out in New Autobiography

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has authored a new autobiography, entitled "My Grandfather's Son," which has put his road to the high court back in the spotlight. A newspaper columnist and a former law clerk for Thomas discuss reactions to the new tome.

Read the Full Transcript

  • GWEN IFILL:

    After 16 mostly silent years on the bench of the highest court in the land, Justice Clarence Thomas is speaking out. In a new autobiography, he tells the story of his life, including his most famous and painful turn in the spotlight…

  • SENATOR:

    Judge, do you swear to tell the truth?

  • GWEN IFILL:

    … when he was accused of sexual harassment in his bitter Senate confirmation hearings.

  • ANITA HILL, Accused Clarence Thomas of Sexual Harassment:

    My working relationship became even more strained when Judge Thomas began to use work situations to discuss sex.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Thomas still says Anita Hill was wrong. She says others have since proved she was right.

  • ANITA HILL:

    What I described happened actually did happen.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But it is Thomas’ voice which has revived the debate.

  • CLARENCE THOMAS, U.S. Supreme Court Justice:

    It was the most inhumane thing that has ever happened to me.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Justice Thomas is only the second African-American ever to serve on the court, but he recounts a lifetime of insult, from his youth in the segregated South, to his years at Yale Law School, to his time in Washington. In an ABC interview, he says he was criticized for being a black man with conservative beliefs.

  • CLARENCE THOMAS:

    You’ve got a sort of a new thinking that, you know, you can use race in certain other ways and that we should think a particular way, that I, because I am black, there’s a certain sort of not geographical area that I am precluded from being a part of, but there’s a certain ideological or intellectual area that’s off-limits. Oh, don’t go into that neighborhood of knowledge or ideology or political views or what have you, because blacks don’t go there. So we’ve segregated up here.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    One Thomas biographer said much of the justice’s conservative philosophy is rooted in his upbringing.

  • KEVIN MERIDA, Co-Author, “Supreme Discomfort”:

    Even when he went to Yale Law School — and this is maybe the underpinning of his opposition to affirmative action — he saw at Yale, in his class of 10 black students, many who had, you know, really didn’t need affirmative action, in his view, that they were people who came from well-to-do backgrounds, they were beneficiaries because of their race.

The Latest