Clarence Thomas' yearbook photo from the College of the Holy Cross.
One of the Supreme Court's most reliably conservative justices used to support the Black Panthers and Malcom X and even voted for liberal hero George McGovern in 1972.
Clarence Thomas told an audience at Pittsburgh's Duquesne Law School he voted for McGovern but said he doesn't really like politics, CBS Pittsburgh reported Wednesday.
How did Clarence Thomas transform from a left-leaning supporter of McGovern and the radical Black Panthers into the most conservative Supreme Court justice in 80 years?
While he supported the Panthers as a student at College of the Holy Cross, Thomas began cutting his ties with the left after starting Yale Law School, according to Cummings. Other Yale Law students questioned Thomas' intellect because he had potentially benefitted from affirmative action, making him feel stigmatized.
That environment made Thomas turn to more "self-help" ideas of Booker T. Washington, Cummings writes. From Cummings' account:
"Thomas’s views, as the years passed, became more and more conservative. He disagreed, for example, with the traditional civil rights agenda of busing and affirmative action. Thomas condemned busing, stating that 'it sent the wrong message to young blacks—that they had to sit next to whites in class in order to learn.'"
Thomas' conservative bent also developed after he graduated from Yale Law in 1974. He says he had a hard time finding work because employers assumed he had got into the Ivy League school because he's black.
Now, Thomas is a sharp critic of affirmative action, a classic liberal policy. He didn't say at the Duquesne Law School whether he'd voted for Barack Obama in the recent presidential elections.
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