Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination
Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a narrow majority of 52 to 48. He was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at the time of his nomination to the Court. Thomas’s nomination was viewed as a’significant embarrassment’ to the Bush administration, but it ultimately had little impact on Thomas’s confirmation.
About Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination in brief
Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a narrow majority of 52 to 48. He was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at the time of his nomination to the Court. Thomas was one of five candidates on Bush’s shortlist and was the one Bush was most interested in nominating. White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu predicted a ‘knock-down, drag-out, bloody-knuckles, grass-roots fight’ over confirmation. Thomas’s nomination was viewed as a’significant embarrassment’ to the Bush administration, but it ultimately had little impact on Thomas’s confirmation. The nomination proceedings were contentious from the start, especially over the issue of abortion, and many women’s groups and civil rights groups opposed Thomas on the basis of his conservative political views. Some of the public statements of Thomas’s opponents foreshadowed the fight that would occur on the Supreme Court in the 1990s and early 2000s. The White House and Republican Senators pressured the ABA for at least the mid-level ‘qualified’ rating, and simultaneously attempted to discredit the A BA as partisan. The ABA voted that Thomas was ‘not qualified’ on a scale of well-qualified, or unqualified, and the other 12 members of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary voted that he was not qualified for an overall vote of qualified. The vote represented one of the lowest levels of support for Supreme Court nominees for a Supreme Court nomination. The president called him ‘the best person’ in the country to take Marshall’s place on the Court, a characterization belied, according to constitutional law expert Michael Gerhardt, by Thomas’s ‘limited professional distinction, with his most significant legal experiences having been a controversial tenure as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and barely more than one year of experience as a federal court of appeals judge’ Thomas was the Court’s first African American justice.
The NAACP, Urban League and the National Organization for Women believed he would likely swing the ideological balance on the court to the right. They especially opposed Thomas’s appointment because of his criticism of affirmative action and also because they were suspicious of his position on Roe v. Wade. Bush eventually decided to nominate Judge David Souter of the First Circuit instead, who was easily confirmed. Bush’s staff made three arguments against nominating Thomas: Thomas had only served eight months as a judge; Bush could expect to replace Thurgood Marshall with Thomas in due time; and multiple senior advisors told Bush that they did not feel thatThomas was ready. The allegations against Thomas by Anita Hill, a law professor who had previously worked under Thomas at the Department of Education, were leaked to the media from a confidential FBI report. The allegations led to a media frenzy about sexual harassment, and further investigations. Televised hearings were re-opened and held by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the nomination was moved to the full, Democratic-controlled, Senate for a vote. One such statement came from African-American attorney Florynce Kennedy.
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