Justice Thomas Speaks at University of Alabama

October 26th, 2009

From the Tuscaloosa News, H/T How Appealing,

Friday was the 18th anniversary of Thomas’ swearing in as a Supreme Court justice and his second visit to the UA Law School. He was nominated in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush after serving for just a year on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“I argued against it, I’d been on the Court of Appeals long enough,” he said. “But when the president calls you, the words out of your mouth are ‘Yes, Mr. President.’”

“I found law school difficult. You see my old textbooks, and you’ll see that the textbooks won,” he said. “My journey was in many ways very unhappy and enormously difficult.”

“That, to me, is the shame of the process,” he said. “I think people should leave and know that they’ve said their piece.”

Thomas said that he preferred to hire law clerks from modest backgrounds.

“There are too many up there who think they should be there because they’re from an elite background,” he said. Students laughed when he described how former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died in 2005, could get things done with a glare.

“He was more of a father figure of the World War II generation,” he said when asked how Rehnquist differs from Chief Justice John Roberts. “Chief Justice Roberts is a contemporary.”