Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to succeed Thurgood Marshall and has served since 1991. After Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court and its longest-serving member since Anthony Kennedy's retirement in 2018. Thomas was born in Pin Point, Georgia. After his father abandoned the family, he was raised by his grandfather in a poor Gullah community near Savannah. Growing up as a devout Catholic, Thomas originally intended to be a priest in the Catholic Church but was frustrated over the church's insufficient attempts to combat racism. He abandoned his aspiration of becoming a clergyman to attend the College of the Holy Cross and, later, Yale Law School, where he was influenced by a number of conservative authors, notably Thomas Sowell, who dramatically shifted his worldview from progressive to conservative. Upon graduating, he was appointed as an assistant attorney general in Missouri and later entered private practice there. He became a legislative assistant to Senator John Danforth in 1979, and was made Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education in 1981. President Ronald Reagan appointed Thomas as Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the next year.
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