Colorblind Justice -- A review of Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas by Ken Foskett
A review by John Eastman, who clerked for Justice Thomas. The
We can learn much from good biographies, not just about the subject of the biography, but about the times
in which he lived and, more broadly, about human nature itself. Ken Foskett's biography of Justice Clarence Thomas is such
a book, and we should learn from it: about the boy who grew up in rural, segregated Georgia to become a Justice of the Supreme
Court of the United States; about the prominent African-American leaders who denigrate rather than praise his Horatio Alger
story; and about the character of a great man in the face of unjust adversity. But we can also use the biography to move beyond
Foskett's own account of Thomas's judicial philosophy to the more nuanced jurisprudence actually embraced by Justice Thomas.
by David J. Garrow
The New Republic
A review of Ken Foskett's Judging Thomas
Author's website for the new biography Judging Thomas
Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas
Based on the well-done Atlanta Journal-Constitution series. From the Harper-Collins
With objectivity and balance, author Ken Foskett chronicles Thomas's contempt
for upper-crust blacks who snubbed his uneducated, working-class roots; his flirtation with the priesthood and later Black
Power; the resentment that fueled his opposition to affirmative action; the conservative beliefs that ultimately led him to
the Supreme Court steps; and the inner resilience that propelled him through the doors.
Based on interviews with Thomas himself, fellow justices, family members, and
hundreds of friends and associates, Judging Thomas skillfully unravels perhaps the most complex, controversial,and
powerful public figure in America today. Foskett reveals that beneath the silent, often brooding exterior is a man of depth,
empathy, and wit
Justice Thomas and Liberal Originalism
Political science professor Lucas Morel reviews Scott Douglas Gerber's book "First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence
Thomas" for the excellent First Things magazine.
Taking Justice Thomas Seriously
Law professor John Eastman, one of Thomas's former clerks, reviews the Gerber book in The Green Bag. As Eastman points out,
Gerber understands what few Court observers do -- that Thomas's "liberal" originalism is quite different from the
Borkean originalism of Scalia or Rehnquist. Thomas's originalism is rooted in the principles that underlay the Founding,
including the Declaration of Independence -- which Scalia abjures in constitutional interpretation. Eastman goes on to refute
some of Gerber's misunderstandings or mischaracterizations, such as Gerber's claim that Thomas's view of the Establishment
Clause is wrong as a matter of first principles. A valuable review, definitely worth reading.