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Attorney General Richard Thornburgh had previously warned Bush that replacing Thurgood Marshall, who was widely revered as a civil rights icon, with any candidate who was not perceived to share Marshall's views would make the confirmation process difficult.
Thomas was reticent when answering Senators' questions during the appointment process, recalling what had happened to Robert Bork when Bork expounded on his judicial philosophy during his confirmation hearings four years prior.
Thomas's earlier writings had frequently referenced the legal theory of natural law; during his confirmation hearings Thomas limited himself to the statement that he regards natural law as a "philosophical background" to the Constitution.
After the leak, Hill was called to testify at Thomas's confirmation hearings. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. but submitted a written statement alleging that Thomas had pressured her for a date and had made comments about the anatomy of women.
Thomas has recollected that his Yale law degree was not taken seriously by law firms to which he applied after graduating.
Once he walked out after an incident in which black students were punished while white students went undisciplined for committing the same violation, and some of the priests negotiated with the protesting black students to re-enter the school.His grandfather believed in hard work and self-reliance; he would counsel Thomas to "never let the sun catch you in bed." Thomas' grandfather also impressed upon his grandsons the importance of getting a good education.He also briefly attended Conception Seminary College, a Roman Catholic seminary in Missouri. Thomas has said that during his first year in seminary, he was one of only "three or four" blacks attending the school.(In 1969 Dean Louis Pollak wrote that the law school was expanding its program of quotas for black applicants, with up to 24 entering that year admitted under a system that deemphasized grades and LSAT scores.
I peeled a fifteen-cent sticker off a package of cigars and stuck it on the frame of my law degree to remind myself of the mistake I'd made by going to Yale. Thomas later said that novelist Richard Wright had been the most influential writer in his life; Wright's books Native Son and Black Boy "capture[d] a lot of the feelings that I had inside that you learn how to repress." From 1974 to 1977, Thomas was an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri under State Attorney General John Danforth, who met Thomas at Yale Law School.
Thomas grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and was educated at the College of the Holy Cross and at Yale Law School. Bush nominated Thomas for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.