Sudden, coordinated interest in Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is no new phenomenon, according to The Heartland Institute.
A list of articles from the likes of NPR, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CNN, ABC News, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, Insider, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times and more, all published between late January and late February, and boasting titles such as “Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?” epitomize the attack on the senior justice’s family, according to the Institute.
In January 2018, Mrs. Thomas interviewed her husband about his journey to the Supreme Court for the Daily Caller News Foundation. In light of the left’s renewed attack on the couple, consider the below conversation.
To begin the conversation, Mrs. Thomas asked her husband to describe some of his “lessons learned” in ascendance to the Supreme Court, citing his “wingspan” from “poverty in Georgia” to “left-wing radical” and more. “When you look at why you’re still here or how you managed to survive, it’s beyond me,” the justice said in response. “Certainly, it would be miracle after miracle after miracle,” he said of how he reached his current station.
Mrs. Thomas asked her husband about the role of humility in his life and job. “It focuses you,” the justice said, turning the conversation to the role of faith in his work. “Because it tells you not to focus on whether you’re praised or criticized.”
“What really matters is whether or not you do what you are called to do,” Justice Thomas said. “Faith … it gives content and meaning to the oath I took.”
“At the end of my oath … you say, ‘so help me, God.’ It’s an oath to God,” the justice said. “So, if you have a strong faith in God, then that oath gains in meaning and content. So, when you violate that, you’re not violating a contract or a mere promise, but an oath to God.”
“I go to Mass before I go to work, and the reason for that is not just habit,” he said. “It … starts you in a way of doing this job, a secular job, the right way for the right reasons.”
Mrs. Thomas asked what blessings come to her husband’s mind, reflecting on a life of nearly 70 years as of the time of the conversation. “Certainly, being born in this country,” the justice replied first. “I just don’t see it happening any place else,” he said, recalling that his wife added the phrase “only in America” to his acceptance speech following nomination to the Supreme Court by former President George H. W. Bush.
Additionally, Justice Thomas named his inheritance of faith, people he met and experiences, especially literacy, among the blessings he considered upon being prompted.
After the two shared a laugh about books that came to Justice Thomas’ mind while discussing the blessing of literacy, Mrs. Thomas asked her husband what advice he would offer to those entering marriage. “The person you’re marrying is an adult, you’re not raising somebody,” the justice replied. “I keep a sign on my desk,” he said, “don’t make fun of your wife’s choices, you were one of them.”
The couple spoke briefly of interracial marriage. “I just don’t think of it,” Justice Thomas said. “I don’t think of it as some statement. You’re my wife, that’s it.”
Mrs. Thomas asked her husband about bridging the gap between “the reality of Clarence Thomas” and “the myth that some propagandists make about” him. “If they can denigrate … all the things that I’ve done … what do you think they think of you?” the justice said he asked a student or clerk in conversation about critics of Thomas’ own life. “They (young people) begin to understand when you put it in that context,” he said. “It is to their advantage … that they should not buy into these myths.”
After quoting her husband’s July 1998 speech at the National Bar Association’s annual convention, Mrs. Thomas asked about “saying those words … to that group.” “I wrote that speech because I thought it was important for someone to assert the right to, particularly among blacks, the right to think for themselves,” the justice replied. “What if, for example, someone said … that certain opinions were off-limits to all blacks … they say it every day, that a black person can’t have this set of ideas.”
Finally, Mrs. Thomas inquired into “the best part of being a justice.” Justice Thomas said that “hanging out with my law clerks” is the best part of his job. “They’re energetic, they’re fun, I’ve had over 100. They’re smart, they’re hard-working, they’re dedicated and I make them a promise that they will leave this job with clean hands, clean hearts and clear consciences,” he said. “That would be the best part, I like my colleagues.”
Recalling that he was serving his 27th term on the Supreme Court at the time of the interview, Justice Thomas said “it’s been a lot of friends, a lot of good people, a lot of great law clerks, a lot of wonderful experiences.”
Decide For Yourself
“Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America,” Mrs. Thomas told former DCNF reporter Kevin Daley. “But we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too. Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work.”
“If you are going to be true to yourself and your professional calling, you can never be intimidated, chilled, or censored by what the press or others say,” she told Daley.
“The legal lane is my husband’s—I never much enjoyed reading briefs and judicial opinions anyway and am quite happy to stay out of that lane,” Mrs. Thomas told Daley. “We do not discuss cases until opinions are public—and even then, our discussions have always been very general and limited to public information.”