Yale Law School
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Justice Clarence Thomas ’74 Visits the Law School

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ’74 returned to Yale Law School on December 14 to meet with student groups, teach a class, and attend a reception for faculty and guests hosted by Dean Robert Post ’77.

The Justice taught a Federal Jurisdiction class with Sterling Professor of Law Akhil Reed Amar ’84 early in the afternoon, then met with members of the Yale Law School Federalist Society and the Black Law Students Association. Later, he repaired to the Dean’s Office for a private reception with faculty and guests.

“It was wonderful to welcome Justice Thomas back to the Law School, “ said Dean Post. “We had much history to discuss, and it was a rare opportunity for students and faculty to meet with a sitting justice in such intimate settings. We hope to have many more opportunities in the future to bring Justice Thomas back to the Law School.”

“BLSA’s meeting with Justice Thomas reflected the ideological diversity within Yale Law School’s black community as different perspectives on law and inequality were shared,” said Jamil Jivani ’13, a member of the Black Law Students Association. “Justice Thomas reminded us that we all share a common responsibility to lead our generation and determine what is right for our communities. We are thankful to Justice Thomas for accepting our invitation to meet with us and for providing insight into the convictions and experiences that inform his work.”

“The buzz about Justice Thomas continued long after his visit with us had concluded,” said Lauren Blas ’12, a member of the Federalist Society. “He left us with two powerful pieces of advice: first, avoid becoming an ‘-ist’ of any kind, or you’ll run the risk of defending your ‘-ism’ rather than seeking truth. And second, if you’re looking to persuade people to come around to your point of view (or at least, to accept its legitimacy) be kind, and be honest. Meanness never wins an argument.”

Clarence Thomas became a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1990, and after serving for sixteen months, was nominated by President George H. W. Bush as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He took his seat on October 23, 1991, filling the seat vacated by Justice Thurgood Marshall.