President George Bush nominates Judge Clarence Thomas for Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Thurgood Marshall.
1991 (Jun 30)
President George Bush nominated Judge Clarence Thomas of the U.S. District of Columbia Court of Appeals to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Thurgood Marshall. Many Black Americans rejected judge Thomas because of his stance on affirmative action programs. He was a strong opponent of such programs during his tenure as head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ironically, Thomas attended the Yale University Law School under a program designed to admit minorities. Bush's appointment was also considered controversial because some politicians and groups were reluctant to criticize an Black American nominee, but did not want a person who was as opposed to abortion or affirmative action as Thomas was believed to be. Such groups as the National Urban League and the NAACP were reluctant to reject the forty-three-year-old Thomas. In a printed statement, the Urban League commented: "We welcome the appointment of a Black American jurist to fill the vacant seat left by justice Marshall. Obviously, Judge Thomas is no Justice Marshall. But if he were, this administration would not have appointed him. We are hopeful that Judge Thomas's background of poverty and minority status will lead him to greater identification with those in America who today are victimized by poverty and discrimination. And we expect the Senate, in its confirmation hearings, to explore whether he is indeed likely to do so."