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tv   Oral Histories  CSPAN  November 1, 2015 10:00am-11:36am EST

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tv on saturday, november 7 four live interviews from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we will explore the suffering experience, the road to berlin, and the african-american story m new orleans throughout the day. world war ii: 70 years later, live from the national world war ii museum in new orleans live beginning saturday, november 7 here on c-span three. -- c-span3. >> "american history tv" what histories.l air oral explorations in black leadership was a collaboration. next, we hear from supreme court justice clarence thomas. he talks about his upbringing in the segregated south and influence of his grandfather on his career.
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this program is about 90 minutes. mr. bond: justice thomas, thank your for being with us on explorations in black leadership . i want to begin with a question about brown v board. did you have some sense that this was a big deal? justice thomas: well, not at the time. the big deal was learning the multiplication table and learning how to add, but as the years went on, particularly 1956, 1957, you got a sense of it because there was quite a bit of talk about it. my grandfather was very involved in the naacp, for example. so you heard that. you also heard, as i mentioned when i wrote my memoirs, that we saw the impeach earl warren science along the highway. -- signs along the highway. later on, i would figure it out that it was the chief justice of the united states and he was in trouble.
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mr. bond: i guess there is no way i could ever say would you ever think you'd be sitting at the building where girl worn worked? -- where burrell worn -- earl warren worked? did you have some idea of what it might mean, what it could mean as opposed to what it might have turned out to mean? justice thomas: you know, my grandfather was an interesting man. and he felt that as you -- as these rights were vindicated, that we had an obligation to measure up, to use them. i would give you an example. when the savannah public library finally desegregated and we were allowed to go to the main library, his point was that we were obligated to use it. that is, we had to show up no matter what and we had to read
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books because we finally had a right to do so. education, aso the rights became available, we had an obligation to use them properly. so he would say to me, in 1964 when i went to the seminary which was previously all-white, he said, don't shame me and don't shame the race. in other words, you have to perform. mr. bond: do you think that the brown decision had something to do with opening the doors of the seminary you attended? justice thomas: oh, i think the seminary had an impact in lots of ways, absolutely. that was 1964. that was 10 years later and things were changing slowly. but absolutely i think it got the ball rolling. i think it changed attitudes. it changed the legal arrangements. people like phyllis, on the 11th circus now, she was on the board of education in savanna and started moving things in that
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direction back then. and so in talking with her and and previously before that, johnson, who ran the reform, absolutely. there is a combination of things that moved us in that direction. yet at the same time, you have been critical of the prudence that created brown. justice thomas: oh, not critical in that sense. theould've been stronger in sense that we all, or do opinions, you look at another opinion and you say, well, i don't agree with this approach are that. mr. bond: what do you think it has turned out to mean all these years later? justice thomas: oh, i think it really did something that could've been done back when plessy was decided. and that is to affirm something that is clear in the 14th
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amendment, and that is that all citizens have the same right. all citizens of the united dates. and it made it possible in a practical way for us to at least have a possibility to have the same education. (202) 748-8000 for if you look -- mr. bond: -- justice thomas: if you look, for example, i am a big sports fan, and when i grow up, games like georgia-florida meant nothing. it meant nothing because those schools were segregated. state had savannah playing georgia state, that meant something. but now when you watch the georgia-florida game or the alabama game, you have such a large number of black athletes involved that you can see that even just from-- a perception or entertainment standpoint -- it is quite different. that campus was not open to me.
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so i think it has changed quite a bit. mr. bond: and you can trace all these to brown? oh, justice thomas: obviously. justice thomas: -- justice thomas: oh, obviously. mr. bond: i have read that you think brown is sort of a precursor of affirmative action. that it open the door. justice thomas: no, not really. i don't think i have ever said that. mr. bond: i'm not quoting you as having said that, but just that brown happened and then the enforcement of brown, or the carrying out of brown, open the racialr kind of -- of spoils system. justice thomas: not really. i think that that -- you know -- you can debate that, but that is sort of a structural injunction. wheremedy is something you have set up a broad system rather than deal with the case
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before you. but i don't think that is accurate. mr. bond: ok, i stand corrected. how do you think brown impacted your life? you talk about these private schools, which are not touched by brown, that were opened you because of brown. justice thomas: oh, i think -- just sitting here. just the fact that we are here. think about it. to the extent that people have sentiments that were inconsistent with the constitution, that were somehow enforceable either by custom or by law, brown was one of the major pieces that begin the erosion of those customs and those attitudes. whether it is in parks or public facilities, whether it is public accommodations later on, but it changed. i was right there in the late 1960's as it was just beginning to change. it wasn't changed yet, but just
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think of something as simple as being able to go half a burger. at one of the big boys in savanna. you couldn't do it. so, yes, it has changed tremendously. you cannot overestimate the significance of it. mr. bond: who were the people that have been most significant in helping you develop your talents? i know the influence your grandfather had. justice thomas: you know, i would have to really stay close to home with that because as the years have passed and i think about the people i have learned who havethe people participated in my education, it all goes back to the most crucial parts of my life. and those would be people like my neighbors, my cousins. these were uneducated people in liberty county. you have been there. you have been out in rural parts. and those people have more of a
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direct influence on me. in the educational arena, i have to start with the nuns because the thing that may -- they never bought into was a sense that somehow we were different. and we were to be treated separately. their expectations were that we were going to parochial schools and we would learn the program will school curriculum -- the parochial school curriculum and there was no difference. but then it goes on from there and he gets a little bit user. but out have to start -- mr. bond: one you picked out for special mention his sister mary. justice thomas: she is still alive. she is in her mid-90's. she is an irish immigrant. she went in the convent in 1931. she was originally, as far as at aiocese were concerned, macula conception, then she came to savannah.
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immaculate conception and see appendix in savannah had been orphanages -- and saint benedict's in savannah had been orphanages. but she was unyielding in their attitude that you would do well. it was consistent with my grandfather's attitude because as a kid, i want to do what 12 and 13-year-olds do, i want to have fun. and my grandfather's view, and hers, was that we do not have the luxury in the 1950's to have fun. that we had an obligation to perform. and to do well. mr. bond: you mentioned neighbors. what about neighbors? justice thomas: that is a really good question. nobody have -- has ever asked me that. what they do is they reinforce. the people around you reinforce. for example, if you are learning piano or an instrument or
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sports, it is called repetition. repeating it over and over and over and over. well, neighbors tended to reinforce what you are getting at home, what you're getting at school, what you're getting at your church. the positive things. what you got at the carnegie library in savanna. it was all the same message. my cousin patty, ms. gertrude, ms. gladys next door, it was all the same message. mr. bond: are these people sort of like surrogate parents? yes, it wasas: always consistent. they were my neighbors. in the south, of course, when anybody could tell you what to do. they could say go to the store to buy some snuff or whatever they wanted at the time. some sandbag that it took quite frequently. but the -- and then i remember one day i was on east broad and
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henry street just done a few blocks from our house. and we were cautioned that would across the street against the light. of course, i'm a kid so we crossed against the light. and out of the back window of the bus, you heard this voice. i am going to tell -- on you. that was the worst horse ever to hear. that was ms. gertrude. and before we got home, i don't know how she got the message to my grandmother, but before we got home, she had informed her that we crossed the street against the light, whereupon we were informed that your granddaddy would deal with you when he comes home. and that -- or he said your daddy will. worst threat to could ever have. mr. bond: so these people feel free to discipline you? justice thomas: they didn't have the need because they knew the fear of my grandfather was more
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than enough to discipline us. but if they had to, yes. and then we would get a second one from my grandfather. mr. bond: oh, boy. [laughter] do you remember personal of ends that you view as critical to your understanding of american society and history? events from the civil rights movement, ovens in savannah, something that let you -- events in savannah, something that let you know who you were, where you were, what was expected of you or what was not expected of you? justice thomas: that would be hard. i don't think it is a specific event. i think it was a daily event. and it occurred with the neighbors were with the teachers. it is a small world. we lived a short walk from our school, our grammar school. and even a shorter work from high school. -- walk from high school. the farm was a 45 minute drive, even on -- in that traffic on
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highway 17. and it was all the same attitudes, the same culture. so i think as anything of one sporadic event occurring that shaped me, it was a continuum or continuity -- of events. mr. bond: you're right about your grandfather being called boy by a white woman and struggling to restrain himself from stepping a man after another assault. what effects to these have on you? justice thomas: it had a great effect on my grandfather, which in turn headed -- had an effect on me. thats a man who thought when you talk to freedom, he talked of independence. that is the ability to do for yourself, the ability to grow your food. and he was a very active member in the naacp. we went to meetings on sunday. he would take us along because
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we had to learn it he thought that we should learn how to read so that we weren't like him where he was having to work with his hands. he wanted us to learn how to work with our minds. but i think it had an influence on him because it wasn't that he had an assault on -- from the man on his ice truck, it was that he confronted him and said some unpleasant things to him, and my grandfather's reaction was intensely passionate. he felt like he was going to harm that man. points -- it was different because we were there. the first one, we were not there. we were there as little kids and to watch him first look at us and then look back at her, they look at us again, and then no --
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it is almost as if he had made a decision that i have to raise my boys. knowing him the discipline it took for him to do the right thing and the responsible thing. mr. bond: do you think you look that you to test what your reaction would be to this insult? or to see whether or not you had noticed it and absorbed it in any particular way? justice thomas: i think it was a blow. and i think that -- he noticed us as we noticed him. kids, i think you think, what you going to do? and how are you going to deal with it? you are the greatest man we know. and some people, you know, they seem emboldened by those kind of things and take off in the wrong direction and do something that can ultimately be self-destructive. he did the hard thing. discipline.d his
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and that is a lesson to me and my brother that even when you might feel strongly about something or feel justified in doing something, that could be self-destructive. you must do something that is more prudent and certainly beneficial and constructive in the long run. too much maybe putting into this, sort of an exercise in self-control. justice thomas: that is right. mr. bond: look at how i am reacting to this. justice thomas: remember what he said, that is precisely the point i am making. remember, he always said to us that i will never tell you to do as i say, i always will tell you to do as i do. that is a hard burden to put on yourself. because we did indeed watch him. we were kids. we were always around him. it isn't like today when parents are hauling kids around to soccer and it is like the parents are working for the kids. it was the other way around.
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we were like the little ducklings following the leader. mr. bond: whether any incidents in the news when you're growing up in savannah that let you know who you were and what some people thought about you or how you are to think about yourself? justice thomas: oh, i can remember being herded into a little den where the motorola tv was, and the news was a big deal in those days. and we all had to watch what was going on in little rock. and being horrified. and later on, we would see the hose things and we would watch -- hosing and we would watch what happened in birmingham. it absolutely had a tremendous impact. mr. bond: i am the same age as the little rock nine, and they had a big influence on me because they were my age and i saw people like me in birmingham , i'm guessing in 1963, so these
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are children roughly your age. the fact that these young people or doing this speed to your more profoundly than it might have done had they been older people? justice thomas: i was in the ninth grade when that happened. and ninth grade, as a young kid, you begin to feel -- [indiscernible] and you begin to have this sense that we should be doing something. i can remember my grandfather distinctly telling us, away, you are not old enough -- no way, you are not old enough. your job is to go to school. your job is to learn. so, yes, you saw it all. you saw other parts of the country and you also read about what was happening in savannah. the lunch counters, the kids from savannah state with the sudan. -- with the sit in.
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grandfather using his property for bill. working with the naacp. and they can have an effect. mr. bond: a few minutes ago, you mentioned wesley law. a man who, mind you, fleetingly, but -- did other people have sent to mr. said there was a man in my town who was a leader and raised matters. nothe was pointed out to me to somebody i ought to imitate, but somebody doing things for the race. justice thomas: he was revered in our household. the ww law, we called him. he was a mailman and he was very active. he was a leader. he was summoned who was very supportive, and we disagreed on some things years later, but those disagreements didn't change things with me and how i looked at him. but he was just a man who stood
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it was it looked like dangerous to stand up. he was one who said, this is wrong. and not going to work to make changes. -- and i am going to work to make changes. the other people who i didn't know who were revered in our high school, kravitz was a local lawyer in savannah who happened to be jewish and allowed black lawyers to use his library and things like that. and his daughter, phyllis, who is now on the 11th circuit court of appeals. and a number of others who would fight back or who would actually show up to the meeting. that is what my grandfather would talk about. who showed up, and who didn't show up. who had property to use for bail money, and who refused to allow their property to be used. there was another gentleman in our area, sam all items, who is a -- williams, who was a friend
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of my grandfather, who was also involved. mr. bond: so they are doing things, not necessarily that you have to do these things, but they are doing things that are admirable and setting an example for others. and the ones who don't do these things are, in effect, letting the community down. justice thomas: it was different than because they didn't always agree on what it was they should be doing. mr. bond: sure. justice thomas: as you remember years later, when some of us became very radical, we were critical of the sort of go slow approach, or people working within the system. but my grandfather's attitude was that you should do something. you should not just sit and do nothing. and you didn't have to always agree on what that something was, but you don't just accept the status quo because you are lazy or you are fearful. and they were put up, there were shown as examples of people who
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actually took the risk and made the effort to do something. mr. bond: even if it was something that you didn't necessarily agree with, they were doing something. 3 that is exact way -- justice thomas: that is exactly paired mr. bond: let me take you back to the time -- that is exactly paired mr. bond: let me take you back to the time when you are at the seminary and you hear the news of martin luther king's assassination. is you heard, this s.o.b. finally dead. jack up itat do seems to have set you off the path to priesthood -- what did that do? it seems to have set you off the path to priesthood. justice thomas: that year, i was beginning to be a little bit shaky about it. what he said was, that is good, i hope the s.o.b. died.
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i wasn't following every move of dr. king because there were others at the time. the beginning of the black power thing, malcolm x has been around, and there were some more dissension than people talk about today, but there was, you know, some dissension. but that wasn't it. it was deeper than that. this was a man of god. who was, again, whether you agreed or disagreed, was doing something right. and he was doing something for good. why would a fellow seminary in wish him dead -- seminarian wish him dead? this was the end. at the same time, something else was happening. this sort of racial awareness. the fact that as you got older and you thought more deeply and -- the with, seminarian
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more i thought about it, the more i thought the church should have been to more to point out that this is morally wrong and objectionable. of course, that was not the case, at least as i saw it. i was looking at it from my very limited perspective at that time. yes, it was the end of my vocation. mr. bond: and then your right to later, or talk later, about an experience at holy cross when you joined a protest in harvard square in 1970, and then begin to ask yourself, again, according to this interview, why was i doing this rather than using my intellect. justice thomas: well, that goes back to my grandfather. he said that there are gifts that you have, opportunities that you are given to elevate. to become better educated. there was more available, so we
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had an obligation to do more with it. not to be in the streets. to be actually learning, to think these things through. not just reacting on this kind of visceral level. and i couldn't figure out why i was there. and i was very upset. on a lot of these college campuses than anyone 19, 20 years old, a lot of us were upset. but there was more to it. let's hearken back to the point i made about him, the lady insulting my grandfather in front of us. he had to make some decisions. he had to react in a different way. in a way that he felt was constructive. again, that example is there. what would he do? i think he expected much more of me than what was eyes -- then what i was doing. i was doing.
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mr. bond: you are protesting something in harvard square and you said to yourself, my grandfather would have wanted me to do something else. what was that something else? justice thomas: he wanted me to go to school. he did not have great confidence in me at this point because i had become quite radicalized and he did not understand that. but he would want to me to go to school. and he would want me to learn. because he never had that chance. wasa gift that i did have the capacity, the ability to do well in school. and to learn. so even though you may not have known -- mr. bond: so even though he may not have known that you are in harvard square marching up and down, he wanted you to be paying attention for what you are at school for. justice thomas: you know, we all
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have kids, and they go off, and we still have expectations of them. i always dragged around what i thought his expectations were of me. i think i refer to them in my memoirs as a brooding on the press. -- omnipress. 25thrday was the 21st, anniversary of his death. this week is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of dr. king. and it is just -- there are some things that are always there. that date is always there. and april of 1968 1968 are always there and poignant. the assassination of bobby kennedy is always there in 1968. the assassination of john f. kennedy is always there. there are some of these big events -- back to my
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grandparents of the ones i have mentioned -- that are always there. you never forget them as reference points. the person of my grandfather, even to this day, never evaporates. it is always there. that is why when you asked me earlier about the early influences, i go right back to that source because you read all these authors, you listen to your philosophy professors, you meet people over the years, you read all sorts of books, and what i have found is that i have no sort of intimacy with them. i would see the words, i see the written words, i see the thoughts, the ideas, but the person who has touched the whole person is back home. it is my grandparents, really. mr. bond: so in spite of the reading, the education you have had at college, at yale, i'm
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guessing that this is an ever present influence on you. justice thomas: and the most dominant. mr. bond: despite the fact that he has passed away 25 years ago. still the most dominant. justice thomas: well, i think that -- you know -- as i say in my book that he was the greatest man i have ever known. thingow, he did the right when it was easy to do the wrong thing. that it is easy today to be upset, but is that always the right thing? you and i saw a couple of guys we knew at the bar, and they had a legitimacy for each other, we wouldn't say go and have it out. we would try to figure out a way. if your kids or your grandkids are having a little disagreement , you pull them apart and say, now, what is the right way to deal with it?
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and i think that is what he was trying to show us with his own life because there were lots of things, lots of injustices and unfairness that sort of gift nipped him -- sort of away at him, yet he showed us how to deal with all that and continue on in a positive and constructive way. that great model. on andd: -- but to push hold himself -- justice thomas: hold himself are correct and proud, and to achieve and accomplish in spite of it all. and to figure out a way to get the boys to do the same thing. mr. bond: let me shift gears a little bit. how do you choose your career? justice thomas: you know, i was in the seminary. school, i-- in law spent a lot of time -- i always felt that those of us to whom much is given of him, much is expected. and we always, whether we had
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or beans or peas, we always took it to those who needed it. so it came natural. as someone who is going to become a priest, it is a calling that you would help other people. why else? how do you show love but to reach out to those were less fortunate? and so i worked in community programs, even at college and law school. mental hospitals. we did a free breakfast program. and that is a more radical thing. so when i got to moscow, i worked -- when i got to law school -- mr. bond: what was the decision to go to law school? justice thomas: it is tied to going back to savannah. it was a part of the vocation. when you cease being a priest,
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how do now help? int was going on in savannah 1967, 19 68, 1969? you know that the society was changing. there is unfairness. and another name you may remember from savannah is bobby yale. mr. bond: i was just thinking about him. justice thomas: he was my hero. i didn't know him that well, but from a distance, that was the model to go back and be a part of that. jones, in fact. that was my goal, to go work for him. mr. bond: -- [indiscernible] justice thomas: and i was in that firm. martin was in that firm, fletcher was there, bill coleman junior was there for one year. and i was there that summer. roy allen, who has since passed away, was also there.
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mr. bond: i served with roy in the legislature. justice thomas: my point is simply that my specific goal -- i have never worked for a law from other than that offer. my specific goal was to go back and be a part of that firm. mr. bond: and how did that not happen? justice thomas: well, i worked there during the summer of 1973 and reached the conclusion that it was not the right place. it was heartbreaking and also caused further distance between my grandfather and me because it was clear then that i would not be returning to savannah at that time. mr. bond: i wondered was there another opportunity for you legally in savannah besides the hill law firm? did you approach others? justice thomas: i tried in different ways. i wrote letters and called around. the answer was no. nor were there any opportunities in atlanta. that is why i didn't wind up in atlanta.
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just as i said, i received a series of rejection from atlanta, and that is why i wound up in jefferson city, missouri. mr. bond: when jackson stopped being mayor after two terms, no law firm in atlanta made him an offer. he had to go to chicago. anyways, you end up in jefferson city, missouri. and you are doing, as i understand it, mostly tax work. justice thomas: i started out with criminal work. that was the beginning. it was really interesting because you show up, of course you had to pass the bar exam. a great learning experience in many ways. and september 14, i became a member of the bar missouri. september 17, i argued my first case before the supreme court of missouri. you can imagine what i was like at 26 years old. but the job was great.
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it was an enormous amount of work to do. and this was purely -- it is one of these swim or sink situations. there was very little supervision because people didn't have time. the great part about it was that the work came to you in an indiscriminate manner. there was so much of it it just poured in, and you just did it as it came in. it was a wonderful experience. the other great part of it was that i worked for a person who was a good man. so, even today, i advise my law clerks or any kids who ask me for advice to work for the person, not the job. because, again, it is like learning from my grandfather. you can learn so much by observing a good person and having a good person, supervisor. mr. bond: and that was an? -- dan? justice thomas: yes.
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he never mixed the politics of his job with the function of the office. infused -- ever confused and we never had to change things because it had his political interests. mr. bond: you strike me as an pc -- heperson -- strikes me as unusual person. justice thomas: he is a deeply religious man. and he did not wear that, though, on his sleeves when we worked for him. and we knew he was a minister, but we never saw it. it was only years later that i saw that. but he is just a good man. mr. bond: is there a point in her life -- and i want to take you back to your school days -- when you think to yourself, i am a leader of the people?
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other kids follow me. is there a moment or a time or a place where that strikes you? justice thomas: no. mr. bond: not at all? not in grade school, not in high school? justice thomas: i was never a leader in that sense. i never ran for office. i am like i am at the court. quiet and i didn't ask questions. in college, are two active in forming the black student group? justice thomas: that was because i could type. i had my type writer. that is why i became the secretary because i had a typewriter and i could type and i could edit. mr. bond: surely it had to be more than that. justice thomas: i did -- you know -- when i first arrived on campus, the head of the black student union was a younger full -- wonderful young man, and he
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heard that i could type. and i was a transfer student. proposedught over the constitution and told me the changes they wanted to make. and it was a handwritten portion. and he said, would you type it up? i said, oh, fine. i typed it up and made the edits. and that was it. i was reliable, let's put it that way. and this was something, again, that came from my grandfather. he said take the tractor and go back to the field and paul. and he would go back and inspected later on. you have to be reliable without supervision. no, i would never -- you know -- i wasssmates to this day, probably one of the least likely people to be leading anything. it just wasn't -- i didn't see myself that way. mr. bond: there was never a time where you said i can lead people to do something?
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i have the ability within myself to get others to follow me. and i don't mean all you blindly, but to follow you. never at all? justice thomas: no. i was more independent. i would think things through and make my own decision. i probably wasn't a great follower either. if anything, i would say i was just independent, more like my grandfather. i would participate, i was parts -- i was a part of a lot of things. i was a part of the black student union, i was a part of some other organizations, i was a part of the school newspaper, so i did also took things. but i would not have pegs me -- the only thing i could say about the leadership part of it is. thai fund for myself to i like to think things through and i love the idea of talking and persuading. i think we have kind of gotten away from that in the society.
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mr. bond: that is a little bit of what i mean. talking and persuading. you have an idea in a way of thinking, and here is another fellow or classmate or student who thinks differently or doesn't think quite the same way. and you can convince that person. or you can try. is it that some aspect of leadership? justice thomas: if you define it that way, then yes. i think that is a part of being educated. i think that is a part of the discipline of education. i think it is the most wonderful thing to open up the mind and think, you don't have to agree with me, but let's talk about this. whether it is philosophy or history or art, let's just talk about it. it could be the constitution. because the way that we have kind of gotten out is that -- kind ofow is that it is almost a religious thinker then it was like you could go -- i
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remember in law school we would beerer a dollar pitcher of and we would talk and the ideas were free-flowing. i found those to be wonderful. if you define it as willing to exchange and debate ideas, then yes, that is a part of leadership. mr. bond: i have to say, don't you think that people said, oh, clarence thomas thinks that way about that? don't thinkas: i they said that politely, and they didn't call me clarence. i was interested in everything. if someone had a good argument, i was interested in looking at that argument and taking the time. it is a fascinating part about meeting people because they might come from a different part of the country, they have a
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different sort of education, they think a different way. it made education exciting. and i think when someone comes in and they already have all the answers, that is a boring person because now they are sort of reaching to you. whereas i was more interested in processing it all and thinking it through. i think there would be times that people would say generously he has some ideas. mr. bond: i bet some people said it. when you get to the eeoc, you are leading 3000 people. clearly by the nature of the job, you are a leader. did you think of yourself that way there? i know you are a modest guy. didn't you think that, i am in charge of this? justice thomas: well, it is like -- actually, it started at the department of education in 1981. all of a sudden, you show up. i was 32 years old.
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and there are about 800, 900 people in this organization. i said, oh, my goodness, what am i going to do now? so you are sort of selected and you are put in charge. again, it is sink or swim. and then i go to eeoc. and really it is a spreadout organization with any number of problems. and now you must lead. from by the borrow people that you respect, i respected and admired the way senator danforth did things. so i did have the sort of litmus tests about people. i didn't put people in boxes. you allow people to do their jobs. there are some people that didn't perform, and you got with them as individuals. but you didn't put people in boxes. that was the point when you are thrust into a leadership
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position and you are required when you are in these positions to do the job the best you can, and you must become a leader. mr. bond: one is you said you are selected. and you are selected for some reason because people can't -- people say he can't do it. then you have the job and have to demonstrate that you can do the job. so you're not just picked willy-nilly. some qualityin you of leadership. justice thomas: i don't know. you know, i would like to think so, but i just don't know. i have been around washington long enough not to be presumptuous enough to think that somebody saw something particular about the -- me. mr. bond: nobody is going to say, give him that job, he is going to mess it up. justice thomas: maybe. i don't know. then ice i am there --
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think you are obligated to perform. my view is very simple about these jobs. that is that you are required to -- when you're pushing a as best to do the job you can. and a part of leading is leading by example. so if you expect other people to put the hours in, you put the hours in. if you expect other people to be fair to each other, you have to be fair. if you expect other people to be disciplined in decision-making, you have to be disciplined in decision-making. example, one for of the hardest things to do in this job is to terminate people. you can ask any executive. bring a person and terminate people. over the years, whether i was at monsanto or the department of education on the hill, where ever i was, it always bothered me when someone had to work
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themselves into a frenzy to terminate a person. to imagine that they are angry with the person, almost like it cap talk before a football game -- pep talk before a football game. i always thought you had to do what you had to do. person from measure of dignity. and that is a simple thing, but i always thought it was very, very important. ands put in his positions, once in those positions, i think you have to learn how to lead. mr. bond: let me ask you what you see as the difference between vision, philosophy, and style. how do these interact for you? vision, velocity, style. justice thomas: wow. how would you define vision? mr. bond: how would you define vision? justice thomas: i guess, for me,
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i am not that creative. let's just take eeoc when i was leading there. i had a sense that an organization should, no matter , some peoplegoing might have different policy, but the machinery of it should work. you get in your car and you might decide that you want to drive over to northwest. but you want it to work to get to northwest. i might decide i want to go to the northeast. we may godifferent -- different directions, but in both cases our expectation is the machinery. that is what i thought about eeoc. first of all, let's just make it work. so my view is to have an organization that worked, and that the people who were integral to it -- it was not me -- the people who were integral where the career people.
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so wherever i was, whatever i was doing, the career people had to buy into it. it was their organization. it was their careers. some of them had grown up there. so if there was a vision, it was more that. -- we hadto make sure tens of thousands of cases coming through there. there was going to be a tiny fraction that we disagreed about, but the overwhelming all of it, we all agreed on -- overwhelming bulk of it, we all agreed on it. if it was a vision to have the machine they work, and to have the people who were there as career people would be the major players. mr. bond: and then philosophy. justice thomas: you know, i don't know if i had a management philosophy other than that a job worth doing is worth doing well.
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and that everyone should be treated fairly. i was not one of these people -- i am not really tolerant of people who don't do their work. i'm not going to sit here and tell you that. i am not tolerant of me not doing my work. and my view is more like my grandfathers. you are here to do a job. and you do it. if you are not going to do it, you are not going to be here. on the other hand, if you do your job and do it well, i am your best friend. so my best managers always had incomes that exceeded my. -- mine. i would send them off to harvard to enhance their careers in different ways. i also had these wonderful programs -- when you run a fairly decent size organizations, you have some latitude. you put, say, women or minorities and programs that would enhance their careers. and these weren't like giving preferences, it was getting that
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pool of ready, expanding it to move into upper management. whether it was at eeoc or other agencies. and the good news about that is that in the long run, it worked. they went off and did other things. i felt that -- my philosophy was that i treat people the way i wanted to be treated. and i treated the organization in a way that i would want to manage retreat and organization of line. mr. bond: and what about style? justice thomas: ima meat and potatoes guy. i don't mean that dietary wise, but i'm straightforward. some people tend to be flamboyant. i am not that kind of person. i don't pretend to be that kind of person. what you see is what you get. i'm going to tell you exactly what i think. i mark right to play games with you. and i do believe that it is
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critical of the manager for credibility, for the organization, for yourself to level with people. if you want to be positive, you tell them in a measured way exactly what you think. in a positive way. if you have to bring unpleasant news, there is a decent way to do it. without destroying another human being. the other thing -- you know -- we have the most diverse organizationise -- probably in the government. so one of the things that you had to be clear about is that we start on a very human level. we are dealing with human beings. everybody is a human being. i don't pigeonhole people. you don't treat lacks a certain way, hispanics another way, native americans another way, people who were disabled another way, you don't do that. a human being is a human being
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is a human being. yes, people have a particular problem because of certain attributes, but that doesn't identify them. they are human beings. i found that works far better than putting people in different pigeonholes and treating them accordingly. mr. bond: some people categorize the making of leaders in three ways. a, great people cause great event. b, movements cause great leaders. c, conflicts create leaders appropriate for the times. does one of these fit you? we have established you are a leader. justice thomas: oh, i don't know. i think i just have to take that as we assume that i am. i think- you know -- that at times things are demanded of you. and you can either say no.
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think about your life could if there were things that were demanded of you at a certain life,- think about your if there were things that were demanded of you at a certain time. i said, boy, you know, i am sitting here talking to justice marshall and i mccabe. wow. two and a half hours later it was supposed to be a 10 meter ,eeting -- 10 minute meeting during that two and a half hours i said to him that if i had the courage, when he was going around the south arguing these separate but equal cases eventually leading up to brown, that i wish i could have been there with him but i don't know if i had the courage. he leaned up and said, i had to do in my time when i had to do. and you have to do in your time what you have to do. and i think it might come down to that. to do certainon
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things at a certain time. do see it as a calling more than ambition or anything else. and i can't say it is planned. i don't know which of those definitions fit. i think that they all may be right to a certain extent. i think mip and uncertain countless that leads us to where we are. mr. bond: do you see your legitimacy as a leader grounded in your ability to persuade people to follow your vision? or in your ability to articulate the agenda of the movement? , itice thomas: well, for us is different here at the court. when i was at eeoc, it was meeting people -- leading people in a direction. and one of the most gratifying things was when i was leaving eeoc, to have people who were somewhat reluctant and reticent when i arrived to be so lovingtive and to just --
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because we had gone in the right direction. whether no one else knew it, they knew it. and that is all that mattered. now, up here, this is different. this is more quiet, just like this room for we work alone. i work at home. it is more contemplative. that is different. just think of this. one of the greatest opinions that i think the u.s. report is the dissent in plessy versus ferguson. there alone, but still all this time like a monument to what is right. and then one day, it changes. everything changes. the leadership becomes more like what my grandfather. a pillar, a rock. you think it through, you make sure it is right, and you leave it there.
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and maybe one day it will become a touchstone for some movement. plessy, the dissent in became. dissent, andthat in your work today, part of what you do is to try to convince your colleagues that what you think is the correct way to go, as opposed to what they think, is something different. that you try to achieve through this collegial conversation that you have an through the writings of your opinions that they should join you, they should sign on with you. there has to be a lot of that going on here. justice thomas: it happens in specific cases. it also happens over a common tenure that we have. justice white said when i got ise that what matters now what you do here. intramural
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institution in that sense. the members of the court in a professional way live with each other. it is a family. there is a sense of knowledge of each other and intimacy with each other that is unusual and organizations. we are not fighting for a promotion or the corner office or anything. it is all about the work. so overlook -- so the relationships do matter. and one of the things that does matter is your credibility with your colleagues, your honesty with them, how you treat them, how they respect you and you respect to them. i got a note was from one of my colleagues -- i am not going to give the name, but not justice scalia -- saying that you are a wonderful colleague did i understood what that -- colleague. i understood what that meant. our feelings were neutral and we
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didn't often agree. but it has to do with respecting. rightect my colleagues' to disagree with me at any time. and they, in turn, respect mine. and you learn that from them. so it is the credibility that then becomes the engine to be able to persuade them because they know that you are not playing games, you are not twisting or shading, that it is about the integrity of the body of your work and are thinking that is important. and there are times, again, purely intramural when that changes minds. when they know they can read what you have written and they know that that is precisely what you are saying. there is no alter your motive, no distant agenda that is about these cases. , but i don'tmatter think it is a tactical writing of an opinion. a body body of work and of the way you conduct yourself.
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mr. bond: a case comes before the court and involves some issue you feel strongly on, and you want to take x approach, and you find that your colleague y wants to take the other approach. approach. there has to be some back-and-forth between you where he is trying to bring you to his side or her side. you are trying to bring them to yours. that must occur. well, probably not as long as you might think. we have been here a long time. but if i were here -- and i will never be here -- i'm going to say, i can bring clarence thomas over here. i could bring you along and you could bring me along. but at someas: point if you have an approach that is fundamentally different from my approach, we are not going to coincide.
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if you decide to drive northeast and i decide to drive northwest we are not driving together. but you learn how to live without. but what happens over time is that sometimes we see, well, maybe you have a point. not just on one case, but over a body of cases, and you move each other a little. not necessarily heading in the same direction, but we are , and a closer direction. does that make sense? mr. bond: yes. justice thomas: what i think is crucial here is that there is no marketing, there is no self-promotion. we know each other. we sit in the conferences, we hear each other, we look at the draft, we talk to each other. you always put all your cards on the table, face up. for example, if i'm drafting an
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opinion and that draft goes around to all eight of the other members of the court -- it does not go just to one or two -- if i disagree about something the way it happens is that i write a letter. for example, dear ruth, to justice ginsburg. i do not agree with your reasoning for these reasons. lesson --ite and his his letters by saying cheers, byron. it is always warm, friendly, cordial. and then she might say, i will make some adjustments to accommodate your voice and -- point of view. it is all back and forth. over time we have to learn how to respect and work with each other. mr. bond: in their individual ways, each of your colleagues is exhibiting some kind of leadership, trying to steer these parallel courses to become
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closer and closer. and you and all of them engage in this -- i would guess, fairly routinely. it seems really interesting. this goes back to the process of education. the truth seeking effort. it is really hard. i have often said his job is only easy for people who already have the answers before they start, or for people who only have one point of view or no authority to make any decisions. for the rest of us it is really hard, because what you're trying the right answer that is not right just because you feel it is right, not just your personal opinion. that is easy. the hard part is what is the right answer under this document and this statute. that is a little harder.
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i think my colleagues -- justice powell said when i first arrived here, he said that when you reach a point where you think you belong it is time for you to leave. the process councils some it is a lot harder than looking at a bottom line and saying, i agree or disagree. in your years here, and i are you probably don't like to talk about individual cases, but has your search for truth in a case taken you to places that surprised you? justice thomas: yes, in many cases. it takes me in places that are not necessarily consistent with my personal opinion. the i do with my clerks -- young man who came here a minute ago is one of my current clerks -- i tell them up front what my initial reaction is. me the way weatch
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watch my grandfather when that lady came. you watch me, and you make sure that i do not put that in that opinion. do not allow me to do that. discipline, just like he has to have a discipline, i have to have a discipline. the interesting thing is that these opinions have a long shelf plessy had ake long and unfortunate shelflife. that opinion did not have to be written that way, and it could have been written in the right way so easily. rate, irate -- at any try to not allow my personal views to drift into the opinion, except in the appropriate way, with respect to jurisprudence. mr. bond: do you have a general philosophy that guides you through life? and if you do, how has it sustained you through moments of challenge or moments of
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alienation, a general philosophy? justice thomas: i think that -- you know, i am religious. even when i thought i was not religious i was religious. faith has been just a central part of it which allows me to survive in lots of ways, even in my memoirs i mention, whenever there were slight i went to the travel. over the years, even when i wasn't going to church i would make visitation. as far as the way i deal with other people, i believe very strongly that you do and to others as you would have been doing to you, that i treat people the way i want to be treated. i don't care who it is. the person could be picking up trash or arguing before the court, or whatever. i think that people deserve the same respect that i think i would deserve if i was in that position.
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there are other things that i could get into, but i think those are central to me. mr. bond: how does raise -- consciousness -- race consciousness affect your work? you see yourself as someone who advances issues of race or issues of society, or both? is there a distinction? is there such a thing as a race transcending leader? justice thomas: let's just take the transcendence. i think that there are some things that are common to us all. and when i found myself in seminary as the only black kid in savanna in the late 60's, i have to find things that we all have in common. obviously we do. seecould look at me and that i was different, but that has been true throughout my life. my grandfather used to say that
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people were quick to dismiss somebody. he used to say well, you can find good and everybody. there are exceptions to that rule that you can find good and everybody. or as lincoln is said to have said, i don't like that fellow. that means i have to get to know him. i think you can find something that we all have in common. you asked me a few minutes ago about management style. i looked at every person i came in contact with. what do we have in common? and we worked from there. we established that foundation. now with respect to race consciousness, we are race conscious. we are a race conscious society. we look at each other in different ways. we segment of the population, we fragment population -- we fragment the population. of course as a member of our
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race, there has been a treatment. i went back recently and downed plantation that i was from. it was there, just a few miles from where we farmed. not even a few miles, but i had never been allowed to go on it. it was a little theory -- theory -- eerie. now how do you deal with that? you can deal with it by focusing exclusively on that and putting yourself right back where you came from. how do you -- how do you get broader than that? i like to start by focusing on what we have in common, what transcends race, recognizing that race will always be a con just of the way we live. that, do youlowing have a different leadership style when you deal with groups that are all black, mixed-race, or all white? justice thomas: no. mr. bond: the same with groups
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falling into each category? justice thomas: when i was at eeoc i had my standard civil rights speech, and i remember getting up at a conference in hawaii and looking out and saying oh my goodness. this is a totally different population than my standard speech addresses. you have hawaiians, you had japanese, you had samoans. i said this speech does not match the audience. so obviously there is some tailoring that you do, but i think the core message is the same. i stay consistent, even with my law clerk. i don't change if the law clerk in black or female or asian. they are human beings and i try to deal with people on that level. in the book called
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"challenging the civil rights establishment" the author quotes william allen. he writes in a danger in continually quote thinking in terms of race or gender. until we learn to use american freedom to embrace all of us, we are going to continue to harm this country. is there a danger of further divisiveness when we focus on the concept of black leadership? justice thomas: oh, i don't know. i know him, and i think he was probably thinking in much more global or higher levels than the specificity required for black leadership. erudite and brilliant political theorist and philosopher. that you have to recognize that there are race specific problems.
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there are just specific problems to, say, native americans, or the elderly. framethink that we can ourselves that way. if you look at the first amendment, it does not break those groups. just to take an amendment that thes -- does hard work in area of race, it speaks of citizens, it speaks of persons. what we were arguing for is that we were actually being denied the fullness of the benefits of that amendment, whether it is in round or any of the other cases -- brown or any of the other cases. i think the constitution gives us right as citizens, and we should make the argument or have the discussion on that level, you have to always recognized that there are specific programs. >> -- there are --
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-- there are specific problems for members of specific groups. mr. bond: do you feel that black leaders have an obligation to help other african-americans? is there a point at which that obligation ends and one can pursue his or her own ambitions? justice thomas: first of all, let me just say, i have not had those ambitions. i know that sounds odd, but my life has been one of just doing what i was supposed to do and doing the best job i could. but let's go to this point. i think we are obligated to help people and those who are less fortunate. and i could be even more specific. kids who look like me, who come for my neighborhood. my view is that i help anybody who is trying who is less fortunate. week, thisis wonderful organization that i have been part of this i have been on the court.
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it is for underprivileged kids. these kids have been abused, they have come from difficult circumstances. it is a way to help kids who in the who are -- circumstances i was in at their age. so i think it is not just black, it is not just women, it is not just hispanics or mixed-race. it is everybody. we are obligated to help others. mr. bond: you have written about the destructiveness of slavery, segregation, talked about the damage done. can the playing field be leveled , and can government level the playing field? and can it do so without breeding the kind of dependency that you have also talked about? justice thomas: that is the hard one. that is the one that has you pacing the floor at 2:00 in the morning and worrying about it. certainly when i was in a
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policymaking role i always worried about that, how far can you go without your solution becoming as harmful as what you thought the problem was? isn't thather -- fascinating -- he used to go out in the woods in the early morning and come back later. he never had anything. he would never kill anything. he had his gun across his shoulder and he would just come back, and that he would go and have breakfast. he said he was just thinking. these were the same problems he was thinking about. how do you help without hurting? i think weink -- sometimes ask the wrong questions. there is a lot of harm, whether it is a broken family, crime, habits, just negative influences. it is devastating. i'm ever trying to talk quite about -- quite a bit about this
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when i was at eeoc. i don't talk as much about it now, but i do think that when systems to prevent people, based on race, from a competent bank, that you have to rectify that. remedy.com run it -- and we have to do that in specific areas. i don't know how global you can make that, for that running in -- without running into constitutional limitations, and i also don't know how far you can go without creating or causing additional harm. example, i can or member when i was at the department of education that the was to desegregate the universities in the south. but one of the other efforts, the corollary to that, was to basically desegregate the black colleges.
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and if not, there was sort of this subliminal, implicit argument that they had to be eliminated, like savannah state or langston university, smaller ones. and i thought, why would you do that to rectify a problem? a further example of that is my high school, saint pius high school in savannah. it turned out all these wonderful kids. 98th percentile, 99th percentile. example, in an all-black high school. well, that was closed in 1973 because of what the experts said , due in part to the social situation. to me the remedy became worse than -- first of all, i saw nothing wrong with the school. but that sort of absurd application of remedy -- but i
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don't know, i don't know how far you go. the constitution has very strict limits, in my opinion, on the use of race and sex categories. it is citizenship and person. an ethic we have to be very careful that we are not locking precedents that in the long run will be doing greater harm. mr. bond: a justice said years ago that if you want to go beyond the great you have to go to great. justice thomas: that was just as black. i don't know what that means. i think it means that you can't talk about remedies unless those remedies have some consciousness in them. you know, i read that and read it, and reread it, and i don't know. in order to be dry you must be wet. i don't understand it. rate, -- at any rate,
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a great case i know a little bit about, paradise versus alabama, state to a case involving the exclusion of a black person from the state troopers, and alabama was ordered to do this and they wouldn't do it every time. finally, after i think three higher court l.a. -- orders for alabama, they said you will one black higher trooper for every white sugar. incident where order to get beyond raise you had to go to race as a remedy. justice thomas: i think sometimes and you have a specific case, you have a class action for example -- i assume that was a class-action. mr. bond: it was. justice thomas: the courts have imposed specific remedies for that. you and i might disagree, but sometimes the remedy has to be very firm and clear cut. that is not global, that is a
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specific case. now, let's say they have been cooperative and done what they were supposed to do. justice thomas: i don't have the answers for all those cases. i tend to be very reticent, raceg lived in a minute -- conscious environment, where we were actually excluded because of race, to now say that somehow i am comfortable with counting by race. i think that we can build into that constitution certain exclusions that will come back to conduct. mr. bond: what do you see as your greatest contribution as an african-american leader? you can't deny the you are a leader. justice thomas: i don't think about that, i really don't. i think that when you are called upon to do a job, you doing the best you can -- you do it the
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best you can, and when it is over you go away. you just be grateful for the opportunities you had. i don't look back and wonder about legacy or whether or not -- how i am going to be treated in books or anything like that. i think that is just thinking too highly of yourself. i think it is about the job and the cases that you sit on, you try to just make sure you do it right. iu know, my grandfather -- said to you that when i went in the seminary he said boy, don't shame me, and don't shame the race. just do your job. do it competently. i don't do anymore or any less. i don't play games, i don't do things to be flamboyant or draw attention. i just do my job. the proof is in the pudding. all the talk about style and this and that, when we are long gone, the proof is in the
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reports. , you arehave a clue me. is the defense, plessy versus ferguson. clueer you nor i have any what the circumstances will be in this country 50 or 100 years from now. we don't know which cases will jump out of the courts and be the determinative case. i live with the cost of that. these printable to have a much longer shelf life than these sort of quick, flash in the pan ,ort of sad that come on ly,ther jurisprudential socially, or otherwise. all i want to do is do my job in a way where and i think of my grandfather overlooking me, know that he would say that it is a job well done. when you are so
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raising an opinion, are you conscious of this 50 years that have yet to come? justice thomas: i am conscious that this is going to be here a long time, and i don't know to what use it will be put, but that is a very good question. that we arew clerks not writing current events. we are writing for a much longer period. again, look at plessy. not saying that anything that i have written rivals the defense of plessy, but i will say that these opinions have an enormously long shelf life. it is critical that they not be based on shifting sands of sad and what is popular, but rather principles that are locked down. and that will be here when the wind blows in the a different direction 50 years from now. mr. bond: in his book "race
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writes, cornell west the price of leadership is the symptom of black distance from a migrant tradition of resistance, vitalev -- from a community bounded by ideas. do you see a crisis of leadership in black communities today, and if you do, what makes this happen? what contributes to a? justice thomas: i don't know. i just see leaders. if you look, my goodness. we have a gentleman with some -- you know, mixed-race, he has a great chance to be president of the united states. i think the current governor of new york is black. the current governor of massachusetts. we have had a governor of virginia. yes, there are problems. think i am more optimistic. areink the problems
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heartbreaking. i go back to savannah and it just breaks my heart. but it has been breaking my heart for most of my life. , even peoplesuade who are close to you. my grandfather said, the library is open. you can go. but i don't know. i'm not going to condemn leadership. i think that if you say that often enough, the young kids who could be the leaders might not want to be, or might feel that it is too steep a hill to climb. but i see the young kids i see, young kids on the community campuses, in the law school. i see them not feeling that there is a crisis, that there might be a gap or there might be not a great leader in this particular locale, but i see
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other generational leaders coming up and getting ready to go. so i don't know. he might have a point that i am missing, but i don't feel that negative toward leadership. kind of leaders does contemporary society demand, and how will future problems demand different leadership types? i know we can't predict the future, but who do we need now? what kind of leaders do we need now and what kinds might we need in the future? justice thomas: you know, i sometimes think -- and this is i have norception, particular skill or certain knowledge to even comment on this. but my own personal concern sometimes is that people find things to oppose where people are going, and a jump in front of them and leaders call
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themselves leaders. i don't think that is what a leader is. i could go back to my grandfather. i think you have to have some principles that you believe in, that are important. in order to, as you say, persuade people, i think you certainly need the ability to communicate, but you know above all, when it is not looking very good, you need to encourage. i remember this wonderful quote that i may not get right, from churchill after his wilderness years and his political you -- years are supposed to be over and he is going to be named prime minister, he is going to buckingham palace. he is quoted as having said something to the effect that it was as though my whole life was but mere preparation for this moment. you know, i don't know. the thingsk that
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that you do need in these jobs is courage. evennk you need to hold -- when you are being tempted by praise, you need to remain firm and principles. when you are being beaten by criticism, you need to be principled. when you are in liberty county, you were not safe. you know it, and i know it. what was important to your? why was it worth the risk check out what called -- why was it worth the risk? what called on you to go to a rural area where a few got isolated they are in those woods, it was going to be difficult for you? what gave my grandfather the courage to strike out on his own? i don't know. but when he went to get his business license. so i think there was something that was in you that said, no matter what, i am going to stand up. and i think that leadership,
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perhaps first and foremost, requires fortitude. mr. bond: do you think for your grandfather and others like him, but that something was conviction, the conviction that he stood for something that was right and just, and therefore had a responsibility to demonstrate it to others? justice thomas: i think so. i think it was even beyond that. i think right and just may cover it, he does right and just include raising his voice right. -- raising his voice right -- boys right. it includes showing how you can live as an independent black man in the segregated south. yes. i think that it was worth it to him. and for me. and i borrowed this from that movie "saving private ryan," where private miller is asking private ryan right at the end of this, all these guys died to save private ryan. it.old him, earn
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earn this. and with my grandfather, what i have got to do, and what i have got to do because of you and other people, you have to earn it. in the sense that you are mimicking or you are being controlled, but it is just like the library. these people fought for us to be in the library. how do you earn a? how you say to them thank you. do you say thank you, or do you go to the library and use it? so in a sense, it was for him that he was doing the right thing, and for us, that we earned the right to benefit. mr. bond: are the values that you talk about teachable? we know that they are teachable on an individual basis, the
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grandfather to you and your brother, but are they teachable on a larger level, in the classroom, to older children? can you transmit this? justice thomas: you know, i have traveled all over this country and i have been in all sorts of environments, some pretty depressed. i think that when kids look you in the eye and you sit down and talk with them, and you explain to them -- you don't have an agenda, you just care about them -- they can see it. i'm ever sitting in a room with black law students at the university of georgia. talking,ouple of hours they understand what you are saying. you almost have to cut through or peel away the layers of
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negativity and cynicism, mistrust ann callis. that is the end -- mistrust and kalona -- callowness. but as soon as you connect on a sincere level and you tell them, this is not about you connecting with me. is it not about you having a specific point of view. this is about you thinking about your life, and the mere fact that you are in law school -- you are the leaders. you are it. they do get it. you go to these little schools -- these little kids, you see them all over the place. they believe -- they want to believe -- but you have to give them something to believe. there was a janitor just across the street when i was in the senate, one morning when i was coming in all down in my mouth he made it clear to me. you cannot give what you do not have. so you go to these kids and you don't have anything instructive, you have nothing positive.
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you worry about your own self-interest. you have to have it to give it to them. the bottom line answer is yes. you can influence them. will you influence 100%? no. that you can influence them. 30%, 30%, 50%. the kids that will be the leaders. you can do it by example of course, you can also do it by showing how much you care about them and how sincere you are about your ideas, and the fact that you are not requiring them to agree with you on the bottom line, but to be independent and have their own thoughts. mr. bond: justice thomas, thank you for being with us. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> with the 2016 presidential campaign now in full swing, starting november 8 join us for road to the white house rewind,
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every sunday morning at 10 across eastern. and continuing through next year's election. here on american history tv on c-span3. very touchy business, the son and daughter of a dictator. you would not wish this kind of life on most people. so it is a collection of very interesting, sometimes lurid stories. but there are also points about loyalty, about nature nurture, about politics, even about democracy. today, national review's senior editor on his book "children of monsters" which looks at the lives of the children of 20 dictators. >> i was able to talk to some knowledgeable people. i cannot talk to any family members, which was usually the case in the preparation for this book. there are only so many around to
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talk to, and only so many willing to say what they know or to develop their feelings or experiences at all. i was digging around for any scrap, any tidbit i've -- i possibly could. because the sons of dollars -- sons and daughters, most of them and younotes and aside, really have to dig to find out about them. >> tonight at eight. and pacific on c-span q&a. >> next, historian joseph ellis be -- lead a seminar for high school teachers about the early years of the revolutionary war through the letters of john and abigail adams. this class was hosted at amherst college. this is part two of a two-part lecture. we have abigail adams giving birth to four children, five really, over a 12 year.

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