Thomas Increasing in Stature as Justice
Murray, Frank J., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
****AS HE ASSUMES A BIGGER ROLE IN WRITING OPINIONS, THE BUSH APPOINTEE WINS SUPPORT.****
Six terms into his Supreme Court career, Clarence Thomas is starting to exercise some supreme power. His toughest opinions now "hold five": They're precise enough to attract a majority, but not so pointed they drive off potential allies.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's assignment of Justice Thomas to several lightning-rod cases in the 1996-97 term, particularly a landmark decision on whether states may incarcerate sexual predators after their sentences have been served, demonstrates a confidence not seen in prior terms and marks the end of an unofficial apprenticeship.
The need to "hold five," in justice jargon, is absolute when writing opinions that illuminate the frontiers of jurisprudence. Justices walk a razor's edge to avoid driving off a swing vote with superheated rhetoric or even too much clarity.
At age 49, Justice Thomas has yet to overcome skepticism fueled by a rival for the bench and by opponents in the civil rights arena. He never coveted a Supreme Court seat, but he is determined to make his tenure worth the fight waged over his nomination.
While his stature rises among colleagues and lawyers, including some he …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Thomas Increasing in Stature as Justice. Contributors: Murray, Frank J. - Author. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: July 27, 1997. Page number: 1. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.