Clarence Thomas: A Biography

By Andrew Peyton Thomas | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT
"I Am a Man, a Black Man,
an American"

Over the summer of 1996, Thomas and Ginni traveled to England, where he spent an hour with Margaret Thatcher. The "thing I found intriguing about it was how well read she is," he observed. "She was pulling books off her book shelf that were underlined, highlighted and thought through." During the same trip, Thomas had tea with Paul Johnson, the renowned conservative historian.

The rest of the summer was devoted to simple pleasures: reading, mowing the lawn ("other people don't cut it right"), socializing. In July, Ted and Barbara Olson hosted their annual barbecue for the Federalist Society, inviting law students from Federalist Society chapters in the Washington area and leaders of the ninety-seven other student chapters throughout the country. The cookout, held as usual at their home in Great Falls, Virginia, drew around three hundred people. It had become a regular, all-star gathering of conservative jurists, lawyers and journalists. Attendees included Bork, the Silbermans, members of Congress, and other prominent lawyers and judges.

Thomas was the leading celebrity at the barbecues and the hub of the youthful energy that pulsated through such gatherings. Ted Olson observed, "The young people clearly have great respect for him and want to meet him and express their respect and affection for them." He added, "We finally had to regulate it a little bit because he wasn't getting anything to eat. He was standing there surrounded by fifty young people, and taking the time to listen, standing there sometimes in the heat ... listening, talking, exchanging views with all the students."

Soon after the new term began in October, Thomas celebrated his fifth anniversary on the Court. His clerks organized a celebratory dinner at A.V. Ristorante Italiano on New York Avenue N.W. An establishment

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