Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court
When Justice Thurgood Marshall retired from the Supreme Court in 1991, the high court lost one of its leading champions of the rights of individuals. Marshall was a member of the Warren-era Court for only its final years, but he continued the Warren legacy of judicial activism for two decades after the Warren-era ended. Marshall retired reluctantly because he had not wanted a conservative Republican president to name his successor. Because of his failing health, however, he felt that he had no choice but to retire even though Republican President George Bush was in the White House.
President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to fill the vacancy created by Justice Marshall's retirement. The remaining chapters of this book will focus on the Thomas nomination as a critical judicial nomination significantly affecting politics and public policy. The clearest and most significant impact of the Thomas nomination was on the mobilization of women voters who affected the development and outcomes of various races during the 1992 primary and general elections. Chapters 4 and 5 will discuss this phenomenon and its implications for American politics and government. Although it is not yet clear what Justice Thomas's long- term impact will be on Supreme Court decisions, it will be asserted in this chapter that even Thomas's first term provided indications