The seed for this book was an article I wrote about Clarence Thomas for the August 30- September 6, 1999, issue of the Weekly Standard. Entitled "America's Leading Conservative," the article reviewed in brief Thomas's life and work on the Supreme Court. It praised him for his moral courage and independence and his de facto leadership of the conservative movement.
Clarence and Ginni Thomas were informed of the article right before publication. Both responded enthusiastically. Ginni mailed copies of the article to some of Thomas's close friends.
Upon learning that readers had reacted favorably to the article, and that no full-length biography of Thomas had been written, I decided to proceed with a book myself. In September 1999 I wrote a letter to Thomas to broach the idea. I admitted frankly that I doubted the endeavor would be successful without his cooperation. I enclosed a copy of the article and asked him to consider my idea. A couple of weeks later, I followed up with a telephone call to his chambers. His secretary, Dorothy Barry, confirmed that he had received my correspondence.
Thomas never responded to my letter or telephone call.
I learned that he was scheduled to speak to the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, where I live, on November 19. Mutual friends attempted to arrange a meeting between the two of us. When Thomas was asked whether he would be interested in such a meeting, he responded viscerally, protesting that he was very tired and overscheduled; that he had planned on enjoying a leisurely trip to Arizona; that he did not warrant a biography because he was a relatively young man.
Thomas added that he had a "set policy" against granting interviews for books or articles. I later learned that this was inaccurate. He has