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Justice Clarence Thomas and Utopian Originalism

Recorded on November 14, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

In his fifteen years as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas has written nearly 350 opinions.  Thousands of his eloquent and thoughtful words are thus available for Americans to examine.  Yet much of the public still bases its opinion of the Associate Justice on the words of the American media, going back as far as the bruising confirmation battle in 1991.  Widespread, uncritical acceptance of glib assumptions has greatly distorted the record and even the character of this remarkable justice. 

Henry Mark Holzer reflects on the real Clarence Thomas - the formidable intellectual and defender of the Constitution, amply represented by his writings.  Through analysis of Thomas' most important majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions, Holzer argues that Thomas's opinions reveal a consistent adherence to the principles of federalism, separation of powers, limited judicial review, and regard for individual rights as contemplated by the framers of the Constitution.  

Henry Mark Holzer is a Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School and practices constitutional and appellate law.  His law school curricula included Constitutional Law, First Amendment, National Security, and Appellate Advocacy.  Books he has authored include Sweet Land of Liberty? The Supreme Court and Individual Rights, Why Not Call It Treason?, Aid and Comfort (co-authored with his wife, Erika), and The Keeper of the Flame: The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas 1991-2005.