Published October 16, 2021
Last Friday marked the 30th anniversary of Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. His staid, often quiet presence disguises a tenacious commitment to judicial conservatism.
One way to commemorate his anniversary is to admit something upfront: I believe Clarence Thomas has the most enthralling—and deeply American—biography of any living American.
Such a claim demands careful scrutiny.
For years, numerous friends had said his acclaimed autobiography, My Grandfather’s Son, was one of the most intriguing and satisfying autobiographies of any living person. With the world shut down in March 2020, I had more than enough time to finally read Thomas’s biography. Rare is the occasion where I cannot put a book down. This was one such occasion.
The book confirms that one of the narratives Americans live by is indeed true, and that is the way of meritocratic mobility. The virtues of hard work and personal responsibility really can lead to success. It is not healthy or right for Americans to see themselves as bound to a permanent economic underclass or caste. Clarence Thomas embodies the American spirit.
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Andrew T. Walker is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.