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Clarence Thomas: Scary Guy from the Right or Big-Hearted Believer?

CBN News had a great write-up of our virtual panel, "Clarence Thomas: His Life and Jurisprudence"

"...Severino, former Thomas law clerk Erik Jaffe and author Ralph Rossum shared their memories and thoughts about the justice in a Committee for Justice webinar.

Rossum studied the justice intensely preparing his book Understanding Clarence Thomas: The Jurisprudence of Constitutional Restoration. Rossum said of those days around Hill coming forward, 'I think Thomas' deep faith saw him through this period.'

'Fellow parishioners would come over and they would have prayer sessions, to help support Thomas during that time," he continued. "His faith and his wife's faith I think ensured that he came through this with less permanent damage than would probably be the case for most of us.'

Some assume, though, that the experience probably left Thomas a bitter, unhappy justice. Former Thomas clerk Erik Jaffe said, 'You see these photos of him scowling, looking down, and 'Oh my God, this evil person from the Right who's going to take away your life!'..."

Read the Full Recap in CBN (and watch the panel video below)


Carrie Severino

President, Judicial Crisis Network

Carrie Campbell Severino is the President of the Judicial Crisis Network and co-author with Mollie Hemingway of the bestselling book “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Court.” As an expert on the confirmation process, Mrs. Severino has been extensively quoted in the media and regularly appears on television, including MSNBC, FOX, CNN, C-SPAN and ABC’s This Week. During the Kavanaugh confirmation alone she logged 104 TV appearances, in addition to doing extensive radio and print media. Severino writes and speaks on a wide range of judicial issues, including the constitutional limits on government, the federal nomination process, and state judicial selection. She has testified before Congress on constitutional questions and briefed Senators on judicial nominations, and regularly files briefs in high-profile Supreme Court cases. She was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and to Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Erik Jaffe

Partner, Schaerr Jaffe

Erik S. Jaffe, a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas in 1996-97, is a partner at the law firm Schaerr Jaffe. He has been involved in appeals on a broad range of legal issues, including challenges to campaign finance reform, health care reform, affirmative action in education, school vouchers, takings of property, and restrictions on gun ownership, as well as a wide variety of cases involving patents, copyrights, ERISA, securities fraud, federal preemption, environmental regulation, and other constitutional and statutory matters. He has worked on over 100 Supreme Court matters and has represented businesses, non-profit groups, judges, senators, former government officials, Nobel Prize winners, and other private individuals. Mr. Jaffe graduated Columbia University School of Law in 1990 and subsequently clerked for Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Prior to joining Schaerr Jaffe, he was a sole practitioner from 1997 to 2018.

Ralph Rossum

Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism, Claremont McKenna College

Ralph A. Rossum is the Henry Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism at Claremont McKenna College and a member of the faculty of Claremont Graduate University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is the author or co-author of twelve books, including Understanding Clarence Thomas: The Jurisprudence of Constitutional Restoration (2014); American Constitutional Law, a two-volume work now in the 11th edition (2020); Antonin Scalia’s Jurisprudence: Text and Tradition (2006, paperback with an extensive afterword – 2016), The Supreme Court and Tribal Gaming: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (2011); and over 70 book chapters and articles in law reviews and professional journals.


Curt Levey

President, The Committee for Justice

Curt Levey is President of the Committee for Justice and is a veteran of Supreme Court confirmation battles. After graduating Harvard Law School with honors and clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Mr. Levey served as Director of Legal & Public Affairs at the Center for Individual Rights. There he worked on landmark Supreme Court cases, including the University of Michigan affirmative action cases and the successful constitutional challenge to the Violence Against Women Act. After CIR, Levey headed the Title IX policy group at the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Levey is also a long-time member of the Federalist Society's civil rights executive committee. Before attending law school, Mr. Levey earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science from Brown University and worked in the field of artificial intelligence. He invented a new type of AI technology, for which he wrote a successful patent application.


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