Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Jill Abramson Smears Justice Thomas, Again. Part 4: Statements from Women Who Have Worked for Thomas

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Helgi Walker, 1995 Term

“In the twenty-six-plus years since he was confirmed, Justice Thomas has been doing tremendous service for the law and for our nation. There’s a quote from ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ that always makes me think of him: Justice Thomas has ‘plain, decent, every day, common rightness. And this country could use some of that.’ As in the movie, there will always be people who try to tear down those who lift up new ideas that challenge the prevailing orthodoxy, but to the legions of us who know and love him it’s just background noise.”

Sigal P. Mandelker, 2001 Term

“Justice Thomas is the wisest person I know. He is enormously kind and incredibly generous with his time and advice. He has inspired generations of law clerks to public service, to treat others with great respect, and to always be intellectually honest. A man from humble roots, he epitomizes the American Dream and what can be accomplished through hard work and integrity.”

Kate Comerford Todd, 2000 Term

“I am blessed to call Justice Thomas my mentor, my role model, and my friend. He leads his chambers by his example — working hard, striving for excellence, and never wavering from principle, while always making time for his wife, his faith, his family, and his friends. He has a huge heart and loves the human story, and so for him being kind to everyone comes naturally. No distant detractor could walk next to this man and fail to appreciate his infectious warmth, love of the human spirit, and profound respect for the men and women he encounters.”

Jennifer L. Mascott, 2008 Term

“The time I spent as a law clerk to Justice Thomas has been one of the highlights of my life. The Justice’s integrity, intellect, and humility are an invaluable asset to the country. There could not be nicer, more generous, or more dedicated public servants than Justice and Mrs. Thomas.”

Michelle Stratton, 2011 Term

“In the wake of the #metoo movement, including sexual misconduct allegations against a prominent federal judge, I privately thanked Justice Thomas for providing me with a work environment at the Supreme Court that was marked by integrity. I’d now like to thank him publicly. Thank you, Justice Thomas, for consistently wielding your power and influence for the good of your clerks, your colleagues, and your country.”

Jennifer B. Dickey, 2014 Term

“Justice Thomas is one of the most humble, kind, fundamentally decent human beings I have ever known. It was the honor of my life to work for him at the Supreme Court, to see the respect with which he treats everyone around him and the seriousness and intellectual honesty with which he approaches his job. He is a man of integrity and, in my view, an American hero.”

Rebekah Ricketts, 2013 Term

“Justice Thomas is a great American. He is a mentor and a hero to me — and to so many others — not only because of the deep integrity and intellectual rigor he brings to the job, but also because of the fundamental respect and decency he shows to everyone around him.”

Haley Proctor, 2014 Term

“I have always admired Justice Thomas for his brilliant and honest jurisprudence, but since I have had the honor of clerking for him, what I have come to admire most about him is his fundamental decency. Anyone who has had the privilege of crossing paths with Justice Thomas knows him to be a man of generosity, kindness, and above all, integrity, who treats every human being with respect and warmth.”

Taylor Meehan, 2016 Term

“Justice Thomas has left an indelible mark on the Court’s work in his 25 years on the bench. Tell him that and he would respond that he was just doing his job. For all of us who have had the privilege to call the Justice our boss, he has instilled in us his humility, his stick-to-itiveness, his love of country. We are better for it, and so is the Court.”​

(See Parts 123, & 5)

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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