By Ashley Epp What do navigating a mall and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy have in common? We weren’t sure, either, but when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to a theatre full of Lincoln High students on September 16th, he had the Links rolling in the aisles with the idea. Thomas delivered an
By Ashley Epp
What do navigating a mall and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy have in common? We weren’t sure, either, but when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to a theatre full of Lincoln High students on September 16th, he had the Links rolling in the aisles with the idea.
Thomas delivered an inspiring and sometimes humorous talk to students at Lincoln High in the Ted Sorensen Theatre on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011.
Thomas, who shared quite a bit of his personal life during the speech, was responding to a question about the best and worst parts of his job.
One downside, Thomas said, is the lack of anonymity – not being able to do some of the things most people take for granted, like just going to the mall. Thomas admitted, however, that he doesn’t often go the mall, because he gets lost.
“I was telling my wife, I felt totally lost…I mean, I was just going into a mall, but I needed that little guy [from the Lord of the Rings] following me around!”
Unlike most of Thomas’ straight faced reactions from the media, his positive and inspiring feedback to students made this quite a special and entertaining occasion at our Lincoln High School. Thomas spoke of how much preparation for tasks is/was especially important in high school and in life. “I will prepare myself and when the time comes, I will be ready.”
He communicated about his journey to being on the Supreme Court and answered many questions about his job and responsibilities.
He also responded to questions of his daily and home life. “I love being with my wife, I love spending time with her,” Thomas said. He also commented about the rest of the court’s relationships and friendships. “It’s like changing families every time someone new comes in,” he said.
“When you do this job with a small group of people, you develop a bond, a trust of mutual respect. That is far more important than if you agree.”
After students left the theatre to return to class, several stayed to speak to the Justice. Junior William Ridgely tried to pin Thomas down about his views on President Obama’s health care plan, but Thomas refused to give an opinion, because a case regarding it hadn’t come before him. “I have no idea, because I don’t know what the arguments are. We just decide what comes before us. All that chatter around you, I don’t get involved that. I don’t read newspapers, I don’t follow that stuff,” Thomas said.
Asked if he read Twitter or Facebook, Thomas answered, “Oh, God no. That stuff is just babel. It’s got to be more structured and thought out.”
Thomas was visiting Lincoln, in part, to see the Nebraska football game the following day. Asked how he thought the Huskers would do, he responded without hesitation. “Oh, we’ll win 40 to nothing! I don’t have to be informed about that. I’m a Husker fan. I don’t have to think about that. I have to think about what I do, but this passion and this loose opinion I save for my sports.”
Thomas also spoke at length to junior Joshua Curtis-Beard about his plans after high school. “I was a science and math guy, and I let people change my mind”
But one of the most poignant moments happened while Thomas was talking to junior Rachael Curtis-Beard who asked the justice what was the biggest challenge he had ever faced.
Thomas responded that it was “getting over the fact that my father had abandoned us.” Thomas was 9 years old the first time he met his father.
Curtis-Beard responded that she was 16, “He missed out on the best thing in his life.”
Thomas responded, “I felt the same way, but I just forgave him and moved on.”