Clarence Thomas to swear in Mike Pence at inauguration

WASHINGTON -- Very much buried in the rubble of this weekend's John Lewis - Donald Trump spat was news that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would administer the oath of office to Vice President-elect Mike Pence at Friday's inauguration.

The Pin Point native will become the first-ever African American to swear in a VP, according to Trump's inaugural committee.

"I have long admired Justice Clarence Thomas and deeply respect his judicial philosophy, dedication to the rule of law, and his historic service on the bench of our nation’s highest court," Pence said in a statement. 

Thomas, one of the most conservative voices on the high court, recently celebrated his 25th year on the bench. He's now served longer than the justice he replaced, Thurgood Marshall, who was the court's first black jurist.

While the Supreme Court's chief justice always swears in the president-elect on the inauguration stage, it's common for more junior justices to do the honors for the vice president. Joe Biden's oaths in 2009 and 2013 were administered by liberal Justices John Paul Stevens and Sonia Sotomayor, respectively.

Read recent Clarence Thomas coverage: 

Georgia GOP congressmen furious at Smithsonian for Clarence Thomas snub

Did the Smithsonian shun Clarence Thomas?

Sexual harassment claims continue to follow Justice Clarence Thomas

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...
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