Before entering law, he considered being a priest.
While in high school, he decided to become a Catholic priest. He transferred to St. John Vianney Minor Seminary and graduated in 1967. He later continued his studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri.
However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., he overheard some of his seminary schoolmates making fun of his death, according to Biography. He left the institution to pursue law and enrolled at Holy Cross College, in Massachusetts, where he studied English. After he earned his degree, he went to Yale University Law School.
In the 1970s, he began his career as an attorney general.
After snagging his law degree, he moved back to the South, serving as the assistant to Missouri Attorney General John Danforth for several years.
He then moved to Washington, D.C., and held several government positions. His most prominent post was as the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When President George H.W. Bush took office, he nominated Thomas to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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He filled Thurgood Marshall’s Supreme Court seat.
In 1991, Thurgood Marshall retired from his Supreme Court position. President Bush tapped Thomas for the role, making him the second Black Supreme Court justice right after Marshall.
His confirmation hearings, however, were controversial. Attorney Anita Hill, who worked with Thomas in the 1980s for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, testified that Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her. The proceedings were depicted in the 2016 HBO film “Confirmation,” starring Wendell Pierce as Thomas and Kerry Washington as Hill.
Thomas is New York Times best-selling author.
In 2007, he released a memoir titled “My Grandfather’s Son.” In it, he shared stories from his childhood and career in government, including the sexual misconduct allegations.
The book hit No. 1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list.