Video: Justice Thomas speaks at Harvard Law

2 min read

Justice Clarence Thomas has become known as a quiet presence on the Supreme Court. But on Jan. 29, members of the Harvard Law School community got to hear him speak—and he did so with great humor and warmth.

As part of the Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture series, Thomas participated in a conversation with HLS Dean Martha Minow, after a day in which he met with faculty and students. In introducing Thomas—a graduate of Yale Law School—Minow said that he had turned down his admission to Harvard Law. She noted that he’d found it “too large, and if I’m right, too conservative.” This elicited laughter from the audience filling Milstein East, and a smile from Thomas—both of which recurred many times over the course of the evening.

Thomas said he’s enjoyed all of the work he’s done, but he’s most enjoyed his time as a judge. He loved working on the D.C. Circuit. And about “his current job,” he said the best part is the people he’s worked with. He described a collegial atmosphere where he has respected and liked all of his colleagues over the past 21 years, although he often disagrees with many of them. Former HLS Dean Elena Kagan ’86, for example, “is just a delight,” he said. And soon after she joined the court he told her: “It’s going to be a joy disagreeing with you for years to come.”

Read more about the interview and watch a video on the Harvard Law School website.