The Messy Life of Clarence Thomas

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Here is a closer look into some of the scandalous and messy events that have occurred in the life of 74-year-old Conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Ex-wife Kathy Ambush

Clarence Thomas with son, Jamal
Clarence Thomas with son, Jamal

Kathy Ambush is Clarence Thomasfirst wife. What many people don’t know is that she’s also Black. They met as college students. Thomas was attending the College of Holy Cross and Kathy was a student at a school close by. The couple were married in 1971, the same year Thomas graduated. They had one child together, Jamal Adeen Thomas. Thomas and Ambush were separated in 1981 and their divorce was finalized in 1984. Kathy and Jamal keep mysterious and nearly invisible profiles.

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The Affair(s)

Lillian McEwen, ex-girlfriend of Clarence Thomas
Lillian McEwen, ex-girlfriend of Clarence Thomas

During his first marriage, Clarence had an affair with Lillian McEwen, who was working for the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time. In fact, she’s written about the salacious affair in her memoir and has spoken publicly about it. According to Lillian, Thomas had an obsession with porn and drank heavily when they were together.

Booze and Financial Trouble

Image:  Screen grab from CNN via Diana Walker/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images (Other)
Image: Screen grab from CNN via Diana Walker/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images (Other)

Thomas admits his drinking was a problem in the 1980s. While he was married to Ambush (his Black wife), he used the student loan money to hang out at bars. While Thomas worked for the EEOC, he decided to give up drinking as it was not financially or physically sustainable. Still, Thomas was a financial mess for much of his adult life. He wrote in his memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, that he would have to choose between eating Burger King or taking the bus. While working at the EEOC, he also received several eviction notices, couldn’t pay loans, or pay his credit cards.

Anita Hill

Supreme Court Moments in History: Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill

October 11, 1991. During the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, Anita Hill, a former legal adviser of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC, accused him of sexual harassment. She said he repeatedly asked her on dates, even after her refusal; Anita Hill also said Thomas described pornographic material in excessive detail and described his own sexual life as well as his anatomy to her. Thomas strongly denied the accusations and claimed that the testimony lead to a sort of “modern-day lynching” of his character. Check out the video above.

Other Accusers

The Choice 2020: Angela Wright (interview) | FRONTLINE

Angela Wright also worked at the EEOC and was subpoenaed to possibly give her own testimony, accusing Thomas of sexual misconduct. She was not called, according to Angela Wright, because she was fired from the EEOC and it would look like she was trying to get revenge on Thomas. Wright says in an interview that there were three other women also ready to testify about Thomas, but were never called as well.

Marrying Virginia “Ginni” Lamp

Image:  Screen grab from Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Other)
Image: Screen grab from Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Other)

Thomas met and started dating conservative activist, Virginia Lamp, in 1986. He wrote in his memoir that it was even a surprise to himself that he began dating a white woman, as earlier in his life he was very against interracial relationships. He wrote that Lamp’s family was not welcoming of him at first but eventually they all got over their prejudices and became a family. They were married in 1987.

Who Is Virginia Lamp?

How Ginni Thomas Found Her Influence

Virginia Lamp is hand full. No one can deny that. She grew up in Omaha in an extremely conservative family. She knew that she wanted to work in Republican politics as a teenager. Lamp is a lawyer and lobbyist who constantly speaks out about America becoming too liberal. During the Trump presidency, Lamp was in close contact with Trump and his team. There is evidence that after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, she sent texts to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to overturn the results. She was present during the Jan 6. attack on the Capitol even though she claims she left early. Her involvement with political affairs has made people question if there is a political conflict of interest since her husband is a Supreme Court justice.

Reputation on the Supreme Court

Photo:  Erin Schaff; POOL PHOTO (AP)
Photo: Erin Schaff; POOL PHOTO (AP)

Thomas is known to be one of the most conservative members of the Supreme Court. He is also known to be stubborn, strict, silent at most times, and unwilling to accept questions, or listen to others. He keeps his personal life as secretive as possible but lets his beliefs be known when making decisions on the bench.

Recent Upset

Photo:  Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)

In May of 2022, there was a draft opinion leak from the Supreme Court about Roe v Wade. Thomas vocalized his frustrations claiming that the leak caused trust to be “gone forever.” In June of 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade, a topic that Thomas refused to comment on since the beginning of his career. Now, he is calling for the Court to revisit three cases which are about consensual same-sex activity, same-sex marriage, and contraception.

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