Doubting Thomas, '74
[Clarence] Thomas graduated from Yale Law School in 1974, and he maintains a rich and public loathing for the school. In his autobiography, published in 2007, he wrote, "As a symbol of my disillusionment, I peeled a fifteen- cent sticker off a package of cigars and stuck it on the frame of my law degree to remind myself of the mistake I'd made by going to Yale. I never did change my mind about its value." * Thomas has refused entreaties from a series of deans at Yale to sit for a portrait for the school. (His law-school travels never take him to Yale or to comparable institutions. "I don't do the Ivies," he told a law professor.)
The gist of his complaint about Yale reflects his feelings about the worth of affirmative action generally. In his book, Thomas recounts his difficulties finding a job after Yale, which he attributed to "what a law degree from Yale was worth when it bore the taint of racial preference."
In light of this he wrote, Yale meant one thing for the white graduates and another for the blacks, no matter how much anyone denied it."
. . . "We talk about diversity. The real problem of our Court is that it's all Ivy League," Thomas said. Currently all nine justices attended law school at either Harvard or Yale. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are other law schools out there," he said.
PARTNERS: Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama's health-care plan?
The New Yorker
August 29, 2011
* Note: I tore up my own Yale degree the day I received it in 1980, not because I loathed Yale, but because I didn't want to be controlled by its imprimatur.
A few years ago I made a symbolic (link) gift to Yale Law School .