Justice Clarence Thomas came out in rare form Wednesday to reminisce about the last 25 years he’s spent on the Supreme Court
Thomas, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed in 1991, celebrated his silver anniversary with the nation’s highest court this month and used the occasion to open up about difficult decisions, the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the next possible Supreme Court justice.
The event was an uncommon inside peek at Thomas, who is well known for being professionally introverted and often described as "silent."
In fact, the justice made history earlier this year by asking a question during oral arguments for the first time in 10 years.
When asked about difficult legal cases, Thomas said the only ones he’s ever “agonized” over involved “technical opinions” that are not always clear.
“There have been cases when your heart goes in one way, but you have to stick to the law,” he said to packed lecture hall at the Heritage Foundation Center.
Thomas, who is deemed by many legal jurists as a strict Constitutional originalist, said he was proud to always have been consistent in his stances and does not “really spend a lot of time” on trying to convince his fellow bench mates to sway in his direction. “Everyone knows everyone,” so they know where your points rest, he said.
He also shared fond memories of his friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia who he described as “absolutely delightful.”
"I would go into this officer and we would just laugh," he said. “I trusted him, and we trusted each other even when we disagreed,” he said.
Even though he and Scalia came from two "totally different backgrounds," they often found themselves on the “same side,” he said.
“I can honestly say I miss him,” he said.
Thomas was also surprisingly candid when describing his disappointment on how "broken" Washington has become while addressing the issue of confirmation hearings for the next justice.
“We have become very comfortable with not thinking things through and debating things,” he said.
“We have decided that rather than confront the disagreements, grievances and differences of opinion, we’ll just simply annihilate the person who we disagree with and I don’t think that’s going to work,” he added. “At some point we have to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions and undermining our institutions.”
Th\omas also showed another candid side by revealing his love for road trips by bus and how much he enjoys recreational vehicle parks and chatting with truckers.
“RV parks are very democratic,” he said.