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Powerful Yet Despised: Clarence Thomas' Story

For many people, Clarence Thomas will be forever linked to Anita Hill, accusations of workplace harassment, inappropriate jokes, and one of the most bruising confirmation hearings in modern history.

As a Supreme Court justice, Thomas is arguably the most powerful black man in public life.

And yet, most black Americans have not embraced the conservative Thomas — or worse, despise the man who was tapped in 1991 to replace retiring civil-rights icon Thurgood Marshall on the nation's highest court. That's according to a new biography of Thomas, Supreme Discomfort.

The book, written by Washington Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, follows Thomas from his childhood in Pin Point, Ga., to his rise within the Republican Party. He held key positions in the Reagan administration, yet the public knew little of Thomas until those explosive confirmation hearings.

The authors tell Michele Norris that experience pushed Thomas further to the right and helped to harden his conservative views.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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