Perhaps his rather unpleasant experience in the public eye during his 1991 confirmation hearings has something to do with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ taciturnity, but he recently gave a roomful of high school students a rare peek at his more private side, discussing what he does when he’s blue and whether Americans feel too entitled to their rights.
The New York Times:
“Sometimes, when I get a little down,” Justice Thomas said wearily, he goes online. “I look up wonderful speeches, like speeches by Douglas MacArthur, to hear him give without a note that speech at West Point — ‘duty, honor, country.’ How can you not hear those words and not feel strongly about what we have?”
He continued: “Or how can you not reminisce about a childhood where you began each day with the Pledge of Allegiance as little kids lined up in the schoolyard and then marched in two by two with a flag and a crucifix in each classroom?”
A favorite movie can be a comfort, too.
“I have on many occasions or a number of occasions when things were becoming particularly routine gone down to my basement to watch ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ” he said. “I can’t tell you why that particular movie, except we have it and it’s about something important in our lives — World War II.”
The event, on March 31, was devoted to the Bill of Rights, but Justice Thomas did not embrace the document, and he proposed a couple of alternatives.
“Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “Indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights.”
“I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances,” he said. “Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”