Clarence Thomas, text, Crystal Clanton

Clarence Thomas Hires Clerk Accused Of Sending ‘I Hate Black People’ Texts

Crystal Clanton has always been problematic.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently hired Crystal Clanton as one of his law clerks.

Clanton was reportedly kicked out of a conservative youth organization as a 20-year-old after allegedly sending text messages boldly declaring her hatred of Black people. Clanton told The New Yorker, who reported on the allegations, that she had “no recollection” of sending the texts.

As Vanity Fair reported, Thomas and his wife, Virginia, sheltered Clanton after the allegations surfaced, and she has enjoyed a long association with the Thomas family. As Black Enterprise previously reported, conservative judges halted an investigation into Clanton in November 2023.

In recent years, the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, of which Clanton is a graduate, has become a pipeline for conservative law clerks. In a press release, the law school noted that the appointment of Clanton by Thomas is part of a larger wave of the school’s graduates working as law clerks during the 2024-25 term.

“United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has named Crystal Clanton, ’22, a judicial clerk for the 2024-25 Term. She is clerking for the Honorable William H. Pryor Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Previously, she clerked for the Honorable Corey Maze, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Alabama.”

Pryor praised Clanton in the press release, saying she exceeded his lofty expectations. “After Judge Maze recounted to me how well Crystal performed in her clerkship on the district court, I had high expectations for her on the Eleventh Circuit,” Judge Pryor said. “And she exceeded those expectations. Crystal is an outstanding law clerk.”

Pryor and Maze were vocal defenders of Clanton during her ethics complaint overseen by the 2nd Circuit and Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston, who dismissed the case despite a panel acknowledging that she has never publicly denied sending the racist text messages.

 Pryor hired Clanton at the behest of Thomas, who said in a letter to the 2nd Circuit, defending Clanton against the allegations, “I know Crystal Clanton, and I know bigotry,” Thomas wrote. “Bigotry is antithetical to her nature.” 

Thomas also stated his intentions to hire Clanton, concluding his letter by writing, “It is certainly my intention to consider her for a clerkship should she perform as I expect and excel in her clerkships.”

However, Ruth Marcus, an associate editor and columnist at the Washington Post, spelled out the dereliction of duty that occurs when someone like Clanton is given a “golden ticket” by the federal judiciary, pointing at either their inability or unwillingness to abide by basic tenets of ethics. 

Marcus wrote in her op-ed, “Case closed. Clanton hired. This episode is a stain — and not just on Clanton and Thomas. It taints the federal judiciary, which has proven itself institutionally incapable and unwilling to enforce basic ethics rules.”

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