Website Marks 25th Anniversary of Thomas Joining SCOTUS--‘One of Our Greatest Thinkers On The Court’

By Penny Starr | October 24, 2016 | 8:39 PM EDT

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (AP Photo)

( – Mark Paoletta could certainly have personal reasons to take an interest in the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Their friendship dates back decades, including when Paoletta was diagnosed with cancer and Thomas was at his side regularly, or when Paoletto and Thomas regularly paid visits to the Irish nuns who taught him in a segregated school in the Jim Crow South at the nursing home where they lived out their final days.

Paoletta also knew Thomas in a professional capacity as an assistant counsel to President George H.W. Bush and his role at Thomas’ contentious confirmation hearings where his good name and prestigious accomplishments – and Supreme Court appointment -- were threatened by the now-discredited accusations of sexual harassment by former employee Anita Hill.

But it is Thomas’ jurisprudence on the court that has inspired Paoletta to dedicate his personal time to help ensure Thomas’ legacy, including a website he launched recently to coincide with Oct. 23, 1991 – the day Thomas was sworn in as the second African American to serve on the land’s highest court.

“I think Justice Thomas is a man who is inspiring; who has been unfairly criticized over the years,” Paoletta told “I do think that the legal world is catching up to the fact that Thomas is an incredible justice and has a distinct and very powerful jurisprudence.”

Paoletta said he wanted to provide “push back against this false narrative” that has been repeatedly asserted over the same 25 years Thomas has served on the court, even as in some circles the body of his work on the court has not gone unnoticed.

“To me, Thomas is getting his due – not enough in my opinion and not, certainly, in the political world - as a justice, as a justice of consequence, as a first-rate justice, as one of our greatest thinkers on the court,” said Paoletta, who now works as an attorney in D.C.

The new site features personal information: Thomas being abandoned by his father, raised by his grandparents, graduating from Yale and rising to become a Supreme Court justice.

The site also contains a wealth of information on his jurisprudence while on the court, as well as the speeches he has given over the years.

“Since his confirmation on October 15, 1991, Justice Thomas has been a stalwart defender of the original meaning of the Constitution,” the website stated. “Through thoughtful writings exploring the historical and philosophical foundations of our country, he has led the Court back to that all-important document.

“Based on his unwavering commitment to his originalist jurisprudence, he has demonstrated his willingness to take unpopular positions over and over again,” the site stated. “As he once said, ‘I just think we should interpret the Constitution as it's drafted, not as we would have drafted it.’”

“When I realized that Justice Thomas’ 25th anniversary was rapidly approaching, I teamed up with some of his former law clerks to beginning creating a comprehensive resource on this great American hero,” Paoletta said in announcing the new website.

“This is truly a labor of love,” Paoletta said. “It has been very gratifying to watch Justice Thomas become one of our greatest justices.

“We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful constitutionalist on the bench,” Paoletta said.

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