October 1, 2009
As is often the case in holding prestigious positions, perks of the job are commonplace. The best parking spots, free meals and first-class air travel are just a few. So, what is the best perk for the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas?
"They invite me to a lot of Corn Husker games," Thomas joked. "More seriously, when I was working late, I would go to the front of the building and the flood lights would be shining down on the building and you would realize you work for something that is much larger than you are and something that is so depended upon by fellow citizens."
In front of a jam-packed McFarlin Auditorium, Thomas delivered the Omni Hotels Lecture, the second of seven lectures in the Tate Series, discussing everything from the Supreme Court taking on cases, to addressing the question of whether being in his position is really worth it. Prior to the lecture, more than 800 high school and college students turned up in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center for the forum.
Interviewing Thomas was Theodore B. Olson, Solicitor General of the United States from 2001-2004. Considered one of the nation's premier appellate and U.S. Supreme Court advocates, Olson has dealt with cases at all levels of state and federal court systems, in both the United States and foreign countries. In 2007, Washingtonian magazine put Olson on the top of the list of the finest lawyers in the nation's capital.
After visiting with several wounded soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thomas began to question his own career, realizing it was considerably easier than the war veterans.
"How do you say to these kids, or to World War II vets, that this is bad what happened to me when they have no arms or legs and are psychologically wounded for life?" Thomas says. "I think I should have a measure of shame if what I went through is ever even put on the same platform as what they went through. But, would it do it again knowing what I know? Absolutely."
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