The opportunity to play a vital role on the Supreme Court, 26 years after a brutal and partisan confirmation process, was ultimately worth the fight, Justice Clarence Thomas told Laura Ingraham Wednesday night on Fox News.
And veterans served a key part in forming his belief that the fight in 1991 was worth it, Thomas said on “The Ingraham Angle.”
Ingraham asked Thomas about what he said in the fall of 1991, when Democrats brought a witness, Anita Hill, before the Senate Judiciary Committee to accuse him of sexual harassment. Ingraham played the footage.
"No job is worth what I have been through," said Thomas in 1991. "No job."
Yet Thomas won confirmation, and as a conservative, helped shape law for America. Thomas told Ingraham the struggle of veterans help him see it was indeed worth it.
"I think we are called to do certain things," said Thomas. "When we do Wounded Warriors events or ... Wreaths Across America, what do you tell the widows, the families of the fallen? That you were too afraid to go through a little bit of uncertainty, a little bit of difficulty, to do a job like this? When they actually were in harm's way? What do you tell the young man who is a double amputee, because of war? That you were afraid to go through that? I don't think anyone would choose to go through unpleasantness, but if it has to be that, to do what is right, then so be it."
But the insults from the Left continued. Thomas, only the second black justice in history, only has a small exhibit at the newly built Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He said that doesn't bother him.
Yet a Supreme Court without a friend does bother him. There is a big emptiness to the Supreme Court almost two years after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, he told Ingraham.
"Without him, it's a very different court," said Thomas, appearing on "The Ingraham Angle."
Ingraham also quizzed Thomas about claims that he, a conservative, was a puppet of Scalia, who was considered the chief conservative of the court. The two men were independent of each other, Thomas told Ingraham.
"Justice Scalia did not follow me, and I didn't follow him," he said. "And I daresay nobody up there follows another person."
Asked about by his judicial philosophy, Thomas, widely viewed as a conservative and a strict constructionist, said it is quite simple.
"I think it's 'Get it right,'" said Thomas. "I think we have to be careful not to take outcomes that we want and backwash that into the process of decision-making. So you don't reach a decision and then force the process. You use the process ... You don't justify the outcome, you reason to the outcome."
Thomas said he defends the Constitution.
"Some people have decided that the Constitution isn't worth defending, that history isn't worth defending," he said. "Certainly, if you're in my position, they have to be worth defending."
Ingraham and Thomas go way back, when, after she graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, she clerked for Thomas in 1992. Thomas endured brutal confirmation hearings in 1991, but won approval from the Senate.
Ingraham kicked off her new 10 p.m. show Monday on Fox News Channel, and that was apparently enough to lure Thomas into the studio.
Of the nine Supreme Court justices, the only other top jurists to have spoken to media in the past two years were Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.