Avatar photo
BY Abu Mubarik, 11:47am July 03, 2024,

Here’s how rich Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is now

Photo credit: Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/Wikimedia Commons

Justice Clarence Thomas is the second black person to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Born in 1948 in the Georgia low country, Thomas began his education in segregated public schools before advancing to Catholic schools for blacks, the seminary at Holy Cross, and finally Yale Law School.

Thomas and his mother and siblings grew up in his great-aunt’s house. The house had one electric light and no bathrooms. As if their situation was not bad enough, one day he returned from school to see his home gutted by fire, according to Forbes, quoting his memoir.

After the tragedy, he moved to settle with his grandparents, Myers and Christine Anderson, who welcomed him into a home outfitted with features that seemed like luxuries, including an indoor toilet, according to Forbes.

His grandfather, whom he called Daddy, paid for his tuition fee when he was at a college-level seminary in Missouri. He dropped out after a year, prompting Daddy to cut him off. When he was 20 years old, he moved back to his mother’s house, working as a paper company proofreader and securing financial aid to return to school at Holy Cross in Massachusetts. He subsequently got into Yale for law school.

He would spend almost his entire career working in the public sector. No private law firms offered him a position after graduating from Yale, so he settled for a job as an assistant attorney general in Missouri, with a starting salary of $10,800.

However, in 1976, he landed at Monsanto, the chemical giant headquartered in St. Louis, after networking through attorney general John Danforth. In 1979, Thomas and his wife bought a ranch house after taking out a mortgage. “Though our income had gone up considerably, the combined weight of taxes, living expenses and accumulated indebtedness kept us in the hole,” he wrote in his memoir.

Later, not being happy with his job and himself, he left Monsanto and returned to the public sector.

“I had manufactured artificial goals as a means of motivating myself, using my longing for money, cars, and other material possessions to create a false sense of purpose,” Forbes quoted him in his memoir.

Following Danforth’s successful run for senator, he hired Thomas to join his Senate staff. Since then, taxpayers have funded Thomas, and they will continue to do so for the remainder of his life. Later, in 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be an assistant secretary in the Department of Education. At the time, Thomas had left his wife and was still facing financial problems.

When he impressed the president in his role, Reagan asked him the following year to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a job that paid $70,500 (equivalent to $230,000 today). He was still having money issues but things started getting better after he married again.

President George H. W. Bush nominated him to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1989. The position came with a $20,000 pay raise from the $82,500 Thomas had earned at the employment commission. In the same period, the Department of Labor appointed his second wife, Virginia Lamp, a lobbyist from Nebraska, to a position, placing both Thomases on the government payroll.

In 1991, he joined the U.S. Supreme Court, with its pension being his biggest asset. According to Forbes, justices continue to receive their full salary, currently $285,000, for the rest of their lives. The US magazine noted that the income stream is worth an estimated $1.8 million today.

According to Forbes, Thomas is worth an estimated $4 million, largely thanks to his high-profile position and his wife’s government pensions.

Indeed, his rise to the U.S. Supreme Court was not smooth sailing. His journey to the U.S. Supreme Court was marked by years of debt and a struggle to earn enough money to support his family and live the life he desired.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 3, 2024


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates