The Yale Law Journal


Justice Thomas: Twenty-Five Years on the Supreme Court

02 Aug 2017

2016 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justice Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court. This Collection offers a series of reflections on Justice Thomas's tenure on the Court and his impact on the law.


Justice Thomas, Criminal Justice, and Originalism’s Legitimacy

William H. Pryor Jr.

After a quarter of a century on the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas’s jurisprudence in the field of criminal law offers no shortage of themes to discuss, but it especially shows how he has advanced originalism as a respected methodology. Often both the political and academic commentary about …


At the Front of the Train: Justice Thomas Reexamines the Administrative State

Elbert Lin

In his quarter-century as an Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas has been the most originalist, and arguably the most original, thinker on the Supreme Court. In the October 2014 Term, Justice Thomas set his sights on the administrative state. In five separate writings, Justice Thomas laid out an orig…


A Humble Justice

Marah Stith McLeod

Justice Thomas’s criminal law opinions have provoked acerbic commentary in the press and academic writing. The depiction of Justice Thomas’s opinions as intentionally cruel is a mistake. It creates an inexplicable divide between the Justice in person, whom many know to be humble and compassionate, a…


How Justice Thomas Determines the Original Meaning of Article II of the Constitution

Gregory E. Maggs

Justice Thomas has a well-known reputation for striving to decide constitutional issues in accordance with the original meaning of the Constitution. This Essay concerns a specific question about this methodology in cases concerning presidential powers: How does Justice Thomas determine the original …


“To Help, Not To Hurt”: Justice Thomas’s Equality Canon

William S. Consovoy & Nicole Stelle Garnett

In his twenty-five years on the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas has earned the (sometimes grudging) respect of legal scholars and commentators, including many who disagree with him, for his careful, principled, analytic approach to many areas of law. Race is not among them. Justice Thomas’s o…


No Entrenchment: Thomas on the Hobbs Act, the Ocasio Mess, and the Vagueness Doctrine

Kate Stith

Time and again, we have seen that neither precedent nor a perceived need to achieve consensus on the Court can hold Justice Clarence Thomas back from pronouncing what he has found to be the best understanding of the Constitution and federal statutes. His decisions scrape away at what Ralph Rossum ha…