George H. W. Bush


Who were his U.S. Supreme Court appointees?

Bush had two appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court: David Souter and Clarence Thomas. Souter, a relatively little known jurist from New Hampshire, was expected to be a conservative. Bush’s chief of staff John Sununu referred to him as a “home run for conservatives.” He turned out to be a single—if that—for conservatives, as Souter proved himself to be an independent and often liberal jurist on the Court. Souter retired from the Court in 2009.

With his next selection, Bush chose Clarence Thomas, an African-American conservative, to replace the great liberal giant Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first African American Supreme Court justice. Thomas barely won Senate confirmation—fifty-two to forty-eight—after former co-worker Anita Hill, a law professor from Oklahoma, alleged that Thomas sexually harassed her while both worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas, who was Hill’s boss at two different jobs, vehemently denied the charges and famously referred to the Democrats’ interrogation as a “high-tech lynching.”


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