Taking Justice Thomas Seriously

Green Bag, Vol. 2, p. 425, Summer 1999

10 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2006

See all articles by John C. Eastman

John C. Eastman

Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence


Substantive Review of Scott Gerber's book, First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas (New York University Press, 1999). This review praises Gerber's recognition that Justice Thomas has articulated a consistent and thoughtful original theory view of the Constitution, distinct from the original practice, most positivist view of constitutional interpretation advanced by Justice Antonin Scalia and the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. It also applauds the effort to take seriously Justice Thomas's jurisprudence, even while it takes Gerber to task for misunderstanding at times the full depth of that jurisprudence. Most notably, the article challenges Gerber's critique of Justice Thomas's Establishment Clause jurisprudence as anachronistic, adopting as it does a strict separationist view of the Establishment Clause that is simply incompatible with the historical practice at the time the clause was adopted.

Keywords: Justice Clarence Thomas, Scott Gerber, jurisprudence, Supreme Court, Establishment Clause, originalism

JEL Classification: N40,K40,K10,K19,K30,K39,J71,J78,H10,H11

Suggested Citation

Eastman, John C., Taking Justice Thomas Seriously. Green Bag, Vol. 2, p. 425, Summer 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=905905

John C. Eastman (Contact Author)

Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence

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