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Clarence Thomas on Welfare & Poverty

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Bush Sr. 1991)


Opposed to welfare as the "ruination" of blacks

I was opposed to welfare because I had seen its destructive effects up close in Savannah. Most of the older people among whom I had grown up felt as I did, sharing Daddy's belief that it would be the "ruination" of blacks, undermining their desire to wor & provide for themselves. I added that my own sister was a victim of the system, which had created a sense of entitlement that had trapped her and her children. I went on to say that I opposed busing, preferring to give school vouchers to poor children.
Source: My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas, p. 132-3 , Oct 1, 2007

Public housing entitlements are good programs

SENATOR KENNEDY: Well, what is your view about entitlements?

JUDGE THOMAS: I think that there are certain programs in our society that have helped. I visited my mother in Fellwood Homes, which is a Federal housing project in Savannah, Georgia. Fellwood Homes was a tenement, [but it was] a steppingstone before she could then move to something better. I thought that those programs were good.

I think we all though in a pluralistic society are concerned that sometimes when we do something that we hope is good that it may on some occasions have a negative impact, and I think that it is not illegitimate to say that some of these programs, or at least some of the ramifications, may not be what we expected and some of the consequences may be unintended consequences.

But I certainly believe that the efforts on behalf of providing public housing to my mother or the efforts of providing relief to individuals who could not receive jobs, etc., were very, very good efforts.

Source: Senate Confirmation Hearings , Sep 10, 1991

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Other Justices on Welfare & Poverty: Clarence Thomas on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

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David Souter
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens

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Page last updated: Jul 11, 2013