Thomas: No geographic diversity on high court
September 18, 2011 12:36AM
Updated: November 24, 2011 12:25AM
LINCOLN, Neb. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says the nation’s highest court would benefit from more geographic diversity among its justices and should hold some sessions outside of Washington, D.C.
Thomas’ comments came in a speech to University of Nebraska-Lincoln law students last week. Thomas, a Georgia native who has worked in Washington, D.C., since 1993, said the court would benefit from a more balanced geographical mix that “reflects the fact this is a big country, not just the Northeast.”
“There’s nobody from the Heartland,” said Thomas, who visits Nebraska periodically because his wife’s family is from the state.
Six of the nine justices have strong ties to Boston, New York and central New Jersey. Chief Justice John Roberts is a Midwesterner raised in Indiana, but he went to college and law school at Harvard and has spent his entire professional life in Washington. Four justices were born or raised in New York City — Brooklyn-born Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Antonin Scalia, raised in Queens; Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor; and Elena Kagan, who is from Manhattan.
Thomas also told the Nebraska law students that it would be a good idea for the justices to occasionally hold sessions outside of Washington. AP