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Supreme Court Justice Seen As Poor Role Model Thomas Withdraws From Event After Naacp Vows To Protest

Wed., Jan. 8, 1997

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas withdrew as a speaker at a youth festival Tuesday after the NAACP said it would protest the speech because it doesn’t consider him a suitable role model.

“I do not think that it is prudent or wise to put these children in that position, even though I do not personally object to peaceful demonstrations by those who have contrary views or opinions,” Thomas said in a letter to organizers Tuesday.

Thomas was one of three speakers scheduled to address a Jan. 18 banquet at the festival, an event sponsored by community groups and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware.

Thomas’ invitation angered the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which opposed his appointment to the nation’s highest court because of his opposition to affirmative action.

Hanley Norment, president of the NAACP’s Maryland State Conference, said he hoped Thomas’ withdrawal was “a recognition that he is an inappropriate role model.”


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