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Ted Cruz Demands Recognition of Clarence Thomas in New Black History Museum

Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas / AP
• December 19, 2016 12:50 pm

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U.S. lawmakers called on the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on Monday to recognize in full the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas, the second African American to sit on the high court, is only nodded to briefly in the museum as part of an exhibit showcasing Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment in the early 1990s.

In a letter to the museum's curators, Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) wrote he was "deeply disturbed" by the omission, hailing Thomas as "an African American who survived segregation, defeated discrimination, and ascended all the way to the Supreme Court."

"As much as I am grateful for the museum and its efforts to preserve and promote the indispensable, yet oft-neglected, contributions of African Americans to the collective history of our nation, I believe the museum has made a mistake by omitting the enormous legacy and impact of Justice Thomas, as well as his compelling background," Cruz wrote.

Thomas grew up in poverty in segregated Georgia during the Jim Crow era before going on to graduate from Yale Law School. Former President George H.W. Bush nominated Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Cruz said Thomas' rise as "an intellectual leader" on the high court given his difficult upbringing deserved full recognition.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), and Chris Coons (D., Del.) were copied on the letter.

Published under: Supreme Court, Ted Cruz