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U.S. Supreme Court justice to speak at Mercer Law School courtroom dedication

In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Liberals and Democrats in Congress want Justice Thomas off the health care case. Conservative interest groups and Republican lawmakers say it’s Justice Elena Kagan who should sit it out. Neither justice is budging — the right decision, according to many ethicists and legal experts.
In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Liberals and Democrats in Congress want Justice Thomas off the health care case. Conservative interest groups and Republican lawmakers say it’s Justice Elena Kagan who should sit it out. Neither justice is budging — the right decision, according to many ethicists and legal experts. Associated Press

Georgia-born U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is set to speak during a dedication ceremony at Mercer Law School next month.

The March 11 dedication, a private event that will be streamed live, will mark the official renaming of the first-floor courtroom after alumni Griffin B. Bell and Frank C. Jones.

Thomas, born in Pinpoint, Georgia, and raised Catholic, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991 by George H.W. Bush, replacing Thurgood Marshall. Before that, Thomas was Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, attorney for Monsanto Corp. in St. Louis, Missouri, assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education, chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

He earned a degree from Yale Law School in 1974.

Bell, Mercer Law School class of 1948, was the 72nd Attorney General of the United States under President Jimmy Carter. The appointment came after 14 years of serving as judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, “where he was a leading voice in some of the court’s most enduring legal decisions,” the law school said in a news release.

Jones, a 1950 graduate of Mercer Law School, served as editor-in-chief of the Mercer Law Review. After graduation, he practiced in Macon until 1977 at the law firm founded by his great-grandfather that is now known as Jones, Cork & Miller. Jones made partner there before joining King & Spalding in Atlanta.

Laura Corley covers education news for The Telegraph, where she advocates for government transparency and writes about issues affecting today’s youth. She grew up in Middle Georgia and graduated from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
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