On Friday, while speaking at the University of Florida law school, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas came down heavily on U.S. News law school rankings and the pseudo-classes created by it. Criticizing the rankings he said, “Suddenly we’ve created this kind of nobility. Here’s the highest nobility, here’s the next nobility … I don’t think it’s good for us as a profession.”
Upon learning that the U.S. News law school rankings have created a situation where even bright students from low-ranked colleges are referred to as TTT or “Third Tier Trash” in public, he responded, “I think the obsession is somewhat perverse. I never look at those rankings. I don’t even know where they are. I thought U.S. News and World Report was out of business ….”
Stressing on the fact that it is the individual and not the school issuing the degree, which should be most important in determining success, he opined on the law school rankings as “Isn’t that the antithesis of what this country is supposed to be about? Isn’t that the bias that we fought about on racial terms, or on terms of sex, or on terms of religion, etc.? … My new bias, which I now embrace, is that I don’t eliminate the Ivies in hiring, but I intentionally prefer kids from regular backgrounds and regular students.”
Continuing on the same note Thomas stressed, “There are smart kids every place. They are male, they are female, they are black, they are white, they are from the West, they are from the South, they are from public schools, they are from public universities, they are from poor families, they are from sharecroppers, they are from all over. … I look at the kid who shows up. Is this a kid that could work for me?”
And this is from a man who apparently practices what he preaches. Out of his four clerks, one is from Rutgers, one from George Mason, one from George Washington and one from Creighton (ranked 135 by U.S. News).
We just hope that the law school mafia doesn’t take this man down. But then, he wouldn’t care. As he says, “I told my clerks that when they do my epitaph it should be something like, ‘He did his job and he died…”