|Virginia Lamp Thomas|
Virginia Thomas at her husband's swearing in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
February 23, 1957
Creighton University, B.A.|
Creighton University School of Law, J.D.
|Occupation||Attorney, public policy analyst, political activist|
Heritage Foundation |
Virginia "Ginni" Lamp Thomas (born February 23, 1957) is an American attorney who is presently serving as a consultant to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and as the founder and president of the Tea party associated advocacy group, Liberty Central. She is the wife of U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.
Early life and education
Thomas grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, the youngest of four children born to Donald Lamp, a successful engineer who owned his own firm, and Marjorie Lamp, a stay-at-home mother. Her parents were described by The Washington Post as "upper middle class Republican Party insiders who stressed family and religion at home" and who wintered in Florida.
Thomas attended Westside High School in Omaha, where she was a member of the student government, the debate club, and the Republican club. While she was still in high school, her ambition was to be a member of Congress. She enrolled in a woman's college in Virginia because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., subsequently transferred to the University of Nebraska, and then to Creighton University to be closer to a boyfriend. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business Communication from Creighton University (1979) and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law (1983), after a hiatus working as a Legislative Aide for Congressman Hal Daub.
When Congressman Daub took office in 1981, Thomas moved to Washington, D.C., and worked in his office for 18 months. After completing Creighton University School of Law (1983), she worked one more year for Daub in Washington as his Legislative Director. From 1985 to 1989, she was employed as an attorney and labor relations specialist at the private, non-profit United States Chamber of Commerce, attending congressional hearings where she lobbied on behalf of the interests of the business community. Her advocacy included arguing against the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires larger employers to provide temporary unpaid leave to employees to care for a new child or during a serious personal or family illness. In 1989, she became Manager of Employee Relations at the Chamber of Commerce.
In 1991, Thomas returned to government service in the Legislative Affairs Office of the United States Department of Labor, where she argued against comparable-worth legislation that would have mandated equal pay for women and men in jobs deemed to be comparable. That year, her husband, Clarence Thomas was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the retirement of Justice Thurgood Marshall. She attended the contentious Senate confirmation hearings and stood by her husband as he was accused of sexual harassment. During the confirmation hearings, several Democratic Senators claimed that her job with the Labor Department might create a conflict of interest for her husband if he was seated on the Supreme Court. After her husband was narrowly confirmed by a majority vote of 52 to 48, Mrs. Thomas described the televised scrutiny and confirmation process as a "trial by fire". Her next job was as a Policy Analyst for Congressman Dick Armey, who was then the Republican House Conference Chairman.
In 1994, conflict-of-interest was raised again while Thomas was working for Armey. By 2000, she was working for the Heritage Foundation; and conflict-of-interest was again raised because she was collecting résumés for potential Presidential appointments in the George W. Bush Administration when the Supreme Court was deciding Bush v. Gore. She continued to work at the Heritage Foundation during the administration of George W. Bush, serving as the think tank's White House Liaison. She serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of her alma mater, Creighton University School of Law.
In late 2009, Thomas started a nonprofit Tea Party-affiliated lobbying group, Liberty Central, to organize conservative activists, issue score cards for Congress members, and be involved in elections. The group is aimed at opposing what Thomas has called the leftist "tyranny" of President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats and “protecting the core founding principles” of the nation. Thomas was interviewed by Sean Hannity on his Fox News show Hannity in June 2010. When asked about potential conflicts between her Liberty Central activities and her husband's position, Thomas replied, "there's a lot of judicial wives and husbands out there causing trouble. I'm just one of many."
Critic of Lifespring
In the 1980s, while a Congressional Aide, Thomas took training with the self-awareness program Lifespring. In 1987, she related to The Washington Post that, during her training several years earlier, she had been "confused and troubled" by such lessons as one where trainees were told to disrobe to bikinis and bathing suits then "made fun of fat people's bodies and riddled one another with sexual questions". After realizing that membership in her Lifespring group was separating her from her family, friends, and co-workers, Thomas began what proved to be a difficult and months-long process of breaking away. At one point, she hid in another part of the U. S. to avoid a constant barrage of high-pressure phone calls from Lifespring members, who felt they had a duty to keep her in the organization.
Thomas ultimately came to believe that Lifespring was a cult. After leaving the group in 1985, she sought counseling and joined the Cult Awareness Network. She became a critic of controversial religious groups, speaking on panels and organizing workshops critical of cults for Congressional staffers in 1986 and 1988. In a 1991 interview, Thomas remarked, "I was once in a group that used mind control techniques"; and she called its members "pretty scary people."
Multiple news organizations reported that, on October 9, 2010, Virginia Thomas left a voicemail message for Anita Hill, whose accusations of sexual harassment complicated her husband's Senate confirmation hearing 19 years earlier. In the voice mail, Thomas said that Hill should apologize to Thomas's husband. Hill responded that she believed there was nothing to apologize for and asserted that her 1991 testimony about her interactions with Clarence Thomas was truthful.
- Blumenfeld, Laura (September 10, 1991). "The Nominee's Soul Mate". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. F01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/lifespring/main.htm.
- Foskett, Ken (August 3, 2004). Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas. William Morrow. pp. 116, 194–196. ISBN 0060527218.
- "Advisory Board Members". Alumni Advisory Board (Creighton University). 2010. http://www.alumni.creighton.edu/s/1250/alumni/3col.aspx?sid=1250&gid=1&pgid=462. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
- Swoboda, Frank (February 11, 1988). "Chamber of Commerce Backs Concept of Child Care Bill". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company).
- "INS Ready to crack down on firms that hire illegal aliens". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. May 31, 1988.
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- Staff (September 30, 1989). "Drug Abuse Among Women Expected to be Major Issue". Lexington Herald Leader.
- Carlson, Margaret; Joseph J. Kane, Staci D. Kramer (July 15, 1991). "The Supreme Court: Marching to a Different Drummer". Time Magazine: p. 5. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,973404-5,00.html.
- Andre, Claire; Manuel Velasquez. "Comparable Worth". Issues in Ethics (Santa Clara University) 3 (2). http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v3n2/comparable.html. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
- Carlson, Joseph J. Kane, Margaret (July 15, 1991). "The Supreme Court: Marching to a Different Drummer". Time: p. 1. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,973404,00.html. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- Dowd, Maureen (October 12, 1991). "The Thomas Nomination; In An Ugly Atmosphere, the Accusations Fly". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/12/us/the-thomas-nomination-in-an-ugly-atmosphere-the-accusations-fly.html. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
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- Gearan, Ann (September 4, 2001). "Decade after bitter confirmation, Thomas marches to his own tune". The Day. Associated Press (New London, Connecticut).
- Smitherman, Geneva (1995). African American Women Speak Out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas. Wayne State University Press. p. Page 191. ISBN 0814325300.
- Corn, David (December 9, 1991). "Beltway Bandits". The Nation.
- Swenson, Michele (2005). Democracy Under Assault. Sol Ventures Press. p. 98. ISBN 0976678802.
- Staff (November 24, 1994). "Congress: Dole Won't Block Helms". Rocky Mountain News.
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- Marquis, Christopher (December 12, 2000). "Job of Clarence Thomas's Wife Raises Conflict-of-Interest Questions". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/12/us/contesting-vote-challenging-justice-job-thomas-s-wife-raises-conflict-interest.html?ref=virginia_lamp_thomas.
- Staff (September 4, 2001). "After 10 years on Supreme Court, Thomas finds a comfortable routine". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Hennessey, Kathleen (March 14, 2010). "Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-thomas14-2010mar14,0,6505384.story. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Calmes, Jackie (2010-10-09). "Activism of Thomas's Wife Could Raise Judicial Issues". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/us/politics/09thomas.html. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- Vogel, Kenneth P. (July 6, 2010). "Secret donors make Thomas's wife's group tea party player.". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39426_Page3.html#ixzz0syOGowjW.
- Fisher, Marc (October 25, 1987). "I Cried Enough to Fill a Glass: In One Lifespring Session, Trainees May Find Themselves Crawling on their Hands and Knees, Wailing Like Infants and Tightly Hugging 200 Total Strangers - All to Get Control of Their Lives. Does it Work? Sometimes". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company).
- Marcum, Kirsten; Adam Larson, Illustrations (November 7, 2001). "Cult Status: In which the author struggles to escape the psychological shackles of a self-help seminar". Minneapolis City Pages 22 (1092): Cover story.
- Staff (July 18, 1991). "Thomas' Wife Raps Lifespring". San Antonio Express-News.
- Phelps, Timothy M.; Helen Winternitz (1993). Capitol Games: The Inside Story of Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill and a Supreme Court Nomination. HarperPerennial. pp. 115–116. ISBN 0060975539.
- Staff; The Washington Post (July 6, 1991). "Thomas' Wife Was Victim of Cult". The Buffalo News.
- Foskett, Ken (July 6, 2001). "10 years later, an inside look at Clarence Thomas". St. Petersburg Times. Cox News Service.
- Malone, Julia; Bob Dart (July 4, 1991). "Judge Thomas: Tough, but `down to earth' Court nominee called comfortable with self". The Atlanta Journal: p. A1.
- Savage, Charlie (October 19, 2010). "Clarence Thomas’s Wife Asks Anita Hill for Apology". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/us/politics/20thomas.html.
- Fletcher, Michael A. (October 19, 2010). "Virginia Thomas seeks apology from Anita Hill". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/20/AR2010102001551.html.
- Fletcher, Michael A.; Kevin Merida (2007). Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas. Doubleday. ISBN 0385510802.
- Gerber, Scott Douglas (1999). First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas. NYU Press. ISBN 0814731007.