First Principles

The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas

305 pages

April, 2002

ISBN: 9780814731000



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Scott Douglas Gerber, Ph.D., J.D., is author of To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation and editor of Seriatim: The Supreme Court before John Marshall, both available from New York University Press. He teaches at Ohio Northern University College of Law.

All books by Scott Douglas Gerber

Clarence Thomas is one of the most vilified public figures of our day. To date, however, his legal philosophy has received only cursory treatment. First Principles provides a portrait of Thomas based not on the justice's caricatured reputation, but on his judicial opinions and votes, his scholarly writings, and his public speeches.

The paperback edition includes a provocative new Afterword by the author bringing the book up to date by assessing Justice Thomas's performance, and the reaction to his decisions, during the last five years.


  • "...An excellent and balanced review of the justice's first years on the Court."

    National Review

  • "Gerber is scrupulously honest in dissecting Thomas' opinions, their legal background, and their place in the Court's jurisprudence, and he demonstrates his own excellent capabilities as an objective, fair, thoughtful, and thorough scholar."

    The Federal Lawyer

  • "The virture of Scott Gerber's new study ... is that it puts in better perspective Thomas's whole career."

    The Weekly Standard

  • "Gerber's book is a breath of fresh air, because it treats Justice Thomas and his work with respect and intellectual curiosity."

    Ideas on Liberty

  • "...the most comprehensive and incisive account of Thomas' political philosophy to date."

    First Things