Eighth Chairman of the EEOC, May 6, 1982 - March 8, 1990
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was named the eighth Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Ronald Reagan on May 6, 1982 and served as Chairman of the EEOC until March 8, 1990, making him the longest serving Chairman of the agency. In his first case as EEOC Chairman, Mr. Thomas sued an automaker for workplace discrimination and in 1983, forced the automaker to agree to a $42.5 million dollar settlement, one of the largest settlements in EEOC history.
Justice Thomas, a native of Savannah, Georgia, graduated from the College of Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received his M.A. degree in 1971. A graduate of Yale Law School with a J.D. degree in 1974, he began his law career by serving as assistant attorney general of the state of Missouri. While at this post, he was responsible for representing Lincoln University, a traditionally black institution operated by the state, the State Tax Commission and several divisions of Missouri's Department of Revenue.
Following his tenure as assistant attorney general, Thomas served for two years as an attorney for the Monsanto Company, where he monitored a variety of federal regulations and handled antitrust, bankruptcy and product liability matters. Prior to joining the Commission, Clarence Thomas served for almost a year as the assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education, after spending a year and a half as legislative assistant to Senator John C. Danforth (R-Mo).
In March, 1990, Clarence Thomas was appointed by President Bush as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the District of Columbia. President Bush subsequently nominated him as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has served since October 23, 1991.