Among certain conservatives, an idea has started to take hold: Could Justice Clarence Thomas ever be the kind of pop-culture icon to his followers that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become to hers?
Justice Ginsburg, 87, has a book to her name, a touring museum exhibition and a surprise box-office hit in a 2018 documentary about her life. She is tattooed on her fans. Her personal trainer has his own book out. She was appointed to the bench in 1993 but came to realize and embrace this level of celebrity in recent years when her dissents became liberal rallying calls, leading to the nickname homage — and then best-selling book on her life — “The Notorious R.B.G.”
Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court’s most conservative member, is catching up in his own way at age 71.
After 28 years of rarely speaking from the bench, Justice Thomas is newly in the public eye (or ear) as he regularly asks questions during oral arguments that are being conducted by conference call and broadcast live during the pandemic.