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Fatal FictionsCrime and Investigation in Law and Literature$
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Alison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, and Martha C. Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190610784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190610784.001.0001

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Justice Thomas and Bigger Thomas

Justice Thomas and Bigger Thomas

(p.159) 8 Justice Thomas and Bigger Thomas
Fatal Fictions

Justin Driver

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 explores a connection between Clarence Thomas, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Bigger Thomas, the protagonist of Richard Wright’s Native Son. In his memoir of his life before joining the Court, Justice Thomas includes several striking references to Bigger Thomas. Driver analyzes Justice Thomas’s invocation of Bigger and his reading and apparent misreading of Native Son, contrasting that understanding with some of Justice Thomas’s more notable opinions in the criminal law realm. The result is a fascinating example of an unusual interplay between literature and law.

Keywords:   Clarence Thomas, Richard Wright, Bigger Thomas, race, U.S. Supreme Court

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