Supreme Discomfort

Early Praise

"The authors superbly deconstruct Thomas’s multiple narratives of critical life-events — the accounts vary depending on his audience — and it says much for their intellectual integrity that though they are clearly critical of their subject, their presentation allows readers to make their own judgments."
– Orlando Patterson
The New York Times
June 17, 2007

"Two Washington Post reporters have come up with one of the most intriguing portraits of the Supreme Court’s most conservative and controversial member, a profile of a stubborn man of complexity and contradictions who in the end emerges as an almost tragic figure—an often isolated human being starving for approval who nonetheless clings to the very traits and beliefs that ostracize him, brimming with self-justification, righteousness and self-pity."
– SusanG
The Daily Kos
May 27, 2007

"Merida and Fletcher, who themselves are black, frame Thomas's apostasy through what they term a prism: 'He is in constant struggle with his racial identity – twisting, churning, sometimes hiding from it, but never denying it, even when he's defiant about it.'"
– Joan Oleck
Bloomberg News
May 3, 2007

"Though (Emerge) magazine's two cover stories reflect the contempt many blacks have for Thomas, it is the newly released book by Washington Post journalists Michael Fletcher and Kevin Merida that gives a fuller measure of this complicated man. They explore the ups and downs of Thomas' youth, his time as a black radical, and his slide into the ranks of conservatism."
– DeWayne Wickham
May 1, 2007

"Justice Clarence Thomas is the Supreme Court's most reclusive member, which is saying something. Deeply distrustful of the media, the justice also almost never speaks from the bench. As a powerful official who remains opaque to the public, he is a prime candidate for a careful, fair-minded biography. In delivering it, Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher have done some quiet justice of their own."
– Kenji Yoshino
The Washington Post
April 22, 2007

"Clarence Thomas is arguably the most powerful black man in America, one whose position as a Supreme Court justice merits more than a modicum of respect. Yet as authors Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher make clear in 'Supreme Discomfort,' a new biography, Thomas has yet to get his due."
– Ellis Cose
Aprl 30, 2007

"With 'Supreme Discomfort,' Merida and Fletcher have produced a fascinating profile of a deeply complex man."
– Jonathan Entin
The Plain Dealer
April 22, 2007

"Thomas never cooperated with the reporters. Despite that obstacle, they (Merida and Fletcher) have produced a superb book. It is not the first biography of Thomas. It almost certainly will not be the last — the justice appears healthy, and at age 58 might serve another 30 years minimum. So far, it is the best."
– Steve Weinberg
Special to The Seattle Times
April 27, 2007

"Merida and Fletcher conclude that rather than being a 'rigid ideologue' or 'Scalia's lapdog,' Thomas is 'a much more complex man, who cannot be easily categorized.' It's to their credit that 'Supreme Discomfort' sometimes captures that reality..."
– David J. Garrow
Special to The Los Angeles Times
April 23, 2007

"Associate editor Merida and journalist Fletcher, both of The Washington Post, have done a superb job with this both harsh and sympathetic life of Clarence Thomas, best known for the battle over his confirmation 16 years ago, tinged not a little by the Anita Hill scandal. Drawing on many interviews with friends, colleagues and others (Thomas did not cooperate), the authors describe a sensitive darkskinned Georgian who was raised by his beloved grandfather."
– Kirkus Reviews

"Merida and Fletcher present a lucid, well-researched account of Thomas's controversial life and jurisprudence."
– Publisher's Weekly

“Scrupulously fair and endlessly entertaining. Supreme Discomfort by Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher is the definitive work on the Supreme Court’s most elusive – and fascinating – personality.”
– Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Run of His Life and Too Close to Call, legal affairs analyst for CNN, and staff writer at The New Yorker.

“Clarence Thomas, even as the quiet justice, is a clanging symbol of politics and race in our time. I can’t think of two writers I’d rather have cut through the cacophony of the Thomas mythology than Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher. In Supreme Discomfort, they have found the divided soul that divides a nation."
– David Maraniss, author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton

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